Let’s be clear: the tragic events in Brooklyn today started as an act of intimate partner violence–violence against women. He first traveled from GA to Maryland–near Baltimore–where he shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend before taking his illness further up north.

In no way were this man’s actions about social justice or even “revenge” against murderous cops. As I’m sure the more sane reporting will reveal, this man has a history of erratic, violent, unbalanced behavior. And a history of violence against women.

This is not the time to be defensive about the call to end police brutality and state-sanctioned uniformed murder. This is the time to call for proper mental health systems and increased awareness of and vigilance against violence against women. This is not the first murder-suicide centered around an unbalanced man’s unwillingness to release his ex-girlfriend.

Compassion for the murdered police officers, compassion for the grievously-wounded ex-girlfriend, compassion for the mentally ill. And compassion for everyone who is working hard to stay focused on the groundswell of energy against police brutality even in the face of this singular, unrelated incident.