St. Louis police officers line up and salute as the body of fallen Officer Tamarris L. Bohannon is brought to the morgue in St. Louis, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. Bohannon died Sunday after being shot in the head by a barricaded gunman on the city's south side, authorities said. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

When demands for civil treatment by all police officers become deaths of police officers, we're through the looking glass.

When a U.S. senator — Chris Murphy of Connecticut — deletes a tweet condemning looters, we are through the looking glass.

When an editor-at-large of a national news organization — CNN's Chris Cillizza — thinks the president should not use the word "riot" to describe scenarios that have resulted in hundreds of arrests, hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and dozens shot and police officers dead, well, sometimes you wonder if we'll ever find our way back again.

The phrase "new normal" emerged because of the sweeping, life-changing measures we have taken to beat back the coronavirus. That fight continues and will for some time.

So does the fight for social justice. It's a fight almost all of America supports.

It's when the protests go from peaceful to punishing that gives us pause.

Because, just like the issue of equality, I have to believe that most of the people taking to the streets to express their anger, frustration and impatience hate the escalation, too.

Or do they? The names of George Floyd and Jacob Blake are now tragically seared into our collective minds. But is the name Tamarris Bohannon? That one's not as familiar, is it?

Well, add that to the list of evidence of down being up and crooked being straight.

Bohannon was a St. Louis police officer, shot in the head Saturday as he responded to a barricade situation as protests in his city turned violent. He died Sunday morning. He was 29, leaving behind a wife and three young kids.

Yes, the horrific video of George Floyd dying under a cop's knee and the brutal fact that Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back in front of his kids are stomach churning. That both came at the hands of police officers demands thorough investigation and meaningful change.

But we shouldn't overlook the sacrifice that Bohannon and his colleagues make every day, because he and 99% of decent police looking to protect you and me and get home to their families deserve that.

And, beyond morality of right and wrong and of living and killing, the more the narrative of protesting becomes about violence and riots — sorry, CNN guy — the less effective it makes the entire effort.

Through the years, great social justice fighters from Mahatma Gandhi to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led impactful change with peaceful protest, because with the seeds of civility comes a better society.

Peaceful efforts change people; violent efforts enrage them.

On both sides, and right now, we've got all the outrage we can stand.

Contact Jay Greeson at

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Jay Greeson