Until society recognizes that all lives matter, the potential for this type of violence exists.
Linda Sharpe Matthews
Intolerance and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes resulted in the killing of two more black men; one in Baton Rouge, the other in a suburb of Minneapolis. Videos of the incidents support the theory that black males have an extraordinarily high potential for victimization by police officers that abuse their power and authority.
The nation watched in horror as the media replayed the graphic videos of the killings for the public's reaction. Insightful or inciteful?
Are we to look upon the videos and understand the pain and suffering of the families of the victim, and call out for equal justice; or are we to take from our viewing, anger and pent up frustration?
During what all agreed was a peaceful protest in Dallas, snipers targeted police. Angered by the treatment of blacks by police, the perpetrator(s) declared war on white police officers. This act of violence resulted in the killing of five police officers, and the wounding of seven others.
Will this happen again? Can this happen in our community? Until the mistrust of those in power declines; until society recognizes that all lives matter, the potential for this type of violence exists.
Law enforcement agencies must improve their look in our communities by improving the training modules and increase the number of sensitivity training seminars, by the hiring of minority personnel, by stepping up community police patrols, and by eliminating racial profiling.
The consequences of violence are devastating. We pray for those who mourn their loved ones. Our hearts are heavy for their loss.
Linda Sharpe Matthews is the president of the Flagler County Branch of the NAACP.