The Police-Community Relations Crisis of Modern America

-Joe Pitts (@headtowall)

The wretched radical needs only the faintest of reason, wantonly applied, to ignite his cause. Last night's horror in Downtown Dallas is a tragic reminder of this fact. News on the nature of the assailants will no doubt begin to pour in, and from this we will make vain attempts to understand. We will try to put the pieces together as if the Dallas shooting is some puzzle that can be solved. But within a broken system under a broken nation, there are no pieces that fit together. We are fractured. We are hurt. 

Today we mourn. We mourn those fallen officers in Texas. We mourn Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the many others who have unnecessarily and unjustly lost their lives at the hands of the police. While this is not a time to weigh the severity of one tragedy over another, we must accept that a perennial problem of our time is police and community relations, particularly within the African American community. Going deeper, we must accept it is a problem of systemic, structural inequalities that have given rise to racist institutions. These institutions and the resentment towards them have in part fueled the violent feedback loop that has finally fed back into itself last night in Dallas.

In these dark times, the following months and the following years will be the true test of our resilience as the beacon of freedom for the world. We must find the compassion to look at those that are different from us and realize the complexity of what it means to live in America. Foremost, the magnifying glass must reside over the relationship between police and our communities. The air of antagonism is a taste we have all felt for some time. It is a breeze that started long ago and continues to grow, like the seeds of a destructive hurricane. When will it end? How will we push forward? There are no immediate answers that will make sense of these recent events, but one thing is for certain: reform on many levels is critical to a just future for our nation.