Chauvin verdict only a pause

April 24, 2021

With former Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin found guilty of killing George Floyd by a jury of his peers America itself entering an uneasy pause.

We have breathed our personal sighs of relief, yet we also remain apprehensive of the next spark that could re-ignite the fires.

And there is good cause for that apprehension.

Fox News Correspondent Bryan Llena had a brief on the street interview with Hawk Newsome, leader of the Greater New York BLM group following the verdict and he was having none of the “justice system” worked: “It was a mixture of violent and non-violent protests that yielded this result. That’s the bottom line. America doesn’t listen to us when we march peacefully. I’m not saying when people will be back in the street, but America must know that if you continue to allow us to be murdered in the streets without justice, we will raise hell in America.”

Sadly, Newsome is not a one off.

After a year of riots and looting that went largely unpunished the violence that hijacked peaceful protests is still very much with us and more willing than ever to once again unleash its wrath.

Is America perfect? Far from it. Yet I have yet to hear from any of the “defund, burn it all down” crowd to name one better.

Yes, policing in this nation has room for improvement. But no, it is not a monolith of racists going on shift just looking for an excuse to shoot someone.

Consider this want ad recently posted to the City of Portland, Oregon website:

Wanted: Public Safety Officer.

Must be willing to work disrupting shifts, weekends and holidays. Leave home daily unsure if will return. Salary low, stress high, community and political support minimal to non-existent. Impervious to being called a pig or fascist required and preference given to those willing to stand at attention while assaulted with rocks, soup cans, and human excrement.

City issued super soaker and laminated lyrics to Kumbaya provided. Officer responsible for own liability insurance.

Ok, so it’s not a real post. But neither is the narrative that every black and brown person in America has a cop targeting them for murder.

But you know what is real? The men in the following list.

February 4, 2021. New Mexico State Trooper Darion Jarrott makes a routine traffic stop. Instead of temporarily surrendering his rifle as he’d agreed to do, Omar Felix Cueva instead opened fire on Jarrott and even took the extra time to walk around the truck where Jarrott lay dying and shoot him point blank in the back of the head.

April 9, 2021 Sergeant Jim Smith, Iowa State Patrol was part of an arrest team to apprehend a suspect who had assaulted and disarmed another officer during a traffic stop. When Smith entered the home, suspect fired with a shotgun and Officer Smith was pronounced dead a local hospital.

April 3, 2021 Lieutenant James Kouski was investigating a prior DUI case when was struck and killed by another car while standing on the side of the road.

March 31, 2021 Texas Highway Patrol trooper Chad Walker succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained five days earlier when ambushed while stopping to assist what he believed was a disabled vehicle near Mexia, Texas.

March 15, 2021 Border Patrol Agent Alejandro Flores-Banuelos was responding to a vehicle crash scene and was assisting an elderly patient still in her car when another car struck him and the car on Highway 86 near Salton City, California.

And on, and on, the list it grows. Forget being enough to fill an entire column, think more a full edition, for a week.

Milwaukee’s Newstalk 1130 WISN and Iheart Radio host Dan O’Donnell took a dive into the Washington Post’s database of known police deadly shootings since 2015 and notes that as of April 14, 2021:

“One of the most pernicious myths about police shootings is that officers shoot unarmed black men at an alarming rate, when in fact just 2% of the people who were killed by an officer were unarmed and black. Since the beginning of 2015, law enforcement officers across the country have actually killed 33 more unarmed white people than unarmed black people.”

That is not to belittle the loss of even one life, black white or other.

But before another riot starts. Before another city burns. Could we at least have a conversation based upon the facts and not the myth?

Given the current tone coming out of the White House it seems unlikely.

I mean “c’mon man”, is the President of the United States willing to get more people killed and lively hoods destroyed just to placate his left-wing base?

Sadly, the truthful answer to that question is a very disappointing, yes.

Publisher Note:  A version of this column appears in the April 24th, print edition of the Joplin GLobe

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