Americans across the country have felt the burden of a heavy heart this week. Racial tensions across the country have escalated to points some say are reminiscent of the 1968 riots. Five families in Dallas put to rest Officers Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Sgt. Michael Smith and Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, who were murdered while bravely protecting protestors. It was the deadliest attack on police officers since Sept. 11, 2001. Two families in Minnesota and Louisiana are mourning the losses of loved ones as America waits for the Department of Justice to investigate the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
Sadly, racism exists in America. We saw it with the Charleston shooter, a white man, who was motivated by hate in his heart to kill innocent black churchgoers. And again we saw it last week with a black man who was motivated with hate in his heart to kill innocent white police officers. With a string of shootings of police officers and deaths of black Americans caught on camera, perhaps the only way we can come together as a nation is to find common ground in common sense.
In the wake of the Dallas shootings, the Black Lives Matter movement sent out a statement that read, "Yesterday's attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible." If that same line of logic could be applied to our police officers, we would be in a much better place as a country.
Dallas Chief of Police David Brown, who has shown tremendous leadership, resolve, and faith, called for common ground in common sense on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday:
"How the media tells the story. How you sensationalize the video. How you edit the video. Show the whole story or when you don't know the whole story say there's more to be determined instead of jumping quickly to conclusions without a full investigation…
"And our public officials — local and national — need to step up and I'm encouraged by what I've heard but we need to make sure there is no question in the mind of our officers that they're supported when they do the right things. And of the few that don't we as leaders in the profession need to separate employment with them so the 98 percent doesn't get painted with a brush of those 1 or 2 percent that shouldn't be police officers."
A newly-released study by a black Harvard Law professor sets the record straight on police shootings. He examined more than 1,000 shootings in 10 major police departments in Texas, Florida, and California over a 15 year period and found no racial bias when it came to police shootings. Further, we know the use of deadly force is almost always used when a police officer is defending him or herself or someone else. Data from the FBI also show us that black and Hispanic police officers are more likely than white officers to fire a gun at a black man. But despite the overwhelming majority of police officers doing the right thing, just like in any profession of power, there are bad actors.
To reach a place of common sense, the sensationalizing by the media must stop. The media have been complicit in driving a narrative that cops are bad and have fed the public with misinformation. We saw that in Ferguson, Mo., with the painting of Michael Brown as a gentle giant and the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson before they even had the facts. Ultimately, we learned that Michael Brown was not a gentle giant but a criminal who robbed a store and attempted to grab Officer Wilson's gun. Since then, the media have continued to serve as propagandists, abandoning their roles as impartial truth tellers.
In order to have an honest conversation about race relations in America, the politicians, activists and corporations who support the Black Lives Matter movement must vehemently condemn rhetoric like "pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon." Leaders like Jeff Hood or the New Black Panther Party who use divisive and hateful rhetoric should be shunned. The smashing of police cars, looting of businesses, and throwing of rocks that has taken place at too many protests must be publicly denounced. Also, where is the outrage when cities like Chicago see murder rates increase by 72 percent?
The condemnation should also be applied on all sides and extended to people like former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, who, after the Dallas shootings, tweeted, "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming for you." This kind of language only seeks to further divide an already divided nation.
Only God has the answers, but focusing on common sense is a good starting place.
Lisa Boothe is a contributing columnist for the Washington Examiner and president of High Noon Strategies.