An image a city has may not be the most important element in its well-being, but no one can deny it is important as to growth, viability and standard of living — quality of life.

St. Louis has gone through another blemishing of its image with the violence that occurred after the verdict was given in a murder trial involving a former policeman, who is white, and a black drug dealer. The protesters included black and white people, many carrying signs that read  “Black Lives Matter.” They do matter and white lives matter also. The signs should read “All Lives Matter.”

Other cities also have had their images battered when violence occurred when there have been shootings by white officers of black men. Seldom is it mentioned that white officers also have shot white suspects wanted in the commission of crimes. 

More people, white and black, are armed today than ever before and that is a situation police officers have to deal with. We all know before anybody is shot, restraint must be a guideline, but when there is fear of the officer being shot, or harmed in some way, put yourself in the officer’s shoes and, well, how would you react? Followup stories of an officer shooting a black, or white man, too often don’t mention that the suspect was wanted for a crime and the officer feared for his or her life.

Yes, we know antiblack prejudice is still alive, but it’s not in everybody’s blood.

It has been reported that policemen too often have been acquitted in the shooting of black suspects and too often not even charged. Could it be that the majority of people believe in the police, consider their training and above all, trust them?

ack to the image problem. A bad image for a city can hurt all inhabitants, black and white. It harms growth. Since the core city is so important to a metro area, the negative 

extends for miles from the core. What happens in St. Louis is important to every section of Franklin, Warren and other metro counties. The damage done may not be as evident miles from the core, but it’s there. It also harms the state.

What is it going to take to restore a damaged image? Less crime and fewer shootings!

Some leaders look upon a disaster and an image-smashing event as an opportunity to build on it, to unite and move forward for change. Much, much progress has been made in race relations. Peaceful protests are fine, but when they turn to violence their cause and efforts for change are wasted. 

Leaders in the protest urged peaceful demonstrations. With over 140 people arrested for assaulting policemen and causing damage, not all the protesters were peaceful. They didn’t listen to the leaders, most of whom urge the people to be peaceful. When demonstrations are staged, outsiders often join them with the intent to become violent. The leaders in the protests can’t control who joins the demonstrators. That is the problem with protests.

The violent protesters are criminals and should be held accountable. They give the peaceful demonstrators a bad image and they undercut the cause for which people are protesting.