Once again the media feels the need to fan the flames of perceived racism by law enforcement in this country. In the December 23 editorial of this paper, the writer highlights the statistics of how many African Americans were killed by white police officers this year, adding in how many victims were unarmed and how many officers were subsequently charged.

I do not believe the writer meant any disrespect and in his mind was attempting to make nice among us all. However, this constant referencing of race of the individuals involved in these tragic cases only serves to aggravate the issue. With my admittedly limited knowledge of the recent events, I am convinced they were not racially motivated and any attempt to prove otherwise is simply a diversion.

When a man or woman puts on a police uniform they are neither black nor white; they are a law enforcement officer who was hired, trained and swore an oath to perform a duty few are interested in and fewer qualify for. When they are forced into the last resort of taking a life in the line of duty, they see a threat, not a person’s skin color.

In the closing paragraph of the editorial, the writer asks everyone to take a deep breath and calm down. Law enforcement officers do not have that luxury. Officers who fail to remain sharp and alert run the risk of ending up a casualty.

Finally, the editorial closes with an encouragement of people to question authority. That’s fine when you have a beef with a city council or mayor but it is still a crime to resist arrest, threaten or assault an officer, or vandalize property under the guise of protest. Yes, we all need to take a breath, but do not ask or expect anything less from the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day for you.

Steven Edmondson