Karla's Kolumn: Finding a better way
June 4, 2020
People are scared. People are tired. People are frustrated and angry.
All of those emotions are spilling into the streets across the country, under the guise of demonstrating and protesting the death of George Floyd
According to the Associated Press, George Floyd, 46, died last Monday, May 25, after he was arrested in Minneapolis, accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store.
A white officer, Derek Chauvin, and three other officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday. Chauvin was charged with murder on Friday. Reports said he knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes.
Peaceful protests began shortly after the death to protest police brutality and racial injustice, both worthy of protesting.
The peaceful protestors are the ones with the message that what happened to Floyd is inexcusable. The looters, roiters, vandals, have no message. We see looters and vandals after NBA, MLB and Super Bowl championships. Be honest the pictures are the same, except instead of celebrating, last week and this week people taking to the streets are angry and fed up about a lot of things.
You see when you are looting and vandalizing some of the same people who you are supposedly protesting for, then that message is lost. You can't say you are for equal justice and against police brutality while walking up to a cop and shooting him in the back of the head (Las Vegas this week), you can not say you protest racial injustice while burning down and destroying an African American firefighter's new bar he was set to open for the first time (Minnesota). You can't say you are for protecting life when you block fire trucks responding to a structure fire with a child inside (Richmond, Virginia).
Our founding fathers in writing our Constitution provided a way for us to share our grievances peacefully. The First Amendment states ... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people PEACEABLY to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." (Emphasis is added.)
The Constitution does not give us a right to loot private businesses, destroy private businesses, burn buildings and homes and doing such does not further any cause unless that cause is to further divide this country.
You see what is happening in our country, the hate, the frustration, the anger, it is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It is not because of one president or another because there have been riots, police brutality and racial injustice since this country was founded.
No, that does not make any of those issues right, but you can not blame one person or one organization for what is occurring in our country.
African Americans, Native Americans and others feel attacked in this country just because of the color of their skin, Christians feel attacked because of their beliefs, women feel attacked because of their gender, and with COVID-19 there is additional groups feeling attacked - people who don't wear masks feel attacked, people who wear masks are feeling attacked, businesses who have had to close and may never open again feel attacked.
All the anger that these groups are feeling and some have been feeling for years is boiling over and Floyd's death seems to have been the match that lit the powder keg.
Where we go and grow from here I do not know, I do know I do not want to lose the freedoms that so many have fought for from the beginning of our nation.
Where do we turn for guidance and leadership? Unfortunately, calm, clear, rational leadership has been lacking from the White House and in D.C. through this, and is lacking from those who would seek to reside in the White House.
I have found in my research, two profound statements in which I would hope could provide some guidance.
Tiger Woods tweeted this week, "My heart goes out to George Floyd, his loved ones and all of us who are hurting right now. I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement. They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line.
"I remember the LA riots and learned that education is the best path forward. We can make our points without burning the very neighborhoods that we live in.
"I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society."
But perhaps the best guidance and leadership came from someone closest to the powder keg - George Floyd's brother, Terrence.
According to the Associated Press, in a statement this week Terrence Floyd said, "I understand y'all are upset. I doubt y'all are half as upset as I am. So if I'm not over here blowing up stuff, if I'm not over here messing up my community, then what are y'all doing? What are y'all doing? Y'all doing nothing. Because that's not going to bring my brother back at all.
"In every case of police brutality, the same thing has been happening. Y'all protest, y'all destroy stuff. ... Let's do this another way," he said, encouraging the crowd to vote and to educate themselves. "Let's switch it up, y'all."
Terrence is right, we have to find a better way - a better way than destroying our country neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.
Our country is only 244 years old. We have come a long way, but, sadly, we still have a long way to go.