There is a better way.
As we watch the news of the killings in Dallas, in the wake of the killings of black individuals in various police street incidents, we can't allow ourselves to sink into anger, hatred or acts of vengience.
We can't let ourselves be split into "us" against "them."
Violence does not solve violence.
Remember, whether you're heartbreak is on behalf of innocent police officers unfairly targeted, or minority populations that have suffered some sad and preventable tragedies - or both - one thing remains true.
We are on the same side. Police or civilian, rich or poor, native-born or newcomer, black or white or Latino or Asian or whatever, we all share these communities. It is in all of our best interest to work together to make them safe for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
Don't let them divide us by race - we have come too far and too many have paid too great a price to reach the point where we can live together in mutual respect and understanding. I saw a photo of a young black woman holding a cardboard sign in response to the police killings: "Sorry for your loss. We know how you feel," it reads. Yes, too many have suffered. Stop it here.
Police brutality is an issue, and it deserves real attention. Officers who use unnecessary force or unfairly treat any group of people should be duly prosecuted and punished as anyone else would be, and they are unfit for this job.
But don't paint the whole profession of law enforcement with a broad brush, the color of blood in the streets at a few terrible sad but isolated incidents out of many hundreds of thousands of police-public contacts every week in our country.
As in any field, a very few police are no doubt terrible and abusive people, and a great many are, I can tell you first-hand, exceptional and caring ones. Amid our grief and emotion, we have to keep things in perspective.
I see the comments on Facebook disparaging our local police department, most likely by people who have been caught in wrongdoings somewhere along the line.
I am not black, or Latino, or a teenager - I can never speak to their experience or whether they feel treated less than equally in the world.
But I do cover crime and conflict as an unfortunate part of my job, and I do see close-up how law enforcement officers handle themselves, and I do read the comments come into contact with police.
Before you criticize, stop to put yourself in that person's shoes. Every traffic stop, every person encountered in the shadows on a dark street late at night, every domestic argument or report of suspicious activity in a store or a park could be nothing, a smile and maybe a warning and a "have a good night."
Or it could be a gun or a knife hidden behind someone's back, a cache of drugs or stolen weapons or a homemade bomb hidden in a backpack.
That's the chance that a police officer takes every night, and you and I know all too well that those things - though we hope they will never happen here - are reality and they have and could happen at any time.
Think. Why would you want to harm police officers?
They are your neighbors, parents of your children's friends. And most importantly, they are here to protect and help you. Our officers collect mittens for kids, they have quietly given sports equipment to needy young people, they stop to buy lemonade from kids' stands, they break up domestic squabbles on a nightly basis and send the combatant's to sleep it off at a friend's house and work it out on a cooler head in the morning, instead of busting them.
Before you think of criticizing or hurting them, consider helping them. Plenty of people in this town know who is beating their wife, who is selling drugs or stealing from cars. Report it! Don't tell us police aren't doing their jobs if you aren't willing to help and support them in keeping our communities safe.
Be a contributor in your community, not a threat to it, and your contacts with police will be few and likely positive. Don't let your kids run the street in the middle of the night.
If you think police are in the wrong, don't go looking for a gun. You protest, peacefully and effectively. Contact authorities and demand answers, speak and write intelligently. Encourage people you can trust to train for police and other public service positions.
That's the better way.