Sometimes a small news item encapsulates the rhetorical excess in the reporting and commentary on more profound issues.
Over this past year, no topic has received more attention than the deaths of young men of color at the hands of the police and then the subsequent, retaliatory but random murders of policemen after one grand jury after another has failed to indict the police officers involved in the killings for use of excessive force, never mind for murder.
The rhetoric on both sides has become very politically and culturally charged—and sometimes astonishingly hyperbolic, even given that these are literally life-and-death issues.
Indeed, even the editorial cartoons on these issues have been somber—provoking not even the laughter of shock that, for instance, many of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons have provoked in many readers.
So it was almost inevitable that these issues would result in something that would serve as a pointed indicator that we need some restored perspective—that we need to step back from the rhetorical excess and re-establish some reasonable baseline for addressing the issues.
For me that pointed indicator is the following news item from the Columbus Dispatch: