George Floyd is dead, and that is an unmitigated tragedy all by itself before anything else happened. All four officers involved were sacked immediately pending investigation, and the alleged murderer was eventually arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter. It's expected the others will face trial on criminal charges as well.
Absolutely no one on any side of politics, at any level of government, or in any law enforcement agency or their trade unions has come out and tried to contextualise or minimalise the evil brutality of the murderer. There is "systemic" condemnation, not tolerance, of this crime.
The public response on the streets of first Minneapolis and then most other major American cities defies hyperbole in the sheer scale, ferocity and irrationality. Buildings were burned to the ground, with accounts of some being lit while occupied and emergency services actually blocked from attending. Major retailers like Target have been looted and pillaged. Small business owners have been videoed as they were "kerb stomped" for trying to protect their livelihoods – kicked and beaten on the ground with repeated blows to the head and vital organs until their limp, bloodied bodies could offer no defence while the sociopathic violence continued without mercy.
Police officers who had done absolutely nothing wrong other than risk their lives in defence of innocents and pursuit of justice have given their lives to the senseless violence of those allegedly protesting violence and injustice. The video of George Floyd makes me angry, but the video of David Dorn, 77, retired police officer dying in the street makes me weep. This was no less brutal and cold-blooded an execution.
Such injustice demands outrage and sober intervention.
Yet while no one has defended the brutality of the cop charged with murder, many are rationalising & minimising the brutality of the ensuing protests. Hollywood celebrities have even generously donated to bail arrested rioters out of jail as if supporting their cause.
What's going on? I can tell you exactly.
A demagogue is a political leader who seeks support by manipulating the baser instincts, the prejudices of ordinary people rather than by offering rational arguments. There is a popular narrative propagated by grievance activists, nurtured by mainstream media and exploited by far too many career politicians for their own power.
These devils on our shoulder have been whispering in society's ear for decades that the freest, most inclusive and racially harmonious nation in the world is actually a seething bed of racism. It was founded in racism. It was built on racism. It prospered and is propelled by racism. Like the serpent sowing seeds of doubt in the Garden of Eden, they incessantly suggest the whole game is rigged to oppress them and keep them under control.
Everything which is less than ideal is because of racism. Everyone who doesn't look like them is a racist. Everyone who looks like them but disagrees with them is suffering internalised racism. Everyone who denies they're a racist is proving they're a racist and everyone who deferentially apologises for being a racist is a recovering racist. You're a racist.
The tragedy is with each new brick society allows in this towering wall of inpenetrable incoherence, many have shut out the ability to reason objectively. They can't see that there is no evidence of racism in the murder of George Floyd, and even saying that irrationally outrages them.
The officer who brutalised Mr Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has a record of 18 complaints against him. One case resulted in a reprimand, one case is pending. That 16 cases were dismissed suggests a broken system, one made harder for police chiefs to discipline by police unions protecting their members. It is evidence of police brutality, but not evidence of racism.
Data don't have feelings, but can explain a lot.
In the United States of America, African-Americans comprise 13% of the population, yet account for 39% of the violent crimes and 51% of the murders committed. They are over-represented in their encounters with police, the kind of encounters where police are more likely to need to use force to arrest the suspect.
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