Police Killed in Baton Rouge Leave Behind 7 Kids & We're Just Sick of the Violence

Three more police officers were killed this weekend. Seven more children lost their fathers. If it's starting to feel like a war to you, you're not the only one. The battle was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this time, and we're heartbroken (again) for the officers, for their families, for what's happening to our country, and about the actions of the man who thought this was the best solution to the problem of police violence.

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The three victims were all fathers, and it's hard to think of their deaths outside of the context of the children they left behind. Losing cops is hard. Losing a parent is impossible.

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Officer Montrell Jackson (left in the photo above) left behind a baby boy, according to Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett. He also left behind this Facebook post from earlier in July, which is devastating in its honesty and tiredness:

(Officer Jackson's family also set up a GoFundMe page to help his wife and new baby.)

Officer Matthew Gerald (top right in the photo above) only joined the Baton Rouge police force last year after serving in the marines and in the army, according to the Washington Post. He was 41 and had two kids.

The last victim, Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, had worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office for 24 years. He had four kids -- the youngest is 7 and the oldest is 21.

It's always extra hard to hear about the victims' lives and to see them as real people and not just headlines, but sometimes we find ourselves forgetting that these murders are personal, and we can't let ourselves forget that they are. The gunman, an ex-marine named Gavin Long, had a long social media trail promoting the idea that violent "justice" is the solution to the racial tensions in the US. It's not, though. We can't let it be.

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Obama, in his official statement, said about the same thing:

The gunman used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to shoot the officers, according to the Washington Post. That means it's probably time to talk again about how insanely disturbing it is that weapons of that caliber are accessible for public consumption. Normal citizens should not be able to get their hands on weapons like that. 

Obviously, though, that's only part of the problem. The Baton Rouge shooting highlights so many things that are wrong with our country right now (gun laws, police brutality, the myth that violence solves violence, and maybe even government resources for veterans), and it does it in the worst possible way.

It's time for this to end.

 

Image via JusticeWillett/Twitter

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