Greetings to my readers. I am not going to summarize the senseless murder (yes, murder) of George Floyd in this post.
As I often say, unless you live under a rock or do not have access to the Internet or a television, you know the story. The links below are for those who may not know the background of this developing story:
George Floyd: Minnesota Man Who Died in Minneapolis Police Custody Is Identified
Firstly, my condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd and my best wishes to all who know him and mourn his loss.
Secondly, if you do not think we have a serious race problem in this country, please wake up. It is not up to black Americans and other people of color to fix this problem. It is up to ALL Americans to stop pretending that there is no problem.
When a white male mass murderer (I’m looking at you, Dylan Roof) is treated more humanly than a black man suspected of a minor crime, that sends a powerful and unambiguous message to the rest of us.
Additionally, our politicians and media need to stop fomenting the racial divide and it is incumbent upon us to stop subscribing to their rhetoric simply because it satisfies our penchant for tribalism.
Thirdly, let us stop using the riots and nonsensical speculation as mitigating factors to justify malfeasance by individual police officers. It is a given that the vast majority of police officers in this country are brave and honorable people who selflessly serve their communities and put themselves in harms way everyday.
However, if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that people who feel powerless in the face of constant abuse of power by the state, tend to lash out in often violent ways. I do not condone such violent and illegal behaviors, but I do realize what sparks such behavior.
Additionally, stop mentioning that George Floyd was arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill or that he had a criminal record as a justification for his inhumane treatment. In other words, stop putting the victim on trial.
Floyd’s criminal history or what he was being arrested for are irrelevant. People are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and any criminal history Floyd has is just that. History. He paid for his past transgressions. He did not deserve to die for what he was arrested for and it certainly does not justify what the police did.
Lastly, if you think that just because you are a white American or a non-black American that what happened to George Floyd does not affect you or cannot happen to you or someone you know or love, then I posit that you really do not see the bigger picture.
Abuse of power against anyone one of us affects all of us. I close this post with the words of German pastor Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
-The Rational Ram