When a cop knelt on George Floyd’s neck as bystanders begged him to let the man breathe, I thought it was horrible. When people across the country spoke out against police abuse, I was sympathetic. When protesters marched demanding justice for Floyd, and the cop in question was arrested, I was relieved.
And when the “protesters” became terrorists, I was disgusted.
Make no mistake: Beating people trying to protect their stores from looting isn’t “protesting.” It’s violent political terrorism and entitled thievery. When people loot televisions from a Target, that’s not “protesting.” It’s stealing. When people burn down a book store totally unrelated in any way to George Floyd, that’s not “protesting.” That’s vandalism and arson. When agitators attack, not the cops or public buildings, but the fabric of their own community — and the homes and cars of people who have done nothing to these protesters — that’s not a “protest.” It’s savagery.
There is a disturbing racial component to all this, of course. Those of us whose skin color happens to match that of the police officer in question are presumed to be guilty of some inherited, “systemic” sin. I’m old enough to remember when we called attitudes like that “racism.”
Worse, I’m old enough to remember a time when people who do share my skin color did not feel compelled, and were not encouraged in popular media, to bow and scrape and beg forgiveness for their imagined crimes. Now, on social media and even in person, these weaklings parade before their accusers and profess their guilt and shame for crimes they haven’t committed against people who aren’t alive.
They engage in this shameful pantomime in hopes that those accusing them of original sin will one day pat them on the head and tell them they’re good little self-loathing “allies.” What they don’t realize is that this will never occur. The accusers cannot be appeased. They cannot be bargained with. They cannot be reasoned with.
You will never debase yourself enough, flog yourself enough, condemn yourself enough to satisfy those who judge you based on what you are, rather than who you are. You only make a fool of yourself. When you subordinate yourself to others based on skin color — not for anything you’ve done, but for a feeling they have about you — you only make the problem worse. Your accusers do not approve of you; they laugh at you. They do not appreciate your solidarity; they sneer in contempt at your weakness.
Police abuses exist. Police oppression exists. But governmental abuse and oppression are not racially categorized. It is not wielded solely against a single demographic. It is equal-opportunity. Americans, and citizens of all industrialized nations, increasingly live in police states. Their liberties and their civil rights are under constant attack. These attacks are not racial. They are universal. The freedom of any man is a benefit that accrues to us all. The oppression of any man is a liability we all incur.
We should be focused, not on race, but on power. We should not be accusing our fellow citizens of manufactured crimes based on skin color; we should be watching the watchmen. But we cannot do that if we are worried about our homes and our businesses being destroyed by people who clearly revel in the devastation they are causing. These are faces twisted in joy over the evils they are committing — not because they seek justice, but because they enjoy inflicting pain.
These temper tantrums, these riots, are not an oppressed people seeking justice. That stopped being the case when the first private business was burned. These are anarchists living their preferred lifestyle. These are terrorists instilling fear in private citizens who have done them no wrong.
As I sat up Saturday night until the wee hours of the morning, wondering if it was okay to go to sleep and fearing that I would wake up to my car having been burned in the night, I lost all sympathy for those who claim to be demanding justice for George Floyd. What happened to Floyd was wrong and those responsible should be charged and punished. Just as former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger paid for murdering a man in his own apartment, George Floyd’s killer should be brought to justice. If the other officers on scene are charged and deemed culpable by the courts, they too should be punished.
But innocent people don’t deserve to live in fear.
We can argue endlessly about whether the media, Antifa, external political groups, or local miscreants are “at fault” for the riots. None of it matters. It doesn’t matter who broke a window or who burned a car when you’re waiting for the violence to destroy your life’s savings and your livelihood. It doesn’t matter why a riot started when a mob of animals is beating you to death because you tried to stop them from burning your store. It doesn’t matter what socio-economic pressures were in play when the aftermath of this violent outburst are neighborhoods and shopping districts reduced to bombed-out ashes.
We’ve already been through so much. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our economy, killed thousands of people, torn apart the fragile fabric of “polite society,” and made us all suspicious of our fellow human beings. These riots, on the heels of all that, are too much. It’s too much to take. It’s too much to deal with. It’s going to be the death blow of countless people’s financial lives. It’s going to ruin people who had nothing to do with George Floyd… and it’s going to leave entire neighborhoods and even cities devastated for years to come.
These riots disgust me. The rioters disgust me. The people who caused the riots disgust me. The people who are cited as the ostensible cause of the riots disgust me. I’m revolted. I’m sickened. And I’m tired.
I’m tired of all of this, and you should be, too.