Friday, May 29, 2020

 I really, really don’t want to write about this.

 I know I’m out bad saying this, but writing about shenanigans going on in Washington, D.C., or Jackson has a detached quality. These are important issues that affect real people’s lives, but at the same time, it’s almost like writing about sports teams. I can be cold, detached, even flippant about what’s being done to folks mostly in the name of the all-mighty dollar. I can pretend I’m a combination of Will Rogers and Hunter Thompson, then pat myself on the back for being so clever.

 And it’s not even new. Like mass shootings, black people being murdered by the police who are then exculpated by the system (if it can) is as American as apple pie, baseball and cheating on your taxes. Whether it’s a drug bust gone stupid like with Breonna Taylor or a drunken cop in the wrong house like Botham Jean, this happens with such regularity you can almost set your watch by it. Philando Castile. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. John Crawford III. And if it’s not that, it’s some jabroni with a gun and a small dick thinking he’s Charles Bronson. Trayvon Martin. Ahmaud Arbery.

 And now, like with the police murder of Freddie Grey a few years back and Michael Brown before that, this has sparked off something, not just where the murder happened but across the country. Protests, and police brutality turning those protests into riots, while conservatives, moderates and “sensible liberals” use Martin Luther King as a cudgel to try to get black people to sit down, shut up, and don’t rock the boat.

 If it seems like I’m putting this off, I am. I don’t want to write about this. But it’s News. It’s Important. I guess I should count my blessings that I don’t have to do a Deep Dive. Anyhow.

As we’ve all seen and heard, Minnesota resident George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin this past Monday. Chauvin had arrested Floyd for trying to use a $20 bill at a grocery store and, claiming Floyd was resisting arrest, kneeled on his throat for over eight minutes while four other cops watched. Video of the incident contradicts claims that Floyd resisted arrest but did show Floyd exclaiming “I can’t breathe” several times, much like the murder of Eric Garner by chokehold from a New York City cop back in 2014.

 The four police officers were fired the next day. Apparently the Minneapolis PD is known for being particularly nasty to black residents and like the Brown incident, this was a long time in coming. All that was needed to start the fire was to the striking of the match, in other words.

 After protests kicked up, the FBI got involved and thanks to violent prodding by the police, the protests turned to riots which saw a local police station and two chain stores in the area pretty much wrecked. Chauvin was arrested this morning, and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, which is a “depraved-heart murder” in Minnesota. The district attorney said charges will likely be filed against the three cops who stood there and watched Chauvin murder Floyd.

 Along with the protests-turned-riots spurred on by police incitement and dirty deeds in Minneapolis, similar protests have popped us across the country. In Atlanta, the CNN building is getting wrecked while conservatives across the country splooge in their pants with the strongest orgasm they’ve had in years. Los Angeles, an old hand at police violence causing outrage, had protests and one in Louisville, which is where Breonna Taylor was murdered by police back in March, reignited with seven people shot during the conflict. No one knows who shot them, but video of protesters surrounding cop cars heard no gunshots and no cops were among the victims, so draw your own conclusions.

 Of course, as always happens during times like this, the conspiracy dingbats are out in full force. One particularly amusing one claims Floyd’s still alive, the whole thing was staged by the Deep State or George Soros in order to keep the shutdown due to the pandemic going or to make Trump look bad or all of the above. Apparently, Floyd and Chauvin worked at the same nightclub/restaurant for about a year, the former as a bouncer and the latter as security, but the owner doesn’t know if they knew each other or not. An interesting twist to be sure, but speaking as someone who’s worked in joints like that, it could very well all be a coincidence as much as having a deeper meaning.

 Another slightly more credible is that a gas mask-wearing, umbrella-toting individual smashing windows at a local AutoZone was actually a Saint Paul police officer trying to gin up a reason for the police to get even more brutal and violent against the people they’re supposed to protect. I should note the only reason it has slightly more credibility than the Deep State/George Soros nonsense is because the Saint Paul Police Department claimed their own investigation exculpated the officer in question from blame. Again, draw your own conclusions but I don’t believe they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

 So here we are. In the middle of a pandemic with a rising death count and completely mishandled by an incompetent, crooked executive branch given leeway by a spineless legislative branch, this is going on. We’re looking at what meteorologists are calling a booger of a hurricane season even in good conditions, and this is going on. People who called Colin Kaepernick a son of a bitch for kneeling are now condemning black anger at a culture that proves he was right. And the same people who are less concerned with the fact that police and white vigilantes continue to get away with murdering people with impunity and the legal system might slap them on the wrist. Occasionally, a Judas goat like Chauvin or those clowns in Georgia will likely catch all the shit to be while killers like Dylan Roof and Patrick Crusius are treated with kid gloves. Then they act surprised that black people don’t appreciate them when the whole thing starts again.

 And despite everything, we’re foursquare in the “blame the victim” chapter of the story, as a local coroner is trying to claim “intoxicants” that “might” have been in Floyd’s system contributed to his death instead of, you know, the cop kneeling on his carotid artery for almost 10 minutes. Once Chauvin is thrown to the lions – whether he’s even prosecuted or convicted before it all washes out – conservatives, moderates and “sensible liberals” will tut-tut the poor behavior of black people who just don’t appreciate the essential decency of the white man’s culture.

 “What would Martin Luther King say?” they bleat. Well, maybe instead of saying that African Americans have failed to live up to his legacy that you so easily misunderstand and use as a shield against righteous anger of a people still expected to kiss the boot that stomps on their neck, maybe he’d be more upset that white folks haven’t kept up our end of the bargain for the past 50 years. Maybe he’d say this sort of thing – cops murdering black people just because and the people’s anger catching spark in a hot summer – keeps happening because we white folks really don’t care if it stops or not.

 Or maybe he’d say something like stop pretending what happened almost half a century ago means what’s happening right now, almost every day, isn’t a cause to at least stop and wonder just what’s wrong with our society. Me, I don’t know. The one thing I do know from all of this is that white people really should stop trying to speak for Dr. King while trying to tell black people to sit down, shut up and appreciate that we even let them live as much as they do.

 This is on us, my fellow honkies. This is all on us. We can make it stop happening if we really want to. The question is whether we really do or not, and I got to tell you, neighbors, I’m not sanguine.

 

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