Put blame where blame is due
Some of my favorite words spoken by President Ronald Reagan seem awfully appropriate right now. Here they are: “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
Our country is in a tough place right now. The incomprehensible killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer has touched everyone in some way or another. I’ve heard of many who’ve had strong disagreements among their families, myself included. But, I have heard of no one, both in the news coverage or in personal conversations, who supports the police officer who took Floyd’s life, and rightly so, based on the video we all have seen.
However, why are we seeing the destruction of major U.S. city business districts and landmarks? Amid the peaceful protesters who have a legitimate right to be protesting are groups of thugs in many of these cities who are using the situation to inflame racial tensions and get themselves some free stuff along the way.
Businesses, many of which are small ones, have been looted and their buildings burned, damaged or totally destroyed. Their owners had nothing to do with Floyd’s death.
The First Amendment provides some of our most basic rights as U.S. citizens. Here is the full text:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The vast majority of those who are protesting are assembling peaceably and should be encouraged. However, their peaceful message has been lost in many people’s eyes, thanks to the looters and thugs.
It’s hard to fathom where the idea for destroying others’ property and assaulting law enforcement, who had nothing to do with George Floyd’s death, even comes from. But, there are larger players at work here. There are groups that want to bring down this country, and far be it for them to pass up an opportunity like this to do it. They have certainly have used mob mentality successfully.
We need to take President Reagan’s words to heart. Too many people today do not take responsibility for their actions—it’s so easy to blame someone else. Instead of directing their disgust toward Derek Chauvin, the police officer who caused Floyd’s death, with peaceful protesting, many chose to burn buildings and loot businesses. Why have all police officers been lumped into one group which, right now, seems to be represented by Chauvin? That is wrong.
I don’t know the answer to the racial inequality so many feel. Hopefully, meaningful dialogue will result in more respect for others. However, that is not something you can learn in a few training sessions. It will not happen overnight, but our country is worth the effort.
I do know burning buildings isn’t the answer.