Politics


George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Coronavirus, a dog, birds, the NFL and systemic racism, ignorance and power abuse

18 min read

Note from me: We are running the gamut in this one. I purposely didn't mention the defendant's names. They don't deserve it. I also didn't mention every past murder because there are too many of them. I've wanted to wrap this up, and it seems like every few days, more unarmed black people keep getting killed by white people.

The inundation of bad news has been relentless lately. First, Coronavirus is unleashed. The earliest cases seemed to have occurred in August in China. It was already in France by the end of December[1]. Only no one knew what it was back then. The rest of the world would have known something was spreading earlier and could have contained it better if China had shared more information. January of next year is quite a long way from August. No one is warned because China keeps it to themselves so they can stockpile medical supplies. Classy. Being selfish was stupid here. They didn't have all the facts, but some facts are better than none. If they had told other countries, they probably would have still been able to stockpile supplies. Most countries wouldn't keep things they might not need if they can make money on them, although they might have driven up the price. But we knew who to blame. Those filthy Chinese and the way they eat. It came from the wet markets, those savages. They indeed sell many exotic and endangered animals there, and that needs to stop. But to call the way they eat barbaric is absurd and racist. You wouldn't say that about people who cook up roadkill, probably because they're white. They also tested the animals at the market and confirmed the virus did not originate there[2]. They think it started rapidly spreading there because of all the people densely gathered.

People across the world were put into lockdowns and rightfully so. I haven't done much since the lockdown. I only leave for the chiropractor and groceries. I don't want the virus, and I don't want to spread it to anyone else. Of course, not everyone has the same luxury to work from home that I do. Other people were pretty busy right before the nationwide lockdown. Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia. Based on what has been reported, if Arbery had been white, he would still be alive today. The people who killed him were racist, and we know that because they called him the n-word when they stood over his dead body. Classy.

Arbery indeed liked to visit homes under construction. There is video evidence of that. But he never does anything illegal in them. Based on the fact that he wanted to become an electrician, I assume he was interested in construction. He probably went there to envision how he would wire the home during a break from jogging. Sadly, he'll never get a chance to wire a house. Because to everyone else, all they saw was a black man in an all-white neighborhood. He was clearly up to no good, and he didn't belong there. The fact that there were previous thefts and trespassing in the area only added fuel to the fire. The only thing more despicable than being gun down while jogging in broad daylight is not having anything happen to the people who did it to you.

While there are some well-run police stations, most are filled with a litany of corruption. Glynn County Police Department is no different. The department had "been accused of covering up allegations of misconduct, tampering with a crime scene, interfering in an investigation of a police shooting and retaliating against fellow officers who cooperated with outside investigators." The new chief of police, brought in to clean up the place, was indicted on charges arising from an alleged cover-up of a sexual relationship between an officer and an informant, only days after the Aubrey murder. It's not hard to imagine why a new chief would think he'd be able to get away with this. All the others did before him. That's why he's there now. Instead of fixing it, he'll just add to it and get away with it. To make matters worse, Arbery's murder suspect had previously worked as an investigator in the district attorney's office. Naturally, when he was about to be arrested, the district attorney prevented it. Classy. This sends a terrible message to society. Justice is blind, and if you have friends in high places, you can get away with anything. It took 74 days, only because of a leaked video and public outrage until he and his son were finally arrested. That is a joke. If that's not an abuse of power, I don't know what is. But there's been worse. I just finished watching Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich on Netflix. But there's not enough time to write about that juicy story here. The Arbery case has been shuffled around so much at this point. The FBI is even involved. I'm just hoping the trial will be fair and just.

Although law enforcement officials did the cover-up, the murder wasn't. But we, sadly, have plenty of those too. In a failed no-knock warrant raid gone bad, Breonna Taylor was shot eight times in March. Her boyfriend, who shot first in self-defense because he thought they were intruders, is somehow still alive. That's because the police fired a whopping 20 rounds, often blindly from outside. Are you even trying to do your job correctly at that point? I often wonder how many shots an officer thinks they need to fire. It always seems like they empty their whole round when they fire. Firing eight shots into an unarmed woman is quite extreme, no matter the circumstances leading up to it. You guessed it. Nobody was held accountable for that either. That was until Beyonce wrote an open letter. Now the officer who fired blindly is in the process of being fired. I say process because he may not actually be fired. Sigh. The police chief announced his retirement due to mounting criticism, but he ended up being fired when a black man was killed during the George Floyd protests.

And now we get to George Floyd. During the Coronavirus lockdown in May, a man named George Floyd went to purchase cigarettes at a local grocery store. I'm sure he thought it was going to be just another typical day. He tried to pay with a 20 dollar bill, but the clerk said it was obvious it was counterfeit. You know the rest. Losing your life over a fake twenty-dollar bill when there's no guarantee he knew it was fake and he wasn't resisting arrest is hard to swallow. It's especially sad when you're choked out similarly to the way Eric Garner died in 2014. There's something about the phrase "I can't breathe" cops don't seem to understand. And that's odd because it's not a complicated phrase. If you don't know what that means, you probably shouldn't be a cop. There's something about taking down a big black man that white cops seem to enjoy. It's like David vs. Goliath to them. I liken it to those hunters who go to Africa and kill a lion and think they're all macho because they shot a lion with a gun from afar. You aren't. Taking down a guy from behind with a chokehold when he isn't resisting or putting your knee to his throat when he's on the ground isn't macho either. Especially when it's for almost nine minutes, it's inhumane. I became a vegetarian about two years ago, and it saddens me to read all these stories about these farmers who need to kill their pigs. I often think about animal rights. But we're far from having rights for animals when most people don't even have basic rights.

What's even more troubling is the officer who had the knee on Floyd's back had at 18 different complaints filed against him. Asking the obvious question, why is he still a police officer? The simple answer is because of police immunity and police unions. Even if you are terrible at your job, you can't be fired because a quarter of police officers that are fired end up back on the force through appeal. That's a significant problem. It's part of the reason these police stations are so racist and corrupt. There have been so many shootings at this point, but I believe one occurred at a stop sign a few years back was also by a cop that had been previously fired or had complaints. Think of what other jobs you still be allowed to do with that many complaints filed against you. Pretty much none. It's also troubling the three other cops did nothing to stop him.

Another issue was the two of them knew each other. Floyd and the officer used to be bouncers at the same bar, where they butted heads quite frequently. It's possible he hated him enough that he wanted to kill him. He probably didn't set out to kill him, but I'm sure he wanted to inflict his revenge on everything over the years as much as possible. That's why he didn't care if he couldn't breathe.

We learned from the autopsy Floyd also had Coronavirus in his system. He was the embodiment of the triple whammy felt by most African Americans in the United States right now. He got the virus, got laid off because of the virus, and then was killed by law enforcement while not resisting arrest. Welcome to being black in America. You won't enjoy your stay. If one thing doesn't kill you, another one will.

Speaking of black people who couldn't breathe, Derrick Scott was another who was killed in roughly the same manner. The Oklahoma City Police Department finally released the footage a year after his death at the behest of Black Lives Matter. Scott stated several times that he was having problems breathing and even said he had asthma. The cops just replied with, "I don't care." Classy. At one point, the female officer even said he's acting like he's unconscious. People don't act unconscious lady. He was unconscious. He later died of a collapsed lung. Of course, it was reviewed by the district attorney, and they stated the officers did nothing wrong. If someone dies being arrested, you did do something wrong. In the officers' defense, Scott was running away from them with a gun. They also had paramedics check on him afterward. This wasn't one of the worst ones, but to say the officers did nothing wrong is just plain stupid.

Then came the protests and rightfully so. They were made more powerful because people were supposed to stay home and practice social distance. But nuts to that. We have bigger fish to fry. That's what made the protests an even bigger deal than usual. People have grown weary and anxious from being cooped up. Not to mention there's only so many of these horrific events you can take over the years. Over the years, the outrage from these types of incidents had finally reached their tipping point with these latest additions. People needed a release from their frustrations and anger.

Some of the police's response to the protests was more police brutality. Apparently, some of them don't understand what the protests are signifying. Doing more of the thing people are accusing you of doing is just not smart. Not to mention, most of them are armed to the teeth in military equipment. They look like they are going to war. These are citizens who pay your salary who are unarmed and just walking around with signs chanting. Yes, there's been some looting, but it's been a tiny percentage. The police station that burned in Minnesota got what it deserved.

Two cops in Buffalo pushed a 75-year-old man to the ground who started bleeding from his head. The shove wasn't that hard, but it was still significant, especially when dealing with an older man. Then one of them appeared to crouch over him and taunt him while he was down. I think another shouted there's blood, yet nobody stopped to help him in any way. It's like they didn't even care. They just moved right on to the next protesters and started to shove them even harder. They literally learned nothing. Is this protecting and serving? What we need now are compassion and common sense. The officers were charged. Of course, their report on the incident was way different than what actually occurred. They said he tripped and fell. Sure he did. Inaccuracies are common occurrences in the George Floyd case and a majority of police reports. The reports come nowhere near describing the events that actually occurred. But now, with everyone taking videos with their cellphones, they can't as easily get away with this nonsense anymore. Sadly, other service members came to cheer them after they left the courthouse. You're cheering what exactly? Police brutality? Older men bleeding out of their heads?

Let's face it, while some cops become an officer to make a difference; most want to be one because they enjoy being in power and control. Roughly translating to, they like to abuse their power. They think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. They are the law, so they make the rules. That's why they want the job. And most people will believe the person in authority. In a dispute between a child and parent, the parent will win. In a dispute between boss and employee, the boss will win. In a dispute between a cop and civilian, the cop will win. We are trained to believe the person in the authority role, even if they are wrong. Because we are afraid of the repercussions that will occur if we don't stand down.

There were even police officers in Asheville, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio, damaging medical supplies and water bottles at a medical tent. They claimed the medics didn't have the proper permit for the setup, and they didn't want the water bottles thrown at them like in previous days. Okay, let's say the first part was true. The second part is very ironic. These are the same cops hitting people with batons, shooting rubbing bullets, and using tear gas for no reason, but they don't want water bottles thrown at them. Okay then. Let's see if you can figure out which one of those is worse.

Even in the midst of all the protests, we still have black people being shot by the police. Rayshard Brooks was sleeping in his car of the drive-thru in Wendy's. Two officers eventually arrived, and Brooks failed a sobriety test. There was a struggle when he resisted arrest, and somehow Brooks ran away with the officer's taser. One officer shot and killed Brooks. Yikes. I don't know what led to him being in the drive-thru drunk, but having officers respond to this problem isn't the smartest idea. Nor is trying to have a meaningful conversation with someone drunk. Having a suspect run away with your taser is not a good look, and it can be problematic. But there's no reason to kill someone over that. That seems to be the way most cops handle everything. They don't want to handle it or think. They rather kill the person. Then they don't have to deal with it anymore. They think they can get away with it too because they'll just lie about what happened in the report. That's what they did here, again. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he was shot during the struggle. But after the cellphone video of the incident was released, they corrected the statement. This means they did a lousy job of investigating and didn't ask the officers what happened. Or they did, and the officers lied. Neither is good. It doesn't seem like these places can even investigate anything properly, and these are the people tasked to do this stuff for a living?

Getting him to move the car and then calling him a cab or Uber home would have been the better choice. Or just dispatch a social worker instead. Having macho and potentially racist guys with guns show up is not the best choice. I don't even know why they called the cops. Did Wendy's even try to ask him to move the car? Brooks asked if he could leave his car in the parking lot for the night and walk to his sister's house a short distance away. This is a request that should have been granted. I'm not going to get into this any further. There were so many things that could have been done to prevent this.

Unsurprisingly, the officer who shot Brooks had over a dozen complaints[3]. Another officer who shouldn't still be one. A few complaints may be nothing because it could be personal or about revenge. But once you get to a dozen, you have to draw a line in the sand. He even shouted, "I got him" and kicked him after he was dead. Brooks isn't an animal. This isn't a hunt. Furthermore, you were sent there to move him and his car out of the drive-thru, not murder him. You aren't a sniper. You're a police officer.

Carlos Carson was another recent black victim of a senseless shooting. This time by a hotel security guard. You guessed it. It was an ex-cop with a history of racism. A common thread here. Carson was upset his car was vandalized at the hotel he was staying at, and the hotel didn't want to be held accountable for it. This is a reasonable complaint, but he was asked to leave the premise. Carson returned a few minutes later, and that's when the security guard sprayed him with pepper spray in the face. Carson then went to fight him, and then the security guard shot him in the face. His story claimed he used pepper spray to keep Carson from being aggressive, and he planned to detain him for trespassing until police arrived. I imagine if he were white, this never would have happened. But if he felt as a security guard the situation might escalate, I suppose he's within reason to spray him. But he should know doing that would also heighten the situation. And going from that plan to shooting him in the head is quite a stark leap. Years ago, the security guard resigned from the police department when he was set to be demoted because of his racist behavior[4]. Based on his history, it seemed like he was more interested in having an excuse to shoot him then to detain him.

Then there's the poor man named Christian Cooper, who was out bird watching in Central Park and told a lady to leash her dog. I usually don't talk to people I don't know because you never know what might happen. If the lady is jogging in a major park without her dog on a leash, she's probably not too bright, and she probably wouldn't take too kindly to any suggestions. That's pretty much what happened here. And rather than just ignoring it, saying mind your own business or just acknowledging it politely without any interest in doing so, she took the worst possible choice. She called the cops to tell them a black man was harassing her. That's like taking something that's at a two and turning it way up to a hundred in a few seconds. This particular instance says a lot about our society, and none of it is good. First, you have a woman who knew she could call the cops and leverage the fact that she was a white woman, and he was a black man to her advantage. She knew they would take her side, and he knew he would be afraid. That's what she's learned from society, and that's terrible and sad. But even taking out the racism, it's still troubling. This woman was so insecure that her response to someone giving her advice on how to take care of her dog was trying to send them to jail. Just think about that for a second. That's where we are as a society right now. She's probably already an insecure person. She assuredly feels more insecure about having to wear a facemask due to Coronavirus. Adding the racism back, she's being told how to take care of her dog by a black person, someone who is supposed to be inferior to her whiteness. Let's not forget the poor dog in all this. It looked like its owner was manhandling the dog in the video. There's irony in someone accusing someone else of assault when they look like they are assaulting their dog. Of course, the real irony in all of this is she needed to treat her dog like that because, you know, it wasn't on a leash—his original point.

These events have even come back full circle to the NFL and the man who most visibly protested for racial equality, Colin Kaepernick. Now Roger Goodell wants him to play again, something unfathomable a few years ago. But he wasn't the main story this time. It was another quarterback. This time a white one. Drew Brees commented that it's still disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem. The same rhetoric used years ago by everyone to dismiss the significance of the kneeling. He's learned nothing. Hard to imagine since it's been several years, and he has several black teammates. Apparently, he never talked to them about it. After everyone explained it to him online, he finally realized he was wrong. This is good. It's progress. But it also highlights another inherent societal problem. He didn't do any research on the other point of view. He just assumed he was right while taking the most narrow viewpoint on it too. This needs to stop. It's not someone else's job to educate you. It's your job to educate yourself. If you can't bother to do the research, don't bother commenting on anything.

Author and activist Kimberly Jones gave an excellent synopsis of why black people struggle so much and why they don't care if anything burns down[5]. The simple fact is black people don't own anything because society won't let them. Even when they do get ahead, white people will take it away. The most prominent example of this is the Tulsa race massacre in 1921[6]. About 10,000 black people were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property (equivalent to $32.25 million in 2019). Their property was never recovered, nor were they compensated for it. It all started when a black male shoeshiner allegedly sexually assaulted a white female elevator operator. Even if that did happen, this is a pretty extreme escalation by any standard. There's more to the story, but you can read about it here.

This event was never brought up or taught in history. I certainly don't recall it. It was only recently added to the Oklahoma school curriculum in 2020. Pretty pathetic if you think about it. Therein lies the problem. These kinds of things aren't taught in school because history is always whitewashed. We celebrated Christopher Columbus in elementary school, but none of the awful things he did were ever mentioned. We aren't going to be able to move forward as a society until we face our ugly history. And our past is hideous.


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