Effective dialogue needed after deaths

Published 12:16 pm Saturday, December 27, 2014

As tension between police and segments of the community continue to rise, we encourage all parties to take a step back, a deep breath and look at the bigger picture.

Two police were shot by a man in New York City last weekend while they sat in their squad car. The man then killed himself moments later.

He proclaimed on social media the attack was in response to recent cases where police actions killed men during arrests that when bad.

In both cases the men were African American, like the shooter. The police in both instances where white, unlike the two NYPD officers who were killed.

The two cops were unprotected while trying to protect the community they serve.

More than a few people took to social media and seemingly cheered the cop killings. This after rallies and other civil leaders stoked the fire of anger with their words and actions.

It is easy to pick on police, but let’s be realistic. Would any of us want to live in a world without them?

Not likely.

Nor are we going to fix what really is at the heart of this matter by attacking innocent victims while they try to do their jobs. The only thing that guarantees is that the divide between the two sides will just get wider and wider.

The last thing we want is for people to take out their anger on police, who in turn will become more likely to pull the trigger themselves quicker.

Fear on either side only will lead to more violence.

What we need now is for leaders to step up on all levels and all towns and begin the long process of healing. We suggest it starts with the basic skill of listening to each other.

Both sides have points to make and fears that need to be addressed. Common sense and an understanding of what is really going on will do a lot more than the continued shouting and finger-pointing that is taking place.

The tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., was not political. The death of Eric Garner as he was being arrested in New York City was not political.

The assassination of the two cops in Brooklyn also was not political. Yet sides have been drawn politically as others have tried to make them so.

Each loss of life in itself is sad, but we should have come further than this over the years. It is time to understand that not every police officer is the enemy and that the work they do good far outweighs the bad, which unfortunately in today’s world gets far more of the attention.

We need a good police force, but we also need strong community leaders who are willing to work with them in good times and bad, not just cut and run when the going gets tough to save their own political futures.

What we really need most is to understand each other and to listen. Until then it’s all just a bunch of noise.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the board, whose members include Crystal Stevenson, Johnathan Manning, John Guidroz, Lance Traweek and Jim Gazzolo.(MGNonline)