It was impossible to imagine that anything else would become center stage with the planet still trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The George Floyd murder committed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has managed to put COVID-19 in the background for the moment. Television news has been inundated with peaceful and destructive protests across the country. These visuals exacerbate the anxiety America currently tries to deal with considering a spike in unemployment, coupled with the “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been critics of these nationwide destructive protests, which have resulted in thousands of arrests due to property damage, arson, and clashes with law enforcement. How America feels about these protests are irrelevant. Because if those feelings were relevant, America would have learned from the Watts riots after the Simi Valley police officers’ verdict from 1992. Or the civil rights riots in the 1960s. Simply put, these events would cease if those empowered to enforce written laws for all citizens would actually enforce those laws to protect all citizens.
Those participating in destructive protests don’t seem to care about the repercussions. Incarceration? They could be out on bail, enabling them to protest as they were before. Destroying their communities? Many of these protestors are outsiders, so there’s no incentive for them to care about that. And even if they were from those communities, many of them don’t own anything to destroy. Besides, America has never cared about healing her oppressed and disenfranchised citizens that have nothing. If she did, the events that have led to the protests we’re seeing today (namely, the George Floyd murder) would cease immediately.
That’s what these protests are trying to accomplish. Many people are tired of experiencing the next Philando Castile. The next Sandra Bland. The next Trayvon Martin. The next Eric Garner. The next Tamir Rice. The list goes on. And spare us that they’re not all innocent. The transgressions of a few of them don’t constitute their deaths. These protests are trying to show America that law enforcement, as well as private citizens, don’t get to wantonly use deadly, unnecessary force without stiff consequences.
The methods that some are using can be up for debate. It’s unfortunate that innocent business and property owners across the country are becoming casualties of these destructive protests due to property damage and loss. However, these entities pay insurance premiums to recoup their damage. The Floyd family will never see George again. In addition, it’s possible that Chauvin could be acquitted of the third degree murder charges against him. That would open the door for the next George Floyd incident, which would be a pretty hefty price to pay.