Has destroying other people’s property ever been an acceptable form of catharsis?

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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay; not intended to be a photo of the Minneapolis protests.

If you’re like me, we’ve been praying for the family of George Floyd of Minnesota after the horrible video of four policemen holding him down and perhaps leading to his death. I say that because I have not seen any autopsy report to confirm the reason for his passing. In a statement by the medical examiner, cause of death won’t be known immediately.

Video released in the last couple of days shows that Floyd was not resisting arrest and did not warrant the kind of force used on him, in my opinion. It seems to me that the officers were clearly in the wrong and deserved to be fired, as well as prosecuted.

Law enforcement as an occupation is not exempt from the possibility of having a few people represent it poorly. It happens to every occupation, and if anything, law enforcement does a better job of trying to weed the undesirables out before they are allowed to protect and serve the public. It’s unfair for anyone to judge the character of the entirety of law enforcement on these isolated incidents of wrongdoing.

The same can be said for the protesters. I’m not judging an entire community because a bunch of thugs are choosing to express their anger, disappointment, rage, etc., by destroying the property of others. It’s just disheartening to see so many people in pain who can’t think of a better way to express it than to hurt their own communities.

In addition to the needless violence, these protests just stand to feed stereotypes. Cops are people, too. They get scared. They have self-preservation instincts. Don’t you think if they approach someone who sparks memories of this violence in their minds, they would do so with extra caution? Isn’t it possible that being a little more on edge may impair their judgment, just like anyone else? Racial and socioeconomic profiling is never justified in my opinion, but I think they can be curbed if people on all sides of the issue make better decisions in cases like this.

When violent protests break out and officers have to try to regain a level of control, they must first protect themselves and each other. Riot gear looks scary because, thankfully, we don’t see it that often and it’s probably by design. When we see masses of officers in gear going up against an angry mob, it’s going to look like an unfair fight. But we need to stop and think about how the mob put themselves into that situation, but it is the situation that draws the officers.

Just think about how much potential good could have been brought from this tragedy if the reaction had been different. I don’t know of anyone who can watch those videos and still think Floyd deserved to die. Frankly, when I was watching it, I wanted to jump through my computer screen and either pull the officer off of his neck myself or get in the face of the cop who just stood there and allowed it to happen. He might not have been physically on top of Floyd, as three other officers were, but he could have stepped up and told his partners to get up.

Instead of looting, burning and other senseless destruction, why couldn’t we have a peaceful march, a memorial or something that could lead to an open dialogue about the relationship between officers and minorities? Why can we never open that door when something like this occurs?

Don’t you think videos of people of all colors, walking arm-in-arm through the streets of Minneapolis to show their support for Floyd and the unity of our nation would have a greater impact on society than more of this nonsense? I think it would, but of course, most of the legacy media would likely prefer things play out as they have been. To me, this is only fed by CNN’s refusal to accept the patrol’s request to clear the street, which led to arrests.

The CNN situation is not a First Amendment issue, neither is the violence. CNN could have continued to tell the story from a different area to demonstrate cooperation with law enforcement. It could also show that officers, when operating within the confines of what they SHOULD be doing, deserve respect.

Leading by example goes a long way, whether it is in a positive or negative manner.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.