Last night, during a protest in Dallas over the recent police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, five police officers were murdered by snipers firing from rooftops. (Go here to read about the brave officers who lost their lives.)
In short, the last few days have been a bloodbath.
The protest in question was organized by the Black Lives Matter movement, which means that now, those who had demonized the peaceful organization in the past will likely use this tragedy as ammunition against them.
But what must be remembered is that the protest itself was peaceful – as their protests overwhelmingly are – because their message is peaceful. Their message is, in fact, predicated on peace.
When it comes down to it, it's no more complicated than "stop killing us."
In the days that follow, news pundits, politicians and men on Twitter will invariably use incendiary language that will encourage an "us versus them" mindset with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement and those among us who simply take issue with the fact that black men and women are continuously being killed with impunity by those whose job it is to protect them.
This sort of war-mongering language will lead to even more violence.
In fact, it's already started. In the wake of the shootings, one former Congressman literally made a threat on the president's life over this.
There are truly people out there who seem to want to start a race war. And they will use horrible, tragic, heartbreaking days like today to fuel it.
So right now, I'd like to remind everyone that before a couple of maniacs decided to go on a shooting spree, this protest was completely peaceful.
It's evident enough that our country is splitting at the seams when a picture of a black man and a white police officer simply standing together is newsworthy.
This photograph was posted by the Dallas PD before the shootings. And the comment below, written after the horrible night that followed, eloquently describes my own sentiments regarding the matter.
The shootings destroyed something beautiful and important.
After all, peacefully protesting the pattern of racially-motivated, nationwide shootings of black men is clearly a crucial thing for us to be doing. And we need to do more of it: not less.
Yet, I fear that these shootings will lead to even more people seeing peaceful protests like these as threatening.
When the shootings began, this photograph was taken of protestors of all races shielding a stroller from the gunfire.
This is such a difficult and scary time, and it's only going to get worse. So, let's do everything we can to try to continue to respect the lives of those around us. Let's stand up – together – to anyone who is trying to take them away.