The political climate that has stemmed from state mandated COVID-19 orders has threatened one particular civic liberty, i.e. the right to peaceful protest. Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer (D) made it abundantly clear in several press conferences that if protesters were accommodated and business operations resumed, the lives of at-risk citizens would be in peril. She also condemned protest gatherings themselves, claiming that these peaceful protests would spread the infection of novel coronavirus because protesters couldn't be trusted to abide by social distancing, nor wear protective facemasks. Whitmer wasn’t the only governor who condemned such protests.
In numerous states across the nation, protesters were ridiculed for their selfish actions, even though they had gathered to combat governor mandated orders that affected their lives, livelihood, and the welfare of their children. Yet officials ordered these business owners to cease and desist all operations on the grounds that the nature of their businesses are “non-essential”. Gathering—to protest or otherwise—increased the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus, we were told. This has been drilled into the American mind for the past two months at least. The message resonated with some citizens. With others, it only sounded like baseless rhetoric to shame protesters into silence. Either way, the message was clear to all of us, whether we joined in protesting these shutdowns or not—go against government orders and you’ll kill your fellow citizens.
However, last week all of the rules changed when an African-American resident of Minneapolis, MN was brutally killed during an arrest. His name was George Floyd and if you haven’t seen for yourself the manner in which he died during his arrest, its available to view online. I warn you, it isn’t easy to watch. The arresting officer acted far outside of police protocol, kneeled on the back of Floyd's neck for nine minutes as Floyd begged for his life—clearly conveying that he could not breathe—and ultimately killed him.
It was murder.
Was it premeditated? Was it racially motivated? Many have speculated and an investigation is pending. You may have already determined for yourself what this officer has done. I have. It isn’t good. What he did to George Floyd wasn’t within the scope of what a police officer is tasked to do while on duty making an arrest. But most importantly, I haven’t heard of a single person who agrees with the arresting officer's actions.
People are outraged, and rightfully so, both whites and blacks, and also people of all races. George Floyd, in terms of what video captured, wasn’t “resisting arrest” and he shouldn’t have had the life squeezed out of him even if he was. A tragedy of astronomical proportions occurred.
It was a clear case of police brutality. No one should excuse the officer who did this and as far as I know, no one has.
Yet a “protest effort” has arisen in response, and yes, I used quotes to describe it. There’s a reason for that.
Ordinarily, a protest, which is only legitimate if it’s peaceful and the organizers have obtained the proper permits, is an effort to combat the government when government officials have insisted their particular position is correct, justified, and by extension lawful. For example, Governor Whitmer of Michigan wholeheartedly believed in her shutdown mandates. Citizens disagreed and therefore protested. Whether or not you personally agreed, the dynamic between government and citizens was duked out via peaceful protesting. In the protests that took place in Michigan against Whitmer, the governor upheld her decisions and also condemned protesters for their actions. It was civil and it was also typical. Fine.
The response to George Floyd’s unjust murder has been a “protest” that defies the laws of civil disagreement, and worse, it has essentially inflamed a war. But it's a war against no one, because no one disagrees that George Floyd should not have been killed during his arrest. The city of Minneapolis agrees that Floyd should not have been killed. The state of Minnesota also agrees. Swift action has been taken to apprehend Floyd’s arresting officer, and also the officers who looked on and did nothing to save Floyd. These individuals who served on the Minneapolis PD will most likely go to prison. They’ll certainly be tried for their crimes in a court of law.
So, what exactly is the point of these so-called “protests”?
There are a lot of “points” and if those points were written in plain English, it would be difficult to disagree with them. Police brutality exists and it’s detrimental. There's a real need to end it. No one with a fully functioning heart can watch a video of a white police officer killing a black civilian and think little of it. There are several legislative actions that could and should be taken to prevent this kind of brutality in the future. Do you have a petition? I’ll sign it. I don’t know anyone—democratic, republican, or otherwise—who wouldn’t.
But the “protests” that have transpired over the course of the last week haven't been civil. They aren’t designed to enact legislative change. And worse, the message of these protesting groups has conflated one instance of police brutality with the overarching notion that systemic racism is alive, well, and working within our country. In short, the message these protesters have latched onto is stoking rage and fear in the hearts of Americans, and this rage and fear has become dangerous. It has directly resulted in criminal activity that is harming Americans, and ironically, black Americans.
The Black Lives Matter movement has a compelling message, one that I happen to feel deeply sympathetic to. Black Lives Matter is one organization that has risen up in “protest” against the murder of George Floyd, which is why I mention them. This organization has focused on many isolated incidents between police and citizens, all of which characterize police brutality as being solely racially motivated, and I listen when they center a new argument around another instance of presumed injustice between the police and black citizens.
Whether or not I agree with their political efforts on the whole—and for the record, in some instances I agree and in others I find their conflations to be unfounded and also wildly misleading—I will say that their participation, and also instigation, of these “protests” to be detrimentally counterproductive, if not criminal, and here’s why:
Black Lives Matter has been a destructive party contributing to the misery—and murder—of black lives, literally.
This organized movement isn’t the only political body that has contributed to, and instigated, the violent protests that have arisen in response to George Floyd’s murder. This must be said. The domestic terrorist group, Antifa—known formally as The Anti-Fascist Movement—has possibly been far more prominent. However, if Black Lives Matter willfully stands shoulder-to-shoulder with violent groups like Antifa, then they are consciously advocating the “methods for change” of these radical counterparts.
Let’s not pose rhetorical assertions to cover our bases. Anyone who has been watching the news knows that Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and any other “group” that has joined in these nationwide “protests” against the police brutality that caused George Floyd’s death hasn’t obtained the necessary permits to protest. Frankly, anyone who has a basic understanding of constitutional protesting knows that what’s been happening in the cities across our nation hasn’t been categorically constitutional.
There has been looting on a mass scale, violent rioting, arson, and murder—all in the name of avenging George Floyd’s unjust killing.
George Floyd has become another posterchild of police brutality against blacks. In my opinion, his name should be known within every household. But I also hold the opinion that the violence and destruction that has occurred against blacks in the wake of these so-called “protests” should also be discussed in every household...but it hasn't been. The media isn't covering it.
If Black Lives Matter truly believes that black lives matter, then why have so many black lives been taken during these protests? Why have the livelihoods of blacks been destroyed? Do black lives really matter? Or does only one posterchild matter and all other African-Americans who are destroyed in the wake of this movement deserve to suffer and die in silence?
I’m not being dramatic. Blacks and minorities have died as a result of the looting, rioting, and violence of these so-called protests. Bizarrely, white liberals who are outspoken in their support of Black Lives Matter have had bricks thrown through their windows.
What is the core message if anyone and everyone in support of this movement is also at risk of being attacked?
David Dorn, a 77 year old retired police captain of St. Louis, MO was fatally shot on the sidewalk as he attempted to defend a local pawn shop from “protesters” otherwise known as looters who were ransacking his city. There’s a cell phone video of his shooting and death available online. I chose not to include it in this article but you can find and watch it if you think you can stomach it.
Dorn had already served his city. He was retired. He could’ve stayed home. But he didn’t want to stand by as local businesses were destroyed in a perverse effort to avenge George Floyd’s death. Dorn was an African-American. Why didn’t his life matter to these "protesters"?
Another African-American, this time a female business owner of store in Brooklyn, NY, had her livelihood destroyed by looters who were part of the rioting that occurred in so-called protest of Floyd’s murder. “Do you know the problem that bothers me,” she shouted as she emotionally condemned these violent looters. “You said black lives matter. Why don’t you choke me? I’m black. Look what you did to my store. Look! Tell me black lives matter? You lied—you wanted to loot this store. You needed money. Get a job like I do! Stop stealing. This is the neighborhood. We trying to build it up and you tearing it down.”
Her black life, and livelihood, doesn’t matter?
Another woman of color, 19 year old Jasmine Kelly posted a sobbing, devastating video online after her sister, 22 year old Italia, was shot and killed by rioters. In a gut-wrenching online video, she addressed these violent “protesters”, shouting, “It wasn’t the police who shot my sister, it was one of y’all!”
If we take the full scope of the Black Lives Matter political agenda into consideration, what are we supposed to make of all this collateral—black---damage?
The Black Lives Matter movement has yet to address the black lives that have been taken as a result of these violent “protests”. I harbor little hope that Antifa will acknowledge the lives that have been taken either. What has been occurring in cities across the nation isn’t a movement, it’s a mess. One in which the message is outrageously overshadowed by individuals who believe, in their delusion, that George Floyd’s death means they’re entitled to free boxes of Nike's because they are, like Floyd, black.
In the twisted gutters of their demented minds police brutality equals white supremacy—we’ve yet to see the data proving this, by the way—and all of corporate American is in cahoots with white supremacists, therefore, loot Louis Vuitton! Get that flat screen TV from Target! White America hasn’t given it to you, so take it! Take it or else condone your own murder that will surely occur when one of these white cops gets their hands on you!
There’s no logic to this movement because it isn’t a movement. But alarmingly, it is organized. Groups such as Antifa have deposited stacks of bricks on certain street corners the night of protests, like they did in Dallas TX, so that anyone who shows up will have violent means to assault.
What's the point?
Pure anarchy? Black Lives Matter posted on its own website homepage that one of its objectives is to destroy police forces altogether. They don’t want the police to exist.
Okay… I might hear this objective out if their premise that all police are racially motivated to exterminate the black population could be substantiated with statistics in any way, shape, or form, but it can’t.
How about we petition to disband the police union, which has been the sole organization that has ensured immunity to cops no matter what they do while on the job? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? If police officers know that their every action has consequences which are punishable both civilly and criminally, wouldn’t they think twice before acting, before drawing their weapons on blacks and everyone else; wouldn’t they think about their own future before kneeling on the neck of a civilian and ending his life?
I would think so. But if police unions were obliterated, no one would be weirdly justified in stealing a brand-new pair of Nike’s, would they?
The only black lives that matter belong to those who are convinced they drew the short end of the stick, and everyone else owes them something because of it.