Four now-former Minneapolis (MN) Police Department (MPD) officers killed George Floyd in broad daylight. Riots are occurring, or have occurred, in multiple U.S. cities, including one in Minneapolis where the 3rd MPD precinct was overrun by rioters. The President of the United States sent out a highly inflammatory tweet calling for the military to kill U.S. civilians. In Grand Forks, North Dakota, a police officer was among two people who were killed while the officer was trying to serve an eviction notice. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, police officers fired tear gas into a group of peaceful protesters. In Minneapolis, a CNN news crew that was covering the unrest was arrested for no valid reason whatsoever. In Louisville, Kentucky, a news crew for NBC affiliate WAVE-TV was attacked by law enforcement.
As America slowly reopens while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, there is one question on my mind. Is this chaos a preview post-COVID-19 pandemic normal in America?
America has faced turbulent times before, and America is facing turbulent times right now. Racism is as old as America, but it is now being recorded on video, and it is horrifying the sensible people of this great country. The sight, forever recorded onto video, of Officer Derek Chauvin forcing his knee onto the neck of George Floyd, depriving him of air and killing him, is horrifying to watch.
Use of lethal force by law enforcement should be the last resort, not the first resort, and should only be used when officers’ lives are being clearly threatened by suspects. Those who have the responsibility for enforcing the law in this country should not be above it, and that those in law enforcement who abuse their power and hurt or kill others in doing so should face very serious consequences.
While journalists should not be above the law, they shouldn’t be arrested or attacked for simply doing their jobs. The American system of government and way of life is dependent on an existence of a free and adversarial press. By free and adversarial press, I mean that journalists should be free to hold those in power accountable to the truth in a journalistic manner.
The President and other political leaders in this country should not be using the trappings of their offices to incite violence and encourage authoritarian behavior by themselves and others in positions of power. Use of the military against U.S. citizens should be reserved for armed rebellions against the United States by treasonous individuals or in self-defense of their own lives. I do not, in any way, encourage rioting and looting, but looting property, while a serious crime, shouldn’t automatically result in the perpetrators being killed.
These past few days have led part of me to believe that America might simply be better off if we went back to full stay-at-home orders across the country, like the ones we were under just a couple of months or so ago. However, there will be, someday, a new, post-pandemic normal, but hopefully not one where chaos, racism, destruction, brutality, violence, hate, and tyranny rules over justice and equality.
America is burning. It is past time for justice and equality to prevail over racism and brutality. However, chaos, destruction, violence, and tyranny isn’t going to make America a more just and equal union one second sooner.