If you want to know why people riot, watch this video (Opinion)
I think the American black community is in a real Catch-22. Catch-22 was the novel by Joseph Heller that coined the phrase used more broadly to mean a problem for which there’s a no good solution. A no-win situation.
If a handcuffed, unarmed black man is killed needlessly by the police and the black community peacefully protests, nothing changes. If a handcuffed, unarmed black man is killed needlessly by the police and the black community erupts in anger and violence, THAT becomes the story and all the talk is about the senselessness of burning down your own community.
To the people who are talking more about this than you are about George Floyd, I have a question for you and an idea for you.
Have you ever gotten so mad at a situation, so angry about a spouse cheating on you or some huge unfairness happening on your job, that you slammed a door, pounded your fist on your dashboard, or maybe even broke something you owned or put a fist through your own wall in disgust? See the episode of Atypical when Doug reacts to Elsa’s cheating on him for example. Doesn’t make much sense to punch your own wall, does it? But that’s just how goddamn angry you are.
What’s happening across our country is the societal version of the same thing. I’m not saying it makes sense. I’m certainly not saying it’s right nor am I saying it’s acceptable. I’m saying if you don’t understand from where the anger is coming you can’t speak thoughtfully on the matter.
An idea to help you understand this anger?
Watch this video. Not just a minute or two. Watch the whole thing. And please watch it three times.
Note: This video contains profanity and violence but is being posted due to significant social importance
First, remember that George Floyd was already down on the ground, unarmed, with his arms handcuffed behind his back. Watch it all the way through focusing only on George Floyd. Look only at his face. Hear his strain as he tells the officers he’s in trouble. Watch him go limp. Watch him become unresponsive. You’re seeing a man die. Keep watching, only his face, all the way to the end, and note how that knee never stops compressing his neck until the EMTs are ready to throw his limp body onto a gurney.
Now watch it again and pay attention only to the bystanders who are begging with the police to let George Floyd breathe. No one is begging to release him from custody. Just let him breathe. These bystanders, while coarse in language, are clearly understanding what is happening to Floyd and they are desperately explaining it to the cops. They are telling them that they are killing this man.
Now watch a third time and look only at Derek Chauvin, the officer whose knee remains compressing Floyd’s neck continuously. Watch his face as bystanders are imploring him to let this man live.
He. Indifferently. Never. Listens.
Not only does he not listen, he doesn’t even acknowledge them in any real way.
This serves as a microcosm for what black America must have felt for so long now. They aren’t being heard, they aren’t being acknowledged. No one listens. The rage builds.
There have been many incidents labeled as police brutality in which I side with the police. However there are plenty of others where you cannot with good conscience see it as anything but wrong. The Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina was one of these. That cop was sentenced to 20 years and justifiably so. This case is another.
What happened in Minnesota was not a split second decision where an officer got it wrong in good faith. It was not the tragic byproduct of law enforcement doing a difficult job. What happened to George Floyd was a crime and that crime was murder.
If you want to know why riots are happening, watch the damn video. If you’re not angry when you’re done then you’re part of the problem.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.