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Almost everyone has seen the horrific video of George Floyd’s last moments when his life was taken from him. A Minneapolis police officer used excessive force that resulted in a man’s death. I do not know anyone who isn’t disgusted at what happened and who doesn’t want justice to be served.
In that regard, everyone is on the same page regardless of their skin color despite whatever the talking heads on cable tell you. But after a week of protests, where many have turned into riots with full blown looting, there are questions we should be asking. I’m not talking about the questions surrounding what happened to George Floyd, those questions will be answered as the investigations continue and the wheels of justice turn. Regardless of the crime or even when there is no doubt that a crime has been committed, every American is entitled to certain rights afforded to them by the US Constitution. It is not just the way our legal system works; this stuff lies at the very heart of our republic.
That process is now underway but many are asking why did they wait four days to charge him? Why didn’t they hold the officer until charges were filed? Filing charges against a police officer are a little different than filing charges against a private citizen. In Hennepin County, it can take anywhere from eight months to a year to file charges against a police officer but justice is being served even if it’s not as fast as some would like and that’s a good thing because cool heads need to prevail and people cannot walk free on a technicality.
During a time when emotions and tensions are already high following the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, it is even more important to take a breath, remember what the issue is and not get distracted or sidetracked into fighting for someone else’s cause.
Sadly, that’s what’s happening.
Peaceful protests are one of the hallmarks of America. It’s how we have affected change and righted wrongs but protesting is not the same as rioting and looting. Not even close. One is a right while the other is a crime, stop trying to conflate the two. Protesting is not synonymous with rioting.
Racism and segregation aren’t systemic in America unless you’re talking about the Democrat’s need to reduce everyone to their race, gender or sexual orientation and pit us against each other. That’s the true rampant systemic racism in America.
What happened to George Floyd was nothing short of a tragedy and should never happen again but the actions of one man does not define every law enforcement officer. Isn’t painting with such a broad brush its own form of “racism”?
Also, not every protester is a rioter and/or looter. While there are numerous peaceful protests there are also those who are using this to either further their own race dividing narrative or their own personal agenda.
There will always be those who see suffering as an opportunity to advance a cause and we need to be vigilant to those individuals who are more than happy to stand on the backs of the downtrodden to prop themselves up.
Rioting does not add any credibility to anyone’s cause. It does, in fact, take away from it and only spawns more violence, distrust and division in its wake.
Racism, hatred or whatever you choose to call it isn’t a quality we are born with, it’s something we are taught. Because the truth is all law enforcement officers aren’t racist, that’s someone else’s lie they want you to believe is truth. These are the same people who only want to use George Floyd’s death as another opportunity to create further division instead of using his memory to effect changes for the better and bring us closer together.
The Stonewall riots began in 1969, also during a time of high emotion and civil unrest, when the gay community was actively targeted by members of the police when all we wanted was to be left alone, treated equally and given the same opportunity as everyone else.
It’s been over 50 years since those riots and those same outside groups are still trying to sow seeds of discontent not just within our community but with other “marginalized communities”. In other words, actively looking to cause discord among the rest of the country.
Before going off on systemic racism and labeling those who disagree with you oppressors, all you have to do is look just below the surface and realize that self-imposed segregation is still segregation and that coming together is not achieved by drifting apart.
We are so much more than the sum of our parts.
Allan Giberti is the host of RI Red Radio on 990WBOB.com. You can listen to Allan live on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7pm Eastern.
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