Editorial writers at newspapers across the nation are grasping for words when it comes to responding to the Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd, an African American man, and the resulting protests.
Most editorials land on the easy, obvious message that also misses the point to some extent: We must all speak out against the racism that pervades our society, but burning and looting solves nothing.
The fact is, many Americans aren’t going to get together to speak out against racism or even acknowledge that it exists, no matter how many newspaper editorials scold us. There are even people who try to argue that police officers should be more afraid of black men than they are of white men, and that’s it’s understandable that a few here and there may be murdered by cops.
Even in Oak Harbor, a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally attracted hecklers. Imagine if it was a rally for Children’s Lives Matter. Can you imagine anyone giving protesters the finger?
The violence of the protests is a message. Many people are frustrated and desperate, and they don’t believe in American justice anymore.
The solutions are difficult and illusive, but there are reasons for hope, including the fact that so many people are taking action and notice.
The police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck was charged with murder, although convicting cops is notoriously difficult. Unlike many other cases from the past, police chiefs and other police officials across the nation immediately condemned it. The Minneapolis police chief did not wait for an investigation before firing the officers involved.
And while it’s something many little newspapers are pointing out in unsophisticated ways, it doesn’t hurt to say once again that the majority of police officers are good people, though many tend to be too defensive.
Cops stand between the innocent and the violent. Not long ago a couple of young officers on Whidbey Island put their careers on the line to turn in a police chief who they felt was too rough with a vulnerable suspect.
It’s great police officers like these who should be among the angriest about the racism in their ranks.