Minnesota has been ravaged by protestors over the last few day. People who have been disenfranchised for so long, and expected to remain complacent, that they finally reached their breaking point when (now former) Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin forcibly placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd, pressing down until George’s life left his eyes. Their anger is warranted. Their outrage is understandable. Their response is predictable.
Thursday night, around 10:30 local time, the protestors took aim at those who are truly responsible for the violence that is happening around their city, and broke into the police station, lighting several fires. The flames licked the night sky as several protestors stood around and watched as the symbol of these protests burned. Are acts of vandalism and looting acceptable in today’s world? No. Could they have been predicted? Yes.
Racial tensions in the country have been escalating in this country for years, due to police officers constantly getting away with murdering black men in the streets with no repercussions for their actions. After the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a former police officer, and the decision of the district attorney to not prosecute her friend, anger in this country was at it’s apex, waiting for some action to throw a match on the powder keg of indignation towards the system that continued to allow these actions. George Floyd was that match and these protests (no matter how violent) are the ensuing explosion.
Making matters worse, the response to these protests have been met with anger toward the wrong group of people. Politicians, Online pundits, and people continuing to live in their bubble of cognitive dissonance have pointed their anger at the protestors. They have taken their aim at the rage that is pouring out over the city, instead of the system that has cultivated that rage.
The President of the United States, the great arbiter of peace and rational thought he is, has continued to stoke the flames of dissension by referring to the protestors as THUGS, and threatening to send in the National Guard to murder American citizens who are rightfully upset about the blatant systemic racism in the country.
In attempts to silence the message being broadcast a news crew from CNN was confronted by the state police during the protests. Omar Jimenez was reporting about the increased police presence, and while they continued to broadcast live the anchor and members of his team were arrested even though he had news credentials, and was saying he and his team would go to an area of their approval. They were not given a reason on why they were being arrested at the time the arrest was being broadcast, violating multiple amendments including the 1st and the 4th.
Tensions in this country have reached levels of the early 90s when Rodney King was beaten by police in the streets and the officers responsible were acquitted, and the police apologists blame the protestors by utilizing the same language as the President. The tension is palpable and growing stronger with every moment. If it is not handled, and handled quickly, the murder of George Floyd will be the assassination of Archduke Frans Ferdinand of the 21st century: an event that will incorrectly be attributed to sparking a great war.
For those out there who are still pushing for peace, looking for unity. We are currently fighting a losing battle, a valiant one, but a losing one. The hope that we will pull through together in peace and forgiveness is seemingly a pipe dream, but hope is still there. In Minneapolis, once street artists finished a mural of George Floyd, a street full of protestors fell silent, dropped to their knee, and raised a fist in remembrance of the man who was known as a “Gentle Giant.” There is hope out there for those who are looking, but Dante wrote the words etched on the gates of Hell, “Abandon hope all ye who enter.”
If something isn’t done soon, we will all be entering Hell.