Cycle of violence in America must stop

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Elizabethton Star Graphic

Elizabethton Star Graphic

A student at Ohio State University Monday in a malicious attack drove his car onto a campus sidewalk filled with college students, injuring several. He then got out of the car and began attacking students with a butcher knife. The attacker, who immigrated to America from Somalia was shot and killed by a police officer.
America, it seems, is being buffeted from one national tragedy to another. No sooner does the grief and outrage of one deadly incident settle, that another erupts, setting off the cycle once again.
Just days ago four police officers were shot in incidents around the country. An officer in Sanibel, Florida, was shot in a drive-by as he conducted a traffic stop; a Gladstone, Missouri, officer was shot after a traffic stop that produced a foot chase and shootout; a 20-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department was wounded in what authorities characterize as an ambush; and San Antonio Police Detective Benjamin Marconi was killed outside police headquarters in what appears to be another ambush.
The San Antonio’s officer’s death marks the 60th police officer fatally shot in the U.S. this year – well ahead of the number for all of 2015 (41) but not quite on pace to top the 2011 total of 73, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Resorting to violence against police as a way of protesting actual or perceived injustice is, apparently, what we’ve come to.
God help us.
Racial tensions are not the only culprit in the festering violence, of course. In the past, people have been quick to place blame for the proliferation of such incidents on a variety of phenomena — mental illness, lax gun laws or radical Islam. Yet we cling to those crutches at our own peril. There are no easy answers. Only persistent questions, including this important one: When will it stop?
Americans who care deeply about their communities and their neighbors have been asking that question for far too long. We’ve asked it after mass shootings in suburban Phoenix, Arizona; Newtown, Connecticut; and Charleston, South Carolina. We asked it after rampages in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida. And we ask it now.
Police officers do heroic, often frightening work. And they do it for our sake — to protect us. Cops have incredibly stressful jobs, particularly in the U.S., where guns abound and thousands of people are shot to death every year. We should therefore consider ourselves in the debt, not only of the brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line, but their families as well.
That these horrific attacks continue and are getting even more brazen prompt us to renew our call for swift justice so these criminals will understand that these heinous acts won’t be tolerated. We must stand with the vast number of law enforcement officers who do incredibly difficult jobs the right way. By embracing those values, America will prevail.
However, American cannot give in or become calloused. In the face of violence or evil intent, we must stand strong for values of justice and freedom. We must be unified in condemning these crimes.

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