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. 

(1) comment


If the culture of law enforcement has become so problematically entrenched, and the command structure unable or unwilling to fix the problem even after Ferguson, and the many, many egregious abuses of authority since, it falls to the public to insist on addressing these intractable problems, whether be wielding the power of the vote, or insisting their leaders exercise their authority in the pursuit of accountability and justice.

Obviously that hasn't happened. In fact, the public is so insistent on pretending that the status quo is just dandy that attempts to draw their attention and inspire some sympathy are meet with public rebuke. We didn't listen when protesters were politely taking a knee, we threatened go boycott the NFL instead.

If there's a justification for rioting, it's this; it is an act of again towards the public at large for failing to address a critical social problem; if anything's going to change, we need to get the public's attention first. And before you scoff at me for legitimizing rioting, ask yourself; where would I be if the government were coming to take my guns and those of my neighbors? Targeting and killing my friends and family members? If Mormons were being persecuted again, how would we respond? What would you do if the government was using law enforcement to take control of the production of goods in this country?

The protests, and even some destruction of property, aren't legitimized by the acts of the protesters, but the inaction of the public. The continuing problem of public sentiments that make such abuses possible is proudly displayed on social media, and to some extent even in statements by newspaper editors that decry public acts made necessary by the public's inaction.

All lives matter, but it makes sense to triage, and pay most attention to those who need our attention the most. As for law enforcement, Utah just raised the retirement for LEOs and correction officers to 25 years, when already being underpaid for the job they do, that 20 year retirement was at least the light they could see coming on dark days during their career. If you care about them, demand our elected leaders correct this. Otherwise, you're not really supporting police, you're using them to avoid supporting someone else. That's how problems persist. Do better. Please.

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