We do not live in a world of absolutes. We live in a world of shades and nuance. The mediatainment industry does not thrive on nuance, but on soundbites and outrage.
It is possible to deplore the actions of a few police who disproportionately use violence against black men, while recognizing that the majority of police work bravely to serve the public.
It is possible to deplore the violence against officers by an angry black man, while recognizing that he is in no way representative of nor supported by people who are concerned about police violence.
I am deeply concerned at the divisions I see between those who are angry at the death of Philando Castile, shot during a traffic stop, and those who see themselves as police supporters, who feel that the shocking attack on police is a consequence of media and liberal outrage.
It is possible to see both these events as deeply wrong and deplorable, and to mourn all victims.
Frankly it behooves both sides to recognize that there are no absolutes. It would help if the police supporters would admit that sometimes cops do the wrong thing. Take Tamir Rice, for example (the boy shot in Cleveland with a toy gun): the police officers arrived and immediately started shooting. In contrast, in another Cleveland Park earlier this year, two boys playing with toy guns were safely apprehended by an experienced officer who did not screech up with his gun out.
Similarly, it would be helpful if those concerned about police violence consider the snap reactions an officer must make. For example, Michael Brown (in Ferguson) was not shot in the back, and evidence supports a close struggle with the officer for a weapon. The officer's subsequent pursuit of Brown may have been a wrong judgment, but the physical evidence supports his story. No favors are done by pretending otherwise.
We all have work to do on racism and knee-jerk reactions, on community building and common goals.
There are plenty of forces who right now thrive on division, on us-v-them, on race wars, or police wars, or violence.
We must not let them win.