361. We can’t hate our way to peace.

On Thursday night five Dallas police officers were mercilessly and ruthlessly executed.

Their crime? Going to work.

Most of us go to work every day and never consider this to be an activity for which we will be put to death.

And yesterday there were at least six more reported incidents of police officers being attacked at work simply for doing their jobs.

We all know Thursday’s shootings took place during a peaceful march by citizens protesting the increasing frequency of black people being shot and killed by white police officers.

Two of those tragic incidents took place earlier in the week marking the 135th at 136th of these fatal shootings since the beginning of the year.

It is easy to watch partial footage of each incident and quickly arrive at a conclusion as to where to point the finger of blame and, humans being human, once we reach such conclusions we quickly believe our findings represent irrefutable facts.

I am neither condemning nor condoning any of these events. Being pulled over for a broken tail light should never result in violent death.

Nor should the automatic assumption be that the victim was shot because of the colour of his skin.

We have a criminal justice system and, while undoubtedly not perfect, it is better than anything else we have and if, as a society, we choose the court of public opinion as the means to determine guilt or innocence, then anarchy and complete lawlessness is but a few short steps away.

If the police officers responsible for each of those 136 deaths are found to be guilty in a court of law then they deserve the harshest punishment possible. Until such a verdict is rendered, they, like the rest of us are presumed to be innocent and deserve to be treated as such.

What happened on Thursday was not justice, it was not revenge, it was not anger. It was out and out hatred-driven racism and racism in any form is both despicable and deplorable.

I was born and raised in a country where racism was not only practised, it was legislated.

From an early age my mother spent much time discussing with me the evils of colour bias and, from her and her wonderful father – my grandfather – I was taught to evaluate people only on their individual behaviours and not ever to be influenced by the colour of their skin, their country of their birth or the religion of their choosing.

If you hate me because of something I have done – real or imagined – then your hatred is based on my behaviour and is perhaps understandable.

But if you hate me because of the colour of my skin or because of my gender or because of the colour of my eyes or because of my sexual preferences or because of my religious choosing or because of my political ideology, then you are nothing more than a mindless moron.

If racism exists in policing – and it is naïve to assume it doesn’t exist in nearly all large groups – it needs to be wiped out with ruthless efficiency. But to assume that all cops are blatant racists is simply creating a generalization not born out of any fact.

Hatred born of generalization can only be formed by minds too feeble for intelligent thought and the man responsible for slaughtering five innocent Dallas police officers was not an ideologue but simply a bigot blinded by hate. A murderous and cowardly bigot.

I am married to a retired police officer so perhaps I have bias when I speak of the respect and admiration I have for those who go out every day and willingly put themselves in harms way in order to protect us.

They are not a perfect bunch. Among them are those who should not wear the badge just as among the medical profession there are those who should not be allowed to practice and among the plumbing trade are those who should have their plunger’s removed.

Even if it is determined that those who pulled the triggers were at fault, it does not suggest or imply that everyone who wears a badge would do the same things.

As a species we need to learn to understand that the differences that divide us are few when compared to the similarities that unite us. We are well past the time when we need to reach out and embrace each other as brothers and sisters and do so with the level of colour-blindness, religious tolerance and judgment-free sincerity that is essential if we are to survive and prosper as a species.

If we choose not to do this, we need only look at the ever increasingly frequent incidents of violence around the world to have a clear picture of what bias and hatred will cause our future to look like.

And that is a future we can only look forward to hating.

Till we read again.

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