It is no longer possible to sit on the sidelines.
There is an obvious and organized effort to tip the country away from being a Democratic Republic as defined in the Constitution and which has, up until now, shaped and defined a nation of laws, not of people or groups, and that effort requires that everyone stand up so we can sort it out.
We ALL must use the First Amendment remembering that peaceful assembly is key.
But the right to speak your mind and to peacefully assemble and to seek redress does not go in only one direction either and we must be mutually respectful. But silence, or just going about our business, is becoming less and less of an option.
“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
We watched the rioters and looters have near free reign in our nation for weeks. Things have calmed recently only because the easy targets have been pillaged and burnt to the ground. And the jig is up as it became clearer who the instigators were. But in the meantime the neo-royal modern day Neros watched their cities burn as they cowered in fear of doing the wrong thing or making the radicals angry. THOUSANDS of businesses have been ruined. Billions of $ lost. Thousands injured. Dozens killed. And hundreds of thousands of lives forever changed.
In all that Mr. George Floyd was lost. Any meaningful discussion of bias in Policing was lost. It descended into localized areas of mob rule.
For those who value America and what it stands for, it is time to speak up and get in the game. There are no problems that we can't solve if we talk to each other. But when the bricks fly and the loss of order results in tear gas and flash bangs, and when the innocent are hurt or killed, we aren't making progress.
I will be taking on various topical matter on this commentary page.
I will stick to the facts as I know them or can find them out.
The intention here is to keep the information and dialog going and simply to resist being shouted down.
It is necessary.
Regarding the Police and the Killing of George Floyd
I am biased toward the Police. I am unapologetic about it. The question is, why aren’t you?
I am a “thin blue line” supporter and I think all people should be. Full stop.
If you think we don’t need the police then you are likely part of the mob and selectively ignoring reality. Seriously.
Consider this... every year people commit tens of millions of crimes in America.
Here is the data from the Department of Justice: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/cv18pr.pdf
One pull quote from the report above: The total number of violent victimizations (that is, the total number of times that people were victims of violent crime) increased from 5,007,000 victimizations of U.S. residents age 12 or older in 2015 to 6,386,000 victimizations in 2018. Across that period, the rate of violent victimizations increased from 18.6 to 23.2 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. Excluding simple assault, the rate of violent victimizations increased from 6.8 to 8.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older.
In case you missed it... there were more than SIX MILLION VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMS in America in 2018!!!
We don’t need the Police? Really!?!?
Some will say... OK, we need the Police but they just do a bad job.
If you really think that, then apply for the job, or lacking the cajones for that, try at least educating yourself.
But vilifying the police from the peanut gallery or swallowing whole a dogma unexamined is wrong and dangerous. The Police deserve our respect and support, and the data shows that.
Think about their job for a moment and then ask how you might do it better?
Have YOU ever been confronted by someone intent on killing you or someone else? Ever had to use lethal force? Do YOU think there is no reason to ever use lethal force? Ever has someone come at you with serious intent... with a bat?
Ever been in a hand-to-hand fight, for real?
Do YOU want to take the call at 2am and walk into a group of people all of whom are making bad choices and make sense of it all while protecting yourself and everyone else according to the rules of judging a “reasonable” threat?
Do YOU want to pull over that car at midnight and approach it having no idea who or what is inside?
And those are the easy ones!
Try showing up cold to a scene where ALL you know is that there is a report of shots fired! How do YOU assess, decide, and act, and do so in split seconds? Would YOU be able to?
How about being the officer first on scene where someone is bent on suicide by any method, including using YOU, the officer, to do it.
How are YOU going to handle it?
The police do an incredibly hard and an incredibly dangerous job every single day. They show up to help those who need it. No questions. Get the call and go. Thank God!
Can things be better? Of course and always. That is the concept of continual improvement... and the Police are the first group wanting to work across the board to make it better!
But the data doesn’t reveal racism among the Police. What the data does reveal is an unbelievably high level of professionalism, skill and restraint exercised by the Police in the millions and millions of interactions they have with citizens every year across this country, and they should be thanked, not spat upon or have bricks thrown at them.
Finally, since it is obvious we cannot have a society without Law Enforcement, you must ask seriously what the motivation is on the part of those seriously suggesting we defund the Police?
We should all think about that and not allow ourselves to be used while we try to solve the matters at hand.
Now that the air is clear on my view of the Police.....
What happened to Mr. George Floyd?
Mr. Floyd was killed in plain sight, slowly. It was not an accident!
It appears to have been done with reckless disregard for whether he died or not.
The officers may not have planned to kill him but kill him they did and at some point, they had to know what was happening.
How did George Floyd die? He was held down, face down, helpless, with his hands cuffed behind his back, and suffered for about 5 and half minutes, until he could no longer supply oxygen to his heart and brain both from the compression of his airway and the arteries in his neck by the weight of officer Chauvin kneeling on his neck, and by the inhibition of the functioning of his diaphragm, which can happen in the face down hands behind the back position, especially with the weight of a second officer on his back. These were sufficient to cause unconsciousness and death, and may have also caused a heart attack. These are the conclusions from the autopsies.
How did this happen? There were plenty of opportunities for it to NOT turn out as it did. Never the less, Mr. Floyd ended up hand cuffed behind his back, on the ground, and face down on the traffic side of the police car. The complaint filed upon charging the officers says in part that at 8:19:38 officer Chauvin took a kneeling position on Mr. Floyd’s neck and two other officers took positions on Mr. Floyd’s back and legs. Three officers to “restrain” a man on the ground, face down and already cuffed. At 8:24:24 Mr. Floyd stopped moving. Sometime after that, officer Kueng checked for a wrist pulse on Mr. Floyd and stated that he could not find one. At 8:27:31, fully 3 minutes after Mr. Floyd stopped moving and was unconscious, or, most likely, already dead, and fully 1 minute after the ambulance had arrived and an EMT had checked for a pulse on Mr. Floyd’s neck and a gurney had been un-urgently removed from the ambulance and placed next to Mr. Floyd, and only then, did officer Chauvin stop kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck. During all this time, no aid was provided to Mr. Floyd and no effort to resuscitate Mr. Floyd was made.
Basic first aid makes clear that when breathing and/or pulse has stopped, seconds count. Yet minutes went by and nothing was done. Then, upon the decision to transport Mr. Floyd by ambulance, basic care standards would not have resulted in how Mr. Floyd was then flopped over onto his back without the support of his head which sickeningly lolled to one side, and onto his still cuffed hands (try that for fun), to be loaded onto the gurney and then into the ambulance. During which, again, no effort was made to assess Mr. Floyd’s condition or to help him, not even to un-cuff him. And it was likely that by this time, he was already dead and the officers and the EMTs knew it, or should have known it.
It is simply horrifying that something like this can happen in America in 2020 regardless of the race, ethnicities, or positions of the people involved.
So Mr. Floyd likely died on the street at the hands of the officers who swore to protect him. And we note that bystanders took video but no action to stop the officers, after all, who do you call when the police are already there and perpetrating the crime?
Though one might ask, if you were witness to the apparent killing of a defenseless person by anyone, including the Police, would you, could you, should you, just watch? How do you know what to do and when? This is a complicated question, but it must be asked.
What recourse do citizens have in that scenario? What action should they take? While the Police have protections from their actions, what protections might a citizen have should they act in good faith to try to protect another person, even against the Police? What if they do act? I like to think that there are still citizens, perhaps of a certain age and untethered to their cell phones, who can still see reality, and who would have taken a run at those officers to stop them from killing George Floyd, and willing to live with the consequences.
But that was not done, and after Mr. Floyd was in the ambulance and as the autopsy notes state, the EMTs never had a pulse on Mr. Floyd while in the ambulance. Whether they had a pulse on George Floyd when the EMT arriving on the scene walked up and momentarily held two figures to his neck, as he still lay under officer Chauvin’s knee, is unknown at this time. All we know is that the notes claim the ambulance team had a flat line in the ambulance and they, and then the team at the hospital, made efforts to revive Mr. Floyd for approximately 1 hour, as Mr. Floyd was not pronounced dead at the hospital until about 9:25.
The officers who arrested and restrained Mr. Floyd, have now been fired, arrested themselves and charged.
And they should be prosecuted to the extent the law allows.
Matt Webb - CEO Brass Cannon Brewing