I took a break and came back online to an unexpected horror show. I cannot even bear to watch the video. Too much force was used and help isn’t coming. The man is dying an unnecessary death. I don’t need to see that to know that it was wrong. It makes me feel sick. When the Black Lives Matter and the Blue Lives movement started, didn’t we say the reason for the outrage was a fluke? How many more time does this need to happen before we realize it is an issue we NEED to address NOW.
Here is why the move used on Floyd isn’t recommended. It can kill you. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/george-floyd-knee-to-neck-excessive-force-trnd/index.html
On the other hand the hateful remarks I am seeing in response to punish all police officers is also too much. I’m seeing calls for the death penalty for these officers. Attempting to burn a precinct down while there may have been people inside. Two wrongs don’t make a right and killing more people won’t solve this problem. And letting more people die before we do anything doesn’t solve it either.
Let me start with I see all Police officers as equally human as the person they are cuffing. We cannot even begin to come up with a solution unless we include them as part of the solution. That doesn’t happen if we push them out and make it a condition of “us” vs “them”. I have thought about this for a long time. It is hard to see their struggles because they are setup to be seen as the hero. They are given powers in the community that forces them to ignore their humanity. They are told to follow a certain set of rules, and an interpretation of those rules, or they will die. We unwittingly reinforce this idea and this belief every time we say police officer vs citizen.
Two sides of every coin
We are not always aware that police officer are doing the best job they can. There will be times where they react and they make what they think is the best decision at the time. Their instincts and response are conditioned by variety of factors. There will be times when the onlooker will think something looks like it was done with malice but this is not always the case. What we don’t realize is the wrong emotional response to something we are not fully aware of forces cops to stick to their guns and see their community as a danger. But that doesn’t mean we look the other way. That doesn’t mean we protect someone by giving them a pass. Which is why the response to the arrest, the people who tried to intervene, and even the protests IS the right response. I am not saying that I approve of the rioting. The death threats and rioting angers me it discolors the real issues. We will spend money and time dealing with the symptoms. . We are living in a time where only the loudest voice in the room is recognized. It was only a matter of time before the online rants and raves grew beyond the control of social media. You cannot quell the rage by censoring. No matter how uncomfortable the underlying issues, they don’t go away by ignoring it. Last night the rage found its outlet in Minneapolis.
Violence erupting in a community can always be traced back to people who are wounded and unheard by their community. Communities are no longer isolated groups of people. Family and friends move, taking their shared history and connections with them. The outcry and protest for George Floyd’s death was immediately felt. The response by the authorities in a position to speak and hear them out were weak. As if to further illustrate the reason for the season, the Minneapolis police officers didn’t hesitate to arrest reporters on the scene they deemed a danger to them. 3 out of the 4 crew members were taken to the station. Without a doubt the 4th crew member was treated differently than the other three. The arrests made no sense.
In the words Dr. Martin Luther King,
Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.
But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.
Dr. Martin Luther King, The Other America
You can watch the speech here or read King’s entire speech on the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website.
So many questions and they are really indicators of a much bigger problem. If we care about this problem and we want solutions, we need to do a better job of listening.
Going after police officers will not fix the problem unless you address the culture and the corruption in the community that allows them to continue. Why didn’t Klobuchar prosecute police officers who were cited for excessive force? Then she turned around and aggressively went after smaller offenses? If Police Officers can be let go for a variety of minor infractions but retained in the light of abusive and harmful acts, we need to ask why did the police department (or the city) think this guy was a valuable member of their force? Our institutions fails us when they do not fulfill their function. Because if we don’t take the time to understand what happened here, it will happen again.
This is exactly why it is important that claims are investigated and charges are not swept under the carpet. When we know we have a bad penny in our midst we make our community weaker when we favor silence when we should be speaking out. Advocating for extreme punishments should be avoided. People do make mistakes and we need to address it in a way that allows us to distinguish between those who made a mistake they can learn from and those who cannot.
There is another side to this story.
When the fires burn out. There will be a community left. One that didn’t have a hand in the travesties of the night. They were putting out fires and helping neighbors survive the night. I doubt the rioters will be using their energy to help people living in the aftermath. The harder and more meaningful work will come when it it is time to rebuild stronger communities.