Devastating, it’s the only way to describe what has happened in this country over the past few days.
There’s not much to say about the facts of the horrific goings on during the past few days because most of the facts are still not out. However, to this observer sitting safely in his office, the news about Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in St Paul, and five dead Cops in Dallas is nothing short of sickening and I feel for all of their families.
Allow me to make a few possibly random observations while doing my best not to draw conclusions about the facts of the case.
- Too many people are taking sides; mourning the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile should not stop people from mourning the deaths of five Cops (or vice versa), they are not mutually exclusive. It is okay to strongly support law enforcement officers, while admitting the possibility that there are a few bad cops who may have unjustly killed African Americans. What the Black Lives Matter movement gets wrong is that ALL lives matter, what many of the rest of us forget is–that goes both ways. The situation behind the deaths of their loved ones may be very different, but praying for the families of the cops, as well as praying for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile is a moral obligation. They all feel the pain of losing a loved one.
The Bible (Genesis 25:11) records that God himself visitedIsaac when his father died : “And it came to pass after the death ofAbraham, that God blessed Isaac, his son.”The sages infer from this verse that God Himself, as it were, was comforting the bereaved Isaac. In Isaiah 40:1 following the destruction of Jerusalem, the first temple, and the decimation of the Jewish people, Isaiah proclaimed God’s message “Console, console My people,” says your God.” That is meant that comforting the bereaved is not merely a recommendation, but a specific order obliging Isaiah to console the mourning Jews. Also notice that that God didn’t tell Isaiah to pick and choose based on who the individual Jews were mourning. It is our obligation as human beings to comfort the bereaved and today seven families; five cop families, and two families of people who were killed by cops (justified or not). If God can comfort the bereaved, certainly we can feel for all seven families who lost a loved one.
- The videos of the Sterling and Castile shootings certainly make these incidents seem like the police involved abused their power, but all the facts are not out in the end we may find out that the shootings were justified (we may also find out the shootings were “bad).” And even if we learn that the shootings weren’t justified they may not have been motivated by racism, they may have been mistakes by some of the very few cops who are incompetent.
- There is no excuse for the cowardly and disgusting attacks by snipers against police, 99.99% of cops are good people who do their jobs correctly. Cops are there to help all of us, every day they put their lives on the line to protect our families. This attack wasn’t “black on blue,” it was a terrorist attack on all Americans. It may have been Dallas police officers caught an ambush, but by attacking the officers who protect us, the scum who shot the cops were really ambushing all Americans. Those cops were protecting all Americans regardless of their skin pigment, gender, religion etc. Whatever happened in St. Paul, and Baton Rouge this week we need to back up our law enforcement officers. This does not mean cover up the actions of the very few cops who may be incompetent or evil, but the vast majority, who put their lives on the line each and every day and do the right thing, protect and serve their communities.
- Too many of my conservative colleagues put down the people who protest cop/black shootings. Whether backed up by facts or not (and we won’t know until we learn what really happened) the anger and frustration displayed by many African-Americans is justified. Sorry if this sounds like a liberal, but white people (including me) can never understand the Black experience in America (the same way I tell my Christian friends that they could never understand the Jewish experience of the past 2,000 years).
- Almost as bad as the scum who shot five cops, is the reaction to the shootings by some who exploited the deaths as an excuse to score political points. The governor of Minnesota who proclaimed the shooting of Philando Castile was racially motivated before knowing what really happened is nothing short of an idiot, but so areJesse Jackson who blamed it all on Donald Trump, President Obama blamed it on guns--and at least one chapter of the Students For Justice in Palestine blamed it all on the IDF.
Right now it is not time to politicize the deaths, we should understand the need of some to express their emotions (peacefully), and that goes for the people who are angry and frustrated by the deaths of Mr.Castile and Mr.Sterling as well as those who are angry and frustrated by the five dead and seven injured police officers. But our most important task is to comfort the bereaved–all of the bereaved.
May God comfort all the families, friends and loved ones of those who died, and may the souls of the dead rest in peace.