Saturday, June 06, 2020
An inexcusable series of hideously avoidable events.
Things have got full sporty up in here.
On May 25 in Minneapolis, a gentleman named George Floyd died of positional asphyxiation in police custody, and this is problematic in so so many ways. He was detained for a relatively minor issue, so the police response to the situation was excessive. However, the outrageousness of the situation is compounded by the fact that Mr. Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe, even as an officer's knee was on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Bystanders and even a fellow officer told the officer to get off of Mr. Floyd, to no avail. This incident was recorded on video that has been widely shared and has sparked outrage around the world. There is no good way to slice this, and this video and ones like it fuel the perception that we have a field of law enforcement that is run amok and out of control.
Law enforcement personnel have tough jobs. They are the rough women and men who stand ready to maintain peace and order in a society where things can go sideways in the blink of an eye. They see the very worst of our society and have witnessed horrors the rest of us will only ever see in nightmares. They are usually the first on the scene of ghastly car accidents, tornadoes, murders, house-fires, and every flavor of brutality that people serve up to each other. No one ever calls up the local PD or SO to say they are having a wonderful day. Is it possible that this barrage of grief and despair is warping for them? Surely it is so. However, I know quite a few people who work in that field, and I can say unreservedly that most of them are decent, above-board people who want to serve their communities. I can also say with no hesitation that these good officers want the bad ones out as much as everyone else in the community does. They need to clean their houses, seriously, and they need to reach out to their communities rather than defend the indefensible.
In the face of stories of Mr. Floyd and the murder of peaceful citizens like Breonna Taylor, an EMT who was shot in her own home by a Louisville Kentucky SWAT team who invaded the wrong house in the night, it is easy to understand why the United States would be perceived to have an ongoing and serious problem in which persons of color are under threat of murder by police on a daily basis. Incidents like the killing of Mr. Floyd on video only serve to fuel this perception. That Mr. Floyd and Ms. Taylor were persons of color cements the narrative that their deaths happened because of racism, but I will say this with absolute certainty: the officers in that house in Kentucky would have killed whoever they found there that night, of whatever color. Also, any person who has an officer kneel on their neck in that position for 8 minutes will die as a result of that action. The bitter pill of this is that our law enforcement agencies have some serious soul-searching to do about the rot they tolerate among their ranks. Were the murderous officers racist? I don't know. I think the murderous bit is the real problem here. I don't wish to control the mind of anyone else, but I do expect everyone to behave in a civilized and respectful manner.
After Mr. Floyd's murder, protests in Minneapolis spread to major cities all over the country, and even overseas. Unfortunately, nefarious hate groups from both ends of the spectrum seize upon this moment to fan the flames of unrest, even going so far as facilitating violence, property destruction, and physical attacks against people at what were planned to be civil protests. Opportunistic outliers will always be with us, and will always seize the opportunity to wreak havoc and chaos at such moments.
People who have a goal of a harmonious society that respects all citizens should not allow themselves to be derailed by agents of chaos. We need to talk this stuff through, but many here seem to have dug in their heels and have no plan to budge. We don't know where this is going, but we don't seem pointed in a direction that results in sweetness and light.
People who want a revolution are naive at best and are wantonly evil at worst-- the outcome would be mere ruination and the downfall of western civilization. About a third of the world's wealth is in US dollars(and I've heard higher figures), so if we collapse, so goes the world. All the people already living in mud huts will see little difference, except that the billions of vaccines we send around the world yearly will evaporate and life will become more deadly for the most abject poor on the planet. For those of us who like electricity, conditoned air, and clean cholera-free water in our homes, well, this is going to be a big and deadly adjustment.
My point here today is to gird your loins. The truth is that someone is not going to flip a switch and turn our society and its many cultures into Happy Rainbow Unicorn Land - people here have no idea how difficult life can be (and how difficult it IS on the daily in other places around the world). We need to figure out a way forward in which we can live in peace and respect with one another, but that will require everyone to be on their best behavior, even if they don't love their neighbor.
The book of I Peter is a series of letters to Christian exiles in which Peter admonishes them to not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, in all your conduct, since it is written "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on him as the Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (verses 14-19, ESV)
Christians only reject this wisdom at our own peril(and yes, I'm talking to me here), and even people who are not followers of Christ would be wise to heed the warning that they need to dance at all times like someone is watching, and that they will be held accountable for their actions. The weirdly full-circle effect we are experiencing is the way that someone or something is always watching here in this age of technology that was the bill of goods of "liberation" wherein machines do everything for us, like calculate numbers, vacuum our floors, or even put our words into writing. The meter is always running, the mic is always on, someone is always filming. You can ruin your entire life in a moment of carelessness - it happens daily in this rabid mob-ruled social media age.
I've watched and listened as people argue this topic from many differing perspectives, and I'm trying to lay out the facts here as clearly as possible. You are welcome to comment on this post, but my comment stream is not a forum for argument. If I have misrepresented a fact, I appreciate a courteous word to set the record straight, but I am not here for an argument of politics or class or racial warfare. This is not only a time of soul searching for people in law enforcement, but for every human on earth. We are accountable for our actions, and we should act accordingly.
As of 10:32 AM today according to Johns Hopkins covid tracking site, Global confirmed cases of of Covid-19 are 6,789,313, USA - 1,901,416, Global deaths 396,131, and USA deaths 109,215