Blind and Toothless

July 17, 2016

Three police officers killed in Baton Rouge today: Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald, and Brad Garafola. Cops killed Alton Sterling, a black man, in that city two weeks ago. His death came one day before an officer in Minneapolis shot and killed Philando Castile, a black man pulled over yet again. Between those two shootings and today, we saw five police officers killed in Dallas: Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa,

Lord, have mercy!

The two assassins apparently wanted revenge. Angered by the deaths of blacks by police, they took the approach of 'an-eye-for-an-eye' and 'a-tooth-for-a-tooth.' But, as we're seeing, that leads to a blind and toothless world. So Jesus taught us a different way, a way of turning cheeks and going second miles.

We must protest when police wrongly kill. But we must not resort to violence. And we must condemn the killing of police officers. Anyone who preaches violence and hatred in response to violence and hatred has become the thing they claim to oppose.

Both police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge were done by U.S. military vets. The Dallas shooter served in the Army in Afghanistan. The Baton Rouge shooter served in the Marines in Iraq. We trained them to kill. And they have.

We seem stuck in a cycle of violence. We train people to kill, but then do little to help them recover from the trauma of war. We love our guns and make them easily accessible. We promote angry, bigoted voices in politics and media. And so we kill each other.

Baptist preacher Martin Luther King, Jr. offered a different way. He condemned violent injustices - including racism and war - but he steadfastly held to nonviolence.

“Why should we love our enemies?” King wrote. “Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiples hate, violence multiples violence, and toughness multiples toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”