As we mourn the loss of two young south Georgia police officers, we saw the support of many from across the country for the fallen officers and the Americus community.
But their deaths should not have happened. And we should use this tragedy as an example to break away from the division gripping this country in big towns and small.
Officer Nicholas Smarr and Officer Jody Smith were on their way to aid a woman who called police to protect her from a career criminal when he opened fire on the young officers.
Minquell Lembrick was wanted on a kidnapping warrant at the time of the shooting and had served two stints in prison from 2003 to 2012. His rap sheet was 32 pages long and it's clear he should have been in prison, not on the streets where he managed to get a handgun and kill two police officers with their entire lives ahead of them.
Lembrick took the coward's way out and turned a gun on himself as officers surrounded him Thursday morning. Unfortunately, this is becoming all too common.
Just last month, two Peach county deputies were shot and killed responding to a call about a man with a rifle. In that case it was a white man and the father of an officer, who pulled the trigger forever changing the lives of all who knew and loved those deputies.
Those who commit acts of violence on the men and women sworn to serve and protect us shouldn't be labeled by race, but instead as cowards.
And the actions of a few bad officers should not reflect on the majority of law enforcement who put their lives on the line for us everyday.
Officer Smarr took his final breath performing CPR on Officer Smith, his best friend who came to back up his comrade.
These young men died heroes but there deaths shouldn't be in vain.
Our justice system needs to examine this case closely and do a better job of seeing that criminals like Lembrick and others like him get stiffer penalties to keep them off the streets.
Failure to do so will put the public and the officers who protect us in danger.