It shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After months of being cooped up due to the coronavirus, many in this country are frustrated, scared and angry.
When the video of George Floyd hit the Internet, it ignited a powder keg.
The result was protests in cities across the country.
Some of the protests turned to riots as people became destructive and violent. Blame, accusations and old wounds came to the surface.
Protests are protected speech in this country, and have been effective in the past in promoting change. However, morality is not a sliding scale based on one’s level of outrage.
Stealing, arson, assault and vandalism are either wrong or they are not.
There is no excuse for creating more victims. Rioting only hurts causes and tarnishes the message protestors are trying to convey.
There are plenty of conspiracy theories as to who did what and why, but ultimately they are muddying the issue. In a world so sharply divided every issue becomes a political fight. It’s hard to sift through the noise.
The key point of the protests and the deplorable treatment of George Floyd is much more simple than the politicians, the pundits and the talking heads on TV are making it out to be.
The primary lesson should be in how we treat each other as humans.
Whether it’s bigotry, abuse of power or a combination of both, the lesson should be that we should all look inside ourselves to see what we can do to be more kind to our fellow man.
Are we treating people with the respect and dignity they deserve as members of the human race? Only each individual can answer that for himself or herself with honest reflection.
Sometimes in rural settings people feel isolated from the issues of the larger world. These issues do affect this region, even if they are not as apparent.
When incidents like what happened to George Floyd occur, it sets us all back. It erodes trust between law enforcement and the community it is supposed to protect and serve.
Police officers are held to a higher standard, as they should be. They hold a position of public trust, and as illustrated by the Floyd case, often have people’s lives in their hands.
Cops have a tough job. Day after day they deal with people who are in crisis — people having the worst days of their lives. Sometimes uncooperative suspects make it harder for cops to do their jobs and force is needed.
Even a routine traffic stop can be dangerous for officers. Officers are called upon to deal with death, destruction and negativity as a matter of course.
As difficult and frustrating as law enforcement can be as a career, there can be no excuse nor should there be tolerance for those who abuse power. When virtually everyone has the means to film video and post it online, law enforcement’s obligation to be above reproach has been magnified and perhaps rightly so.