Between people who care about each other – or ought to – violence is never the answer to grievances; but rather a part of the problem and a dangerous one at that.
If violence fails to stem the tide of grievances there will always be those who argue that it has failed because it was not enough; that to make sure #blacklivesmatter, more police officers should be shot.
But violence is even more dangerous if it is deemed to have succeeded. If the tide begins to turn today against police brutality there will be those who will argue that the renewed interest in safeguarding people of colour is not because #AltonSterling or #PhilandoCastile gave “the last full measure of devotion”, but rather, the argument will go, that the spectre of black men “fighting back” is what forced white America to reassess.
The American political tradition has much that is shameful: Slavery, the genocide of native Americans, Jim Crow laws, and much more. But it also has much that is ennobling. I continuously pray that the United States of today can be inspired by the best of its traditions, not its worst. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.” – Abraham Lincoln