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The Great American Divide

As one national political convention concludes and another is about to begin, America continues to be under siege by a rage of fatal terror involving police and African Americans.

It is a dilemma that not even the brightest scholars, the highest ranking elected officials and the most devout clergy can understand or explain.

The withering emotional pain has ripped the hearts from families, eroding the bond of communities and a schism wider than the Pacific Ocean has divided America between Black and Blue.

Fresh on the heels of the fatal police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota and the sniper assault against five Dallas Police, attacks against law enforcement has been rampant from Georgia to Atlanta, Connecticut, Milwaukee and Baton Rouge where three officers were slain by a lone gunman.

The common denominator--- Police and Blacks.

This week alone, the highest-ranking officer in the trial of Freddie Gray, Baltimore police Lt. Brian Rice was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in connection with Gray's arrest and death, Judge Barry Williams ruled in a bench trial Monday.

Rice was the highest-ranking police officer charged in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a broken neck in a police transport van on April 12, 2015.

In St. Louis two police officers will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old suspect, after a special prosecutor ruled Tuesday that the officers acted in self-defense.

Isaac Holmes was killed in January 2015 after a stolen Chevrolet Monte Carlo sped away from police and crashed into a wall. Police Chief Sam Dotson said at the time that as the two officers approached the wreckage, Holmes emerged with a submachine gun capable of shooting nearly three dozen rounds of ammunition, and pointed it at one of the officers.

Both officers opened fire, killing Holmes.

The shooting happened at a tumultuous time in the St. Louis region, just five months after 18-year old Michael Brown, who was Black and unarmed, was killed by white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. It was the fourth fatal shooting of a black crime suspect in the region since Brown's death, and resulted in immediate protests. One of the officers who shot Holmes was white, the other Black. Their names were not released.

Attorney Hal Goldsmith was appointed special prosecutor because one of the officers involved in the shooting worked previously in the circuit attorney's office.

"The deadly force the officers used against Isaac Holmes was justified under these facts and circumstances, and under the law," Goldsmith wrote in his report.

Ballistic evidence showed that each officer fired four shots. Seven of the eight shots struck Holmes, who died at a hospital.

Slain Baton Rouge police officer Matthew Gerald had served his country in Iraq. He survived the service to become a police officer and considered his career as his dream job.

The 41-year-old Gerald was one of three officers killed in what police called an ambush by a lone gunman, who also died. The shooting traumatized a nation already on edge.

A neighbor remembered a few months ago when Gerald was fresh out of the police academy, proudly washing his new police cruiser in the driveway of his home under a blazing Louisiana sun. The neighbor watched as he flicked the blue lights on and off, on and off.

The former soldier and Marine looked like an excited kid.

Like in Dallas where the lone shooter was Black and a veteran of the armed services, so too was the gunman in Baton Rouge, Black and veteran.

The lone common denominator ---Black and Blue.

America’s first Black President, Barrack Obama makes one solemn plea after another to a country on razors edge.

As soon as he concludes, a political rival tweets undermine his profound words of encouragement to a nation in mourning.

It’s a divided bridge. The lone common denominator---Black and White.

The unifying colors of red, white and blue, representing the American Flag flies proudly from pole to pole, city to city, building to building, stadium to stadium.

The stars, the stripes, the red glare, symbols of one nation, fractured by a deep rooted hatred of one person over another because of the color of their skin, the color of their uniform, the choice of party, without any voice of reason in a season of killing.

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