Just love each other

Editor’s note: This column was originally published July 9, 2016 following the deaths of five Dallas police officers. In honor of the slain sheriff’s deputy from Pottawattamie County, we respectfully submit this column for our local law enforcement personnel, their families and our readers.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Matthew 5:9

How do you explain the unexplainable? How do you move forward when your heart aches to the point where you’re physically sick?

The murder of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday night will never make any sense. How could it? The question of “Why” most likely will never be answered.

In my position as editor of the Times-Republican, I have been privileged to work with local law enforcement. We cover the stories of their efforts, the work they do on a daily basis and the commitment they have to keeping our communities safe.

And through those connections, I am blessed, and I mean that with all sincerity, to call many of these heroes my friends.

Which makes what happened in Texas even more difficult, because while Dallas is 750 miles away, what transpired Thursday could just have easily happened in Marshalltown or somewhere in Marshall County.

And if I really think about that possibility, the thought of losing one or more of my friends to some senseless act of violence shakes me to my very being.

Being a journalist means having to separate yourself from the story. You have to remain objective. It’s important that you present all viewpoints and avoid getting caught up in the emotion of what may be going on.

But when five people lose their lives because they happened to wear a uniform, because they were doing their jobs, how can we not get emotional?

I’m angry, I’m scared and I ache for the lives lost.

At Friday’s prayer vigil at Anderson Funeral Home, I glanced over to the men and women in uniform. They weren’t sitting there stone faced and cold. They were heartbroken and in pain. They know all too well the reality of what they do might cost them their lives.

How many of us are willing to risk our lives every day? Would we knowingly run toward danger?

I wish I could do more to offer solace and comfort. I wish I could close the gap between love and hate; find middle ground to what divides us, whether it’s race, religion, politics.

Say a prayer tonight. Give thanks for your family and friends. Say one for the men and women of law enforcement. Show them you care. Do not let cynicism and hate seep into your heart.

Just love each other.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com