Omission of compassion was blinding

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, August 4, 2016

To the editor:

While I’ve been away for several weeks visiting my grandchild, there has been a lot going on in the nation. I’ve been trying to catch up on local news with the Tryon Daily Bulletins left in my mailbox.

Reading your article in the Bulletin of July 21, 2016, Community, local law enforcement respond to Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings, made me feel like I was entering the Twilight Zone. We all mourn the deaths of the eight policemen who were killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge and grieve along with the families who lost their loved ones. But the glaring omission of compassion shown for the families who also have suffered the pain of losing loved ones, at the hands of police, was blinding.

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Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamar Rice, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile are just the latest names of unarmed black people who have been killed by police in the last year, and just a continuation of our nation’s 400-year history of treating black people’s lives as ‘less than.’

Jesus said: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but at this time in our history, when the killings of black men and women are being shown in real time on cell phones all over the country, is it unreasonable to expect that Polk County police chiefs, as well as our religious and government leaders would also include black families that are in mourning in the prayers, support and sorrow felt by our community?

Police Chief Beddingfield stated that, “It is very easy for morale to get low when seeing these attacks on our profession.” No doubt. But where is the concern and outrage expressed at the all too frequent killings in our communities by police? What about the morale of the community that is experiencing at least two killings a week of unarmed black folk by the police around the country?

Black lives matter and to respond with the refrain that “all lives matter” is not taking seriously the particular threat that people of color experience every day of their lives just for being black in America. I have great appreciation for all of the police that serve ably with good intention and great purpose. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the people who serve us.

But as we mourn, let’s remember Martin Luther King said that “True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”

Without justice there is no peace.

~ Mary Mowery  Saluda, N.C.