Three major issues emerge as both potential causes and consequences of these events: fractured race relations, gun violence as a public health epidemic, and a criminal justice system in need of broad reform.
To confront these challenges the public must engage the following areas:
- Structural inequality that inhibit entire populations from fully participating in a democratic society
- Systematic racism that manifests itself within cultural and societal norms that undermine the Nation’s highest ideals of justice and freedom
- Adopt common-sense public health measures that acknowledge twenty-first century needs and realities to establish a safer environment for its citizens
- Update training, technology, and engagement practices that better prepare law enforcement to use deadly force as a last resort, hold them accountable to their actions, and make officers more confident and competent amid the social, economic, and cultural shifts that should influence and guide a continuous evolution in policing
Progress will require broad and deep participation at all levels of democracy and government. These are not easy issues to tackle nor will they change overnight, but they’re the source of much-needed contemplation about the type of nation we’ve been, the type of nation we are today, and the type of nation we will become tomorrow.
It is unlikely that legislatures, courts, or executive bodies can accomplish all of these aims within a single term or even within the next 10 years. However, if Scarborough is right about “a nation on edge,” then the American people must prepare and dedicate themselves to significant, sustainable compromise and sacrifice for the foreseeable future.