This week’s news cycle has left me sorrowful and exhausted. And my feelings can’t even begin to compare to the utter exhaustion and heartache my black and brown friends and neighbors must be feeling right now and the weight they carry around with them daily.
How many people of color need to die before we can all admit that we have a law enforcement problem in this country?
The death of George Floyd Monday night was a stunning reminder that authoritarian, unchecked power wielded by law enforcement agencies will often lead to horrifying results. Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store and was assumed to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs when officers wrestled him to the ground and one pinned him down with a knee to his neck.
The video is disturbing, but this isn’t something we should look away from just because we are uncomfortable – watch it below:
Floyd called for help. He went motionless five minutes into the video. And yet, the officers didn’t change what they were doing or move to help him in any way. They seemed more interested in crowd control than assisting the dying, bleeding man on the ground.
I don’t care if that man murdered 10 other people. NO person should be treated like that. Never.
While the recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery served as a reminder that racism is still thriving in every corner of America, the murder of George Floyd added a chilling footnote to that reminder: It is thriving among those who are supposed to be the upholders of justice and liberty for all.
I know the people in my political corner best, so I will appeal to them. Can we PLEASE admit that we have a law enforcement problem now? Republicans, conservatives, even some libertarians – can we please realize that while big government in many realms has its own issue, allowing government to go unchecked and unaccountable in the form of law enforcement is literally KILLING people?
As a very bare minimum starting point, can we get behind bills introduced by people like Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)? Senator Scott’s bill, dubbed the Walter Scott Notification Act in honor of an unarmed man who was gunned down by police, would create a starting point from which to change the behavior, training, and tactics of law enforcement. Once introduced with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the bill has been re-introduced numerous times without advancing.
This is a civil rights issue. This is a trampling of liberties. This is dehumanization. This is murder via government. Shouldn’t this be something that causes immediate action from my fellow liberty folks?
To my fellow Christians, we serve a just God – need I say any more? Justice is close to his heart and it should be close to ours. Our black and brown neighbors are made in His image as much as we are, and shouldn’t fear that their God-given dignity will be stripped from them because of the color of their skin.
This is a hard, heart wrenching, overwhelming issue. And for the sake of being completely honest, it is one that I’ve wrestled with in the past years. It is so much easier to sit back, refuse to acknowledge what people of color face every single day in America, and ignore my white privilege staring back at me.
But as William Wilberforce, the man known for leading the charge against slavery in England, once said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
I know, you know, we know. What will we do about it? People are dying – we can’t ignore this.