I want black men to not be shot while pulled over. I want cops not to be murdered by snipers during nonviolent protests. I want young men of color to survive playing with friends and growing up and traveling to and from school.
I would make a sizable bet that most of us wish fervently for a world where the above statements are truths and not wishes.
The hair trigger attached to violence in our current climate threatens to undo us all. This is why escalation is so laughably, horrifically commonplace. After the shootings in Dallas yesterday, I had a colleague praise the shooters for “eye for an eye shit.” That this was somehow a necessary and acceptable next step, that cops needed to understand that innocent black men dying would lead to us taking up arms against innocent law enforcement officers. It was a horrendous sentiment, and how it was expressed and crafted will undoubtedly lead to consequences.
The only way out of this is to open up further, be yet kinder to each other, listen harder, and take action to move the ball forward in ways that don’t involve adding extra holes to one another. The only way.
I can’t afford to not be an optimist. We can’t afford to not trade in compassion instead of barbs and bullets. Compassion must be an unrelenting stream from each of us. The inverse is too horrible to reckon. We turn the weapons on ourselves in the exact moments we point them at others.
When those snipers took aim at those cops, they were not of the protesters present. They had a vested interest in continuing a conversation in which bloodshed is the only language spoken.
And we are so much better than that. Resist the urge to hurt. Access your instincts to listen and love. Everything else tumbles forward from there.