It should go without saying, but:
The police are not bad.
Yes, there are some police officers who shouldn’t be police officers, and there are some who lack the training to deal with the threats, both real and perceived, that other officers handle so well.
Yes, if we paid police a wage that reflected the responsibility we give them, we might have fewer who don’t meet the standards we set for them.
We can and should protest when those officers do wrong. We can and should ask why in too many of those cases, the officers are white and the victims are black.
And it should go without saying, but: Police violence shouldn’t be met with violence against police.
Five Dallas police officers died last week, brutally shot late Thursday by at least one sniper during an otherwise calm downtown march. One suspect told police he was angry at white people, specifically white police officers for shootings that killed black men.
There were two more of those last week as well, in Louisiana and Minnesota, and those shootings prompted marches in cities across the country, including Charlotte and Raleigh. Most weren’t tainted by violence, but they were marked with anger.
That’s understandable. But while it’s right to demand that cities confont the root causes of tragedies like Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul, we also should acknowledge that each day, police overwhemingly do what we expect of them, and sometimes more.
That’s especially and ironically true in Dallas, where Chief David Brown and his department have been recognized locally and nationally for their community-oriented approach to policing as well as their transparency about the use of excessive force.
The same is largely true in Clinton and Sampson County, where police officers and deputies are community-oriented, our next door neighbors and our friends. They certainly do the job they were paid to do — enforce the law and protect all of us no matter the color of our skin, from those who would do us harm. It’s what we want them to do, and it’s what we thank them for when we are the one’s in harm’s way.
Here we have built relationships with our officers, through ball games and downtown events, school functions and community-based policing efforts. We know, because we know them, that our officers are gentle giants who respect residents of all walks of life and show it in their actions each and every day.
Because of it, for the most part, the relationships forged within the community are strong ones, as witnessed Sunday when a group of people made their way to the Police Department to show their support for the men and women of all races who wear the uniform and who have vowed to protect us and this wonderful city in which we live.
We have the utmost respect for our Police Department and the officers who represent it and, overwhelmingly, we believe, so do residents here.
On this day, in this troubling week, it would be good to remember that. Certainly, we should stand against society’s wrongs and confront the realities of race relations — and we should note, once again, the availability of assault-style weapons that are involved in these massacres we mourn.
But we also should remember that although it may not be true for a relative few, the police and the people they serve want to live peacefully and with justice together.
It should go without saying, in fact. Or maybe it’s something that’s not said enough.
Commentary from The Charlotte Observer and distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. The Sampson Independent’s editor contributed to this commentary.