Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all counts of murder and manslaughter for causing the death of George Floyd. That ought to bring a sigh of relief to those who were concerned that an acquittal or hung jury would lead to more riots, more violence, more “confrontation.” But, the country is not at ease. The murder of George Floyd did not only expose the fierceness of a bad cop and the meekness of those other cops who served with him and refused to stop Chauvin’s over-aggressive acts against Floyd. It exposed an anger among so many against what they are convinced is a system that is rigged against them. It also exposed a willingness among others to exploit that anger for their own profit, their own nefarious activities, or their political and/or social agendas.
It is understandable that the murder of George Floyd would inspire protests around the country. Almost everyone who watched the video of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes recognized that this was too much, this was brutal, this was a cop taking advantage of his position of power over a man who had resisted arrest, but by that time had been subdued and was under control. It looked like “get back” rather than a necessary maneuver to control a resisting suspect. Virtually the entire country was in agreement that what happened in Minneapolis was not right, was criminal, was murderous, and that the cops responsible needed to be held responsible.
But, then the riots came. Then the “autonomous zones” were set up. Then the looting started. Then the murders. Eighteen people were murdered and many thousands more injured in the “peaceful protests” that erupted in response to Floyd’s murder. A billion dollars of damage was done to businesses and federal buildings over the months of protests and riots. Hundreds (thousands?) of people lost their businesses just as they were beginning to open back up after being shuddered for weeks because of the pandemic. Many of them will never open again. Amazingly, mayors, national politicians, and talking heads on news programs seemed to justify the violence and looting. They insisted that the protests were “mostly peaceful” even as buildings burned to the ground behind them. Some attempted to join the protesters in solidarity and were shouted down or run off. They thought the protesters were on their side. But, the protesters and rioters weren’t on anyone’s side but their own. The message was pretty clear: we don’t simply want a new president; we don’t simply want to change the system; we want to bring the system down.
In response, weak-kneed or wrong-headed politicos who thought they could appease the maddened crowd, or who agreed with the maddened crowd, demanded that police departments be defunded, or that the police step aside and give the protesters and rioters their way. Some city councils, like Minneapolis, New York, and Los Angeles, complied and cut their police budgets. Others, like Seattle, allowed protesters control of blocks of their city. Others, like in Portland, tolerated months of nightly protests and violence. As a result, there have been record numbers of police retiring or moving on to other jobs, and crime, including violent crime, has skyrocketed in these cities. Still, some are demanding more than just defunding police departments. They are calling for getting rid of the police entirely. These same people are not the ones who will face the consequences of no police, of course. They can afford their own private security.
Even in the past few weeks, as people were stirred up by the unlikely scenario created by the media elites (always looking for a way to boost ratings) that Chauvin’s trial might result in a hung jury or, worse, an acquittal, protesters have turned into rioters and the clear threat was that cities would burn if Chauvin was not convicted. “We want a guilty verdict,” Maxine Waters, the Congresswoman from California, demanded. She got her guilty verdict, the one everyone was expecting. Even President Biden could not resist the urge to give his opinion on what the verdict should be prior to the jury coming to a decision, being sure to signal his virtue for all to see. All they accomplished was creating grounds for an appeal. This is far from over.
The country will not engage in a legitimate debate on police reform and the question of systemic racism in police departments. The elites will not allow the country to engage in that debate. Instead, the conversation will be shifted to the “fact” that there is systemic racism among all police departments, and that it must be reformed or cannot be reformed. Either way, I will be surprised if anything is accomplished at a federal level. Perhaps at local levels reforms will be adopted that will allow for progress. I hope so. At the federal level, however, there will be no progress, because there is nothing to gain for the politicians in making actual progress. Like on so many other issues, it is the issue itself that serves the politicians’ agendas, not the solving of the issue. If the issue goes away, so do the talking points, so do the fund-raising letters to constituents that boast of all that has been done to address this issue, and the obstacles the other side has placed on the path to progress. So, send more money!
We have arrived at a dangerous crossways in our country’s culture. Those who rioted, looted, burned, and murdered in the name of protesting the murder of George Floyd will feel empowered now. Even given that nearly everyone in the country agreed that Floyd had been murdered by excessive force, and even if everyone expected a guilty verdict, there will be those who convince themselves that, were it not for their standing up and demanding justice by violence or the threat of violence, justice would not have been served. So, what of the next trial? Out of the tens of millions of interactions between the police and citizens of this country, there are bound to be some that do not end well. There do not need to be many. In the first half of 2020, there were 14 unarmed Black victims of police shootings, and 25 unarmed White victims. The media can turn that into dozens of Black victims and no White victims simply on how they report them or do not report them. In fact, the number of Black police shooting victims is down 63% since 2015. This is good news. You would not know that, however, based on what the media elites and the Black Lives Matter organization is telling you. Good news and positive progress do not sell papers, get clicks on the internet, or raise funds so BLM founders can purchase million dollar homes.
Those who feel empowered by demanding justice with violence or the threat of violence will doubtless have no inhibitions about doing so again, when the next trial comes along. Politicians who are convinced that they can exploit those who employ this strategy will remain silent or even condone it, while they spend thousands every month on their private security. Media elites, safely ensconced in their gated communities, will approve or dismiss the violence. As usual, it is the poor, the marginalized, the minorities stuck in inner-city hell-holes that will suffer the violence, and the small businesspeople who will suffer the burning and looting.
I pray for my country.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.