The conviction of one former Minneapolis policeman in the tragic death of George Floyd is another pivotal event in the long, sorrowful history of race relations in the United States.
On the one hand, thought leaders have not dwelt enough understanding how authors of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Constitution in 1789 might be revered by many Americans, even though slavery was not outlawed until 1865 or racial segregation ended until the 1960s. Can a nation of “laws” and their precedents be legitimate when, during decades, these laws and precedents also legitimized human bondage?
These are fair questions that should be considered, especially recognizing that slavery persists in too many nations on earth as you read these words in 2021.
On the other hand, is “street justice” the answer under mob rule? Or is the appropriate principle that every defendant is presumed innocent until convicted by a jury of peers in a trial where the accused gets benefits of “due process?”
Sadly, among too many interactions involving law enforcement and the general public, there are tragic accidents and there certainly are some criminal acts carried out by police personnel. Awful as these are, and it is no consolation to the aggrieved, such acts are, thankfully, a very small proportion of all contacts police have in a year with members of the public.
In the end, individuals decide how to live by making choices each day. Some will choose a life of crime, and pay little heed to any law or regulation that politicians enact or promulgate. Many of these criminals have guns and will never willingly surrender them. On the other hand, law-abiding Americans have a constitutionally protected right “to keep and bear arms”.
The projects to “defund the police” and to take guns away from Americans now are accelerating, in part by exploiting suffering by the families of too many victims to count. These projects have support from elites, who are protected by security, but not from those who live in crime afflicted neighborhoods across America.
We can learn from our mistakes if we chose to, just as we may repent sins. Given many vexing threats, now is certainly not a sensible moment to stoke racial tensions in America. For, in truth, Americans from all walks of life and backgrounds share more common interests and blessings than pundits and perpetual critics claim. We are strong enough to welcome dissent, and stronger still for protecting free speech and we shall survive and grow together.