George Floyd

The police brutality that killed George Floyd has brought to the forefront many issues that we must deal with. Most of these we all agree on. But what started out as unifying turned into riots.

In this episode I discuss George Floyd’s death, the protests, the riots, questions of systemic racism, and how we can move forward from here. On the way I ask a few questions that really require an answer.

Mentioned links:

What are the Differences in Degrees of Murder?

It’s Past Time to Examine How Police Unions Protect Bad Cops

This Is Easy: Don’t Excuse, Defend, or Encourage Rioters

Opinion: A humble request for those of us who believe that black lives matter

Democrats have run Minneapolis for generations. Why is there still systemic racism?

What you need to know about plans to defund Minneapolis police

Minneapolis City Council resolves to replace police with community-led model

It’s Official: Minneapolis City Council Votes Unanimously to Abolish Police

The Strongest Support for School Vouchers Comes from Lower-Income Families

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Show transcript

At the top of both the Facebook page and group is a post asking you to let us know how this pandemic has affected you. Listener Lance mentioned something that a whole lot of people can relate to. “My son was a High School Senior this year. He went on Spring Break thinking he would see his classmates again. You know the rest.”

We do Lance, we do. My elder son graduated from college this year, and all we got was a streaming video where they read off his name. Students, and the education system in general, really went places we never thought they would. And you just can’t replace those big life events.

Thanks, Lance, for letting us know. We’re with you, and your son.

The multiple coroner reports may have been technically correct, but the real cause of death of George Floyd was police brutality, plain and simple. And the thing is, everybody recognizes that. Those on the same page regarding this include Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity and Don Lemon, Fox News and MSNBC, Ted Cruz and Nancy Pelosi and politicians on both sides of the aisle; everybody agrees that kneeling on his neck for almost 9 minutes while he begged for his life was absolutely wrong and unjust.

And I would wager that there is the same agreement with protesters who were fed up with this and made their many voices heard to the government and the media. This was a rare moment of national unity. I was hoping we could hang onto it for a time, much like we did after 9/11, before we returned to our corners and the divisiveness started back up.

But it didn’t last long, and I don’t blame the protesters. I blame the rioters. But before I get to that, I want to spend some time on the incident itself.

Originally, the cop was charged with 3rd-degree murder. Later it was increased to 2nd degree. My concern is that the Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, might bump up the charges due to pressure from outside, and then be unable to prove it. That’s what I believe happened in the Trayvon Martin case. I think pressure from the black community there caused the state to charge 2nd-degree murder. They couldn’t prove that, so Zimmerman was found not guilty. I want the cop who killed George Floyd to face justice, so I hope Ellison thinks he has a rock-solid case.  I’ve got a link in the show notes to a good description of the differences in the charges.

One outstanding question is whether this incident had an element of racism to it. Was the cop doing this because George Floyd was black? My mantra has always been to wait until all the facts come out. For example, when the video came out of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, I was waiting for all the information to come out before calling it racist. Ultimately, testimony came out that the guy who shot called Arbery the N-word after the shooting. I posted an article regarding that and one of my Facebook friends commented, “Huh….imagine that.” Now, I know that friend pretty well, and that was his polite way of saying, “Told ya’ so.” But I just think that assuming racism of every shooting of a black man by a white man is an unwarranted pre-judgment, and “pre-judgment” is another way of saying “prejudice”. And prejudice is prejudice no matter who’s doing it, and it’s divisive. Again, let’s unite around what can be proven and work to end those injustices before we make assumptions about anything else.

Getting back to the rioters, if we can agree that a minority of the protesters were rioting I think we can also agree that a minority of the cops are bad cops. Now if you’re going to say that there’s systemic racism in the police force because of a minority of bad cops, then can I say that there’s a systemic tendency toward violence among the protesters? Apples and oranges you say? Then please send me some feedback and let me know the difference. For the record, I don’t believe there is a tendency towards violence in the protesters. I just think people with other agendas like to co-op a valid protest.

Before I get to systemic racism, I have an observation and a question. I’ve heard a number of my Facebook friends, white and black, express, if not outright approval, then at least some dismissal of the looting and destruction that has gone on. “After all”, they say, “buildings can be replaced, but a man’s life cannot.” That’s true as far as the literal meaning of the phrase, but those buildings are more than just bricks and mortar. For some, it’s the job they had at the Wal-Mart being put on hold (as well as their paycheck) until that building is rebuilt. For some, it’s their own business for which they couldn’t afford insurance for civil unrest and now they have nothing. For some, it was brand new low-cost housing that was going to be a fresh start for them, but rioters burned it to the ground. And aside from the buildings, for some, what was taken was their lives, literally. More than 20 people have died in these riots. But hey, buildings can be rebuilt.

That’s the observation, and here’s the question. This all came from the death of 1 man by police brutality, and the deaths of many others by the same means. But this particular death was so egregious that it brought the problem of police brutality to the forefront and the dismissal of some of the rioting. Blacks, in particular, have been pressing this issue for a long time without getting the results they thought were just, and this rioting was a result of that injustice. (I will say that the family and friends of George Floyd spoke out against all of that.) There’s a link in the show notes to examples of some in the Leftist media also giving something of a dismissive and understanding tone to the riots.

So this is the question. Would anyone who was the slightest bit dismissive of these riots have the same view if pro-lifers started rioting and burning down abortion clinics? If it’s understandable that some people would destroy property over the death of hundreds over the years, wouldn’t it be even more understandable for those protesting the killing of a million children…every year? My answer is that it’s completely wrong in both cases. That’s a consistency that is sorely lacking these days.

OK, let’s get back to that systemic racism. One of the culprits in hiding what happens are police unions. They are intent on protecting their members, making sure that, when possible, records of incidents of alleged police brutality never see the light of day. If there’s systemic racism, unions are keeping us from finding out. Those police unions may need to be defunded. (And that’s a term I’ll get back to.)

And where would this systemic racism be coming from? Well, consider that those police unions are friends of Democrats. But that’s not where it stops. Peter Heck, whose Heck Podcast is a recent addition to my podcast listening, put it this way. “In George Floyd’s adopted home, he entered a community led by a Democrat Governor, Democrat Lt. Governor, Democrat Attorney General, 2 Democrat Senators, Democrat Representative, Democrat State Representative, Democrat State Senator, Democrat Mayor, Democrat City Council President, and Democrat City District Attorney.” Are you sensing a trend here?  In these big cities where systemic racism is killing black people, who’s in charge? Who’s letting it happen? I’ve been saying for longer that Trump has that a change of leadership could very likely be what these cities need, and not just new people with the same old ideas. Democrats have been running these cities for 20, 30, 50 years and more, so how about real change? If their policies were going to remove racism, eradicate poverty, and build a fair economy for all, is 50 years long enough to do that? Is it long enough to even show some progress? If not, voters in those cities have been betting on the wrong horse for a generation or three. My advice is to change the horse, not just the jockey.

But instead of suggesting real change like that, we’ve started seeing signs (held by peaceful protesters) saying the police should be defunded, especially in Minneapolis where this happened. Some in the media have tried to soften this by suggesting that this means just reducing the budget of the police, but that’s not what defund means, nor do the protesters sound like that’s what they mean. Now in Minneapolis, they can’t do that without changing the city charter, but with a unanimous vote on a resolution to pursue a community-led public safety system to replace the police department, the city council could make that happen.

To me, this sounds like replacing trained professionals with George Zimmerman. And remember, you can’t have guns; only the police can. Also, defund the police. From that perspective, I would not want to be in an area that was “guinea pigging” for that idea. But hey, who knows?

So let me talk about solutions that I think would be a great help to black lives. Reforms to the existing policing system are something I think we can all get on board with (again, trying to keep that unity), so here are some others. As I’ve said in previous episodes, the biggest killer of black lives is abortion, plain and simple. Abortion rates have been slowly declining over the years, which is good news, but more needs to be done to make abortion unthinkable as opposed to merely illegal. If people will do the right thing regardless of the law, then the law becomes irrelevant.

Another issue is the fact that government education has been failing the inner city. We need to expand voucher programs so families can spend their education dollars where they want to. And we need to be more open to the privatization of education so that more innovation can help kids who may learn differently and give parents more options for those voucher dollars. Among blacks, 69% approve of voucher programs as do 74% of those with incomes under $20,000. They know they need it. Let’s trust them with their own money.

For those who need economic help, I would again look at the private sector. Welfare has been destroying families by encouraging absent fathers and replacing them with a check. Big government needs to back off and allow the private charities and programs to flourish. They are often closer to the problems and, again, can offer innovative remedies more quickly and more useful to the community they serve.

There’s one political party that has been trying to promote these ideas. I hate to have to descend back into the political, but, again, if the same people with the same affiliation keep getting voted in, you’re very likely to get the same outcome. Keep considering this.

Black lives matter. They always have and they always will.

In closing, I want to read a post by a Facebook friend of mine named Danny. A couple of weeks ago he posted this and I absolutely loved it. I think you will, too.

Saying George Floyd was a criminal doesn’t help.

Blaming “White Privilege” doesn’t help.

Ignoring police violence doesn’t help.

Ignoring the crime rate in Black neighborhoods doesn’t help.

Dismissing the real fears of Black Americans doesn’t help.

Being violent while opposing violence doesn’t help.

Pretending there aren’t sadistic bullies who’ve somehow managed to get a badge doesn’t help.

Blaming all cops doesn’t help.

Standing by watching another cop abuse his authority while you say nothing doesn’t help.

Letting sociopathic, privileged white kids take over your peaceful protest and turn it into a violent riot doesn’t help.

Blaming Black people for the violence sociopathic, privileged white kids commit, doesn’t help.

Encouraging sociopathic, privileged white kids who are committing acts of violence that will get blamed on Black people doesn’t help. (Yes, I’m looking at you Liberal politicians)

There actually are a lot of both Black and white people who want to calmly discuss a solution but can’t amidst the shouting, violence, posturing, misdirection, name-calling and organized political drama that seems intentionally designed to prevent any sort of solution to be found and implemented. If every time you try to calmly talk about an issue you find yourself suddenly drowned out by people shouting political slogans, maybe the people shouting either are or are working for people whose goal is to maintain the violence and chaos because they are benefiting from it. Consider that they, in fact, are the enemy you need to battle first, before you’ll ever get close to a solution. And these slogan shouters come in both Blue and Red.

Thank, Danny. Yes, sometimes we have to cut through the many things that aren’t helping in order to get to the real issues and the lasting answers. Only then can we truly consider this.

Filed under: Coronavirus (COVID-19)MedicineRace Issues