An unarmed young black man is shot and killed by a white police officer, an event that occurs all too often in America.
Parents and family members grieve; their friends and neighbors take to the streets to vent their anger and frustration. The police, fearing the worst, bring in paramilitary equipment and vehicles, which only inflame the crowd.
Soon, fires and looting start. Tear gas follows, and quiet, suburban, Ferguson, Mo., is a war zone.
The rest of us shake our heads and wonder about the whys and hows of it all.
We ask: why burn, vandalize, and loot your own neighborhood? Why punish a businessman trying to serve his customers and make a dollar?
We ask: why point guns at innocent people just trying to get you to listen to their long-standing complaints? Why antagonize an angry, frustrated, scared man toting an assault rifle?
We ask: when will the broken glass get cleaned up? When will everyone calm down, stop shouting, put away the guns?
We ask: why did the cop decide he needed to shoot?
The worst part is, we may never know.
And we wait for it to all start again somewhere else.