So we have been told again that the death of a black man caused by a police officer is not worth considering - there is a video of Eric Garner's death by strangulation, the medical examiner said it was homicide, but a grand jury decided that there is no reason for a trial. The person who took the video has been charged, however.
September 11, 2001, was a turning point in many ways. One of them was that our uniformed municipal public safety officers were heroes. There were lots of heroes - all our military became heroes, until the sense of the word washed out into too many egos of those to whom the word was applied. Being a hero is a one-time thing, connected to a specific place, time, and act. But we made all-the-time, look at the uniform heroes.
Some blame the Vietnam War for today's splits in Americans' attitudes. For some people, it certainly represents ultimate wrongs of various stripes, but they seem to be few. Or, if there are more, they don't say much about it.
But we have had, much more recently, an even more stupid and venal war, although not as many died. That war, Bush's War In Iraq, was divisive, too, although not as noisily as the Vietnam War. You can see from the way I titled it which side I'm on. And it was so obviously wrong-headed and wrong-handled that those who want to feel good about America's wars show their support only indirectly: Benghazi. We should have left more troops in Iraq. John McCain takes it out by wanting to bomb everyone.
Then we elected our first black president. We. Elected. That means a majority of voters felt that was an okay, maybe better than okay, thing to do. And we re-elected him. At first, the racists were very careful, although a very few of their number were just fine with photoshopping him as a witch doctor or whatever bubbled up from their subconscious. But then the birthers, and "he's not one of us," and it's snowballed to an acceptance of open racism. You can google it.
And it all came together. The cops, many of whom were white, all of whom share the bedrock racism that psychologists have shown is in all of us, can do no wrong. They are heroes, even if the word is looking a little pale these days. The grand juries in Ferguson and Staten Island have given us the result.