Tri-City Ledger -

By Pete Riehm
Guest Writer 

When tragedy is hijacked and our unity is burned


June 4, 2020

On Memorial Day, the nation was shocked when a horrific video went viral showing the callous senseless killing of a man on the pavement already in hand cuffs. George Floyd was being arrested for allegedly trying to pass counterfeit money. Video shows Floyd cooperating and after being cuffed, a police officer escorts a calm Floyd to the sidewalk to sit down. Then with an apparent gap in another video, Floyd is suddenly lying on the street next to a squad car with Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard saying he can’t breathe and by standers admonishing the officer that he is killing this man. Floyd appears to stop moving and is subsequently loaded into an ambulance; and then pronounced dead sometime later.

We can only assume the Minneapolis police had probable cause to apprehend George Floyd, but there is absolutely no rhyme or reason for a subdued suspect to be brutalized and killed in police custody. This unconscionable killing has disturbed all Americans. Clearly Police Officer Chauvin was out of control; he had gone rogue and obviously had no regard for Floyd as a fellow human. Other officers on scene also seemed indifferent and failed to intervene. All of them were promptly fired and a few days later Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder. An investigation must be completed and a trial conducted, but all hope justice will be served.

Justice is slow, but the wheels have been set in motion to hold Chauvin to account. While egregious, the matter is being aggressively pursued, so we would expect to wait for the outcome of the trial. But that is not what is happening. Large American cities coast to coast have been set ablaze and roiled by nightly riots.

An abhorrent act by any standard, George Floyd was black and Officer Derek Chauvin was white, so the prospect of racism comes to the fore. Is Chauvin a racist targeting blacks? Or is there systemic racism in police treatment of blacks? Fair questions that should be investigated and answered. In today’s damaged society, the answers may be complicated, but we should face them. If this awful killing was racially motivated, public anger and anguish is understandable, so spontaneous protests to voice disapproval and disgust can be expected.

However, protests are conducted in the day with people peacefully making their opinions heard with signs and speeches. Daytime protests have been widespread and largely peaceful. Crowds of citizens of all ages, creeds, and races joined together to show their condemnation of this tragic killing. Unreported in Minneapolis, blacks and whites came out together to clean up their city. Americans are actually united in their revulsion to this killing, but it’s hard to discern in the thick smoke of anarchy.

Under the cover of darkness, protests have turned to looting and rioting. Sadly, too many elected leaders equivocate that the violence is justifiable rage; it is not. We are right to be upset, but the killer has been arrested – no one is defending him. These are not protesters; these are agitators and domestic terrorists. They are destroying the very communities they ostensibly say they represent; they do not. Hundreds of businesses including minority owned have been devastated and may never recover. These thugs are destroying the dreams of blacks and whites alike. The night is dominated by ANTIFA shock troops fomenting violence. In most cities, the majority of malcontents arrested are from out of town; they are planning and coordinating attacks not for George Floyd or to fight racism. They are exploiting an opportunity to impose anarchy because they hate America.

The African-American community should be furious because the unjust death of George Floyd has been hijacked by smug leftist white kids to advance their agenda of anarchy. The focus on the mistreatment of Floyd is being ripped away by the utter mayhem terrorizing our communities. ANTIFA is using Floyd as an excuse to wreak havoc; they offer no solutions only chaos. Thankfully, President Trump has designated ANTIFA as a domestic terrorist organization; the FBI must investigate them and break their back the same way they eradicated the KKK.

This incredible travesty of criminal activities masquerading as civil disobedience also exposes glaring deficiencies in our culture. Public education has failed to produce citizens with a proper regard for the rule of law and understanding of the fundamental rights of all Americans. Too many of our youth are easily seduced by anarchy. Parents have also failed to raise kids with a sound sense of morality and respect for fellow humans. Too many of our children giddily looted stores just because they could. They emptied liquor stores and stole with abandon; to too many it was a grotesque party.

While one bad cop certainly precipitated this awful situation, we must salute the thousands of police across this nation that have demonstrated unbelievable restraint while being insulted and even injured trying to maintain order and preserve their communities. It’s pathetic that too many of our city leaders are more worried about placating the agitators than backing the police and protecting their citizens.

This nightly national turmoil only obfuscates reality. The truth is Americans are united in their outrage at the tragic killing of George Floyd; they join the Floyd family in despair and the quest for justice. But Americans are also united in their revulsion to this unbridled anarchy. There is racial unity in that the criminals pillaging the country are black and white, but the patriots condemning the unjust death of Floyd and the brazen looting and rioting are also black and white.

Contrary to sensationalized news, we have more in common than not. While we pursue justice, our leaders must face down the radical elements, but we must also call our children home and educate them about right and wrong. Pray for America; we will survive.

“And the people will be oppressed, each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; the youth will storm against the elder. And the inferior against the honorable.” Isaiah 3:5


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