Yesterday, three police officers were gunned down by an unstable ex-Marine with an assault rifle in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the same area where Alton Sterling was summarily executed by police officers two weeks ago.
It was a tragic end to a bloody two weeks which saw a string of killings by both police officers and of police officers and is evidence of dangerously high tensions between both cops and civilians and between blacks and whites in the United States, all exacerbated by the widespread proliferation of deadly weapons in our nation.
Montrell Jackson, 32, was one of the officers killed yesterday. After the Alton Sterling killing, he wrote a moving post on Facebook about the difficulties of being a black police officer and begging for everyone to not let hate infect their hearts.
It is enormously painful to know that the ten-year police veteran and father of one was killed by hate not two weeks after writing this. His words highlight how the vast majority of police officers are good, hard-working men and women who risk their lives to protect their communities; like how the vast majority of BlackLivesMatter activists and the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people who simply want to live in safety and stability.
The polarization of America, the tribalism and the viciousness of the “us vs. them” mentality that is gripping the United States and deeply exacerbated by this toxic election cycle is taking too many lives, far too quickly. We must embrace Jackson’s words: don’t let hate infect your hearts.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.