The only people in mourning right now are the family and friends of George Floyd who was killed in cold blood by a rogue Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin—now charged with third degree murder. All others are using this opportunity as justification to lash out at a system they believe is inherently unjust.
The gut-wrenching video of Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck as he cried out ‘I can’t breathe’ is difficult to watch. Life slowly seeps out of Floyd’s lungs and he is seen, after several minutes, laying motionless on the cold pavement—Chauvin’s knee still on his neck. The crowd of emotional onlookers scream at the officer to get off of him, but he ignores them. His cohorts do not fulfill their sworn oath to protect life by intervening; instead, they hold their position—essentially acting as accessories to murder.
As someone who is familiar with police use of force theory, I can easily and without apology denounce Chauvin’s conduct as criminal and completely out of line. With Floyd handcuffed and laying on the ground in addition to the several police units at scene, it is fair to say that he could not reasonably be seen as a threat they could not safely handle. Due to my experience, I typically have a measured response when it comes to sensationalized police interactions and officer involved shooting videos. There is an inherent element of danger in law enforcement as they confront evil on a day to day basis—not knowing if they will make it home that night. They deal with the worst of the worst day to day and that should not be taken lightly. That being said, this video did not depict an officer facing any imminent danger that would have resulted in the death of an arrestee.
There has been a unified voice of condemnation towards Chauvin and calls for his arrest. Political affiliations were set down and people spoke out in unison against what could only be defined as cold-blooded murder. But in the midst of this moment of universal agreement comes another issue of division: Riots.
Even now as I write, America is on fire. Massive crowds of rioters march in several cities causing massive amounts of damage to businesses that have provided sustenance for residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. They indiscriminately deface businesses owned by residents, including black small business owners. Rioters show their true colors when they loot business for electronics and other item to benefit themselves—proving this is about self-service and justification for criminal activity under the guise of racial victimization. They burn down police buildings that deploy police officers daily into neighborhoods each day responding to calls for service. Rioters vandalize buildings with phrases such as ‘Save a life, kill a cop’ and ‘F*** Trump.’ This anger is unbridled and unharnessed only putting more lives in jeopardy—but they see this as ‘social justice.’
The pseudo-intellectuals, virtue signalling, and privileged masses on social media plaster their feeds with racially charged quotations justifying this vicious response. None of them willing to join in on the destruction, but all of them willing to instigate it. Instead of using their positions of privilege and intelligence to appeal to peace and the pursuit of justice, they demand the killing of public servants and promote militant and destructive eye for an eye ideologies.
When considering these current events, I picture the imagery of a man with his house on fire. This man watches frantically as his home burns with all of his lifelong belongings inside. Perhaps he has a loved on in the house or even a pet dog. As he screams for help several people approach him with buckets. His heart feels relief until he smells something familiar emitting from these buckets. He soon realizes they are filled with gasoline.
Ghandi’s words ring particularly true when he said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” The tragedy is multiplied a hundred-fold when in our blindness we are incapable of recognizing that in our pursuit of retaliation, we have destroyed not only the morale our own people, but the vision for a better tomorrow given to us by those who came and suffered before.