After Alton

Thoughts on Alton Sterling, the shooting of Baton Rouge Police officers and the next steps forward.

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Nothing has been the same in Baton Rouge since the death of Alton Sterling.

The sadness and frustration has been everywhere. It could only have been made worse by the murder of three innocent Baton Rouge police officers less than two weeks later.

The emotional climate in Baton Rouge is more oppressive than the dense heat of this awful summer. The regular news cycle seems totally unimportant in comparison to the protests that continued after Sterling’s death and the vigils following the deaths of Baton Rouge Police officers Matthew Gerald, Montrell Jackson and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola.

The above photo was take on the Fourth of July, one day before Alton Sterling’s death. Teenagers and young kids are overlooking the capital city from Port Allen while throwing rocks into the Mississippi River. It seems like a different world.

I don’t know what these kids believed in, but they weren’t worried about being shot by police in this photo. The police weren’t worried about being shot by them. Violence, fear and revenge were the farthest things from my mind as I took this photo.

We can’t go back in time. We can only move forward. As the three slain officers are laid to rest, Baton Rouge and the U.S. will have to reopen the dialogue, which is even more important in these final months of 2016 as local and Presidential elections are held. I only hope that the steps following that dialogue lead us in a more peaceful and safer direction.

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