I was relieved yesterday when Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts. We all watched him murder George Floyd on camera while bystanders pled for Floyd’s life. In the wake of this event, Black Lives Matter protests erupted around the world. Maybe finally enough was enough. Even the Church came out on record saying that black lives matter, although they also gave equal air time (or perhaps more weight) to the idea that property damage was never justified, condemning it in even stronger language than deadly but routine police brutality.
A mission friend of mine who sports a “Back the Blue” flag still, even during the trial, explained his logic moments after the Floyd murder.
We still don’t know what the sentencing will be, although according to maniacally-laughing Tucker Carlson, it’s clearly too long because after all, he only killed a black man, a criminal, a drug user, and now a white cop’s life is ruined. To be clear, I don’t think my conservative friend I’ve quoted in this Tweet nor Tucker Carlson are *reasonable* or well-reasoned people. They don’t reflect, IMO, the majority view of conservatives I know, most of whom believed their eyes and believed that Chauvin probably murdered him (although I did hear occasional strains of the argument that he died from a drug problem or health problem).
There are some conclusions that I hope we aren’t going to hear in the wake of Chauvin’s verdict:
Racism is over; the system works. There was literally another police killing of Daunte Wright an unarmed black man in Minnesota DURING THE TRIAL. Yes, it appears it was an accident, but also a completely unnecessary use of force against a young man whose mother was on the phone trying to help while the overly agressive officer attempted to tase him during a routine traffic stop for an expired car registration. This one may sound far-fetched, but people in my last ward were literally claiming that there was no racism in the US because we have had a black president. Riiight.
Chauvin was just one bad apple. Was he terrible? Yes. Perhaps one of the worst the police force had to offer? Sure. But three other officers watched him commit this murder and did nothing to intervene on Floyd’s behalf. They also backed him up. That’s not an officer problem. That’s a blue wall problem. And as previously mentioned, police are using a whole lot of deadly force.
You can’t blame police for refusing to do their jobs now. Uhm, yes, yes, we can. They are paid for by tax dollars, and they need to do the job they are in until they quit. They can’t just sit in their uniforms sulking and refusing to intervene when needed.
If you “defund the police” these problems will only get worse. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. What we really need is more options than 1) do nothing or 2) call in an armed military. A whole lot of problems need intervention that doesn’t look like modern policing. When we had a strange guy on a bicycle leering through our office window, the police that arrived were literally armed like they were full-on military. Since when did this become normal?? Police in the 80s were just wearing a blue uniform, like no kevlar flak jacket with bulging munitions on their arms and thighs! It was alarming.
There is never justification for looting or destroying property. This just feels like comparing your hang-nail with someone else’s decapitation. Even other small business owners I know were pretty sanguine about the fact that they have insurance that covered damages when there was rioting. We were all less sanguine to discover than one of the looters was a white You Tuber from California using the riots to boost his reach.
We still don’t know the sentencing in this trial, what will happen to the other officers, and what policing reforms to expect in the coming months.
What wrong conclusions do you hope we don’t make in the wake of this verdict?
- How did you feel about the verdict?
- What have you heard from fellow Mormons about the murder, the trial and the verdict?
- What “if/then” scenarios would you add to the Tweet thread above as a counter to the idea that nobody will want to be an officer if they don’t have qualified immunity?
Well, I haven’t heard any one of my ward members say anything specifically about it, but the many thin blue line bumper stickers in the parking lot sure speak volumes. The most jarring was the mask being worn by the ward’s sweetest old widow yesterday in the hardware store during the jury deliberation.
You never know what secret thoughts are going through the heads of otherwise pious people.
The verdict was a huge relief, but the flip side of it is that in order for us to get to this point, an unarmed, non-violent man had to die unnecessarily at the hands of domineering police officers in the first place. It’s nice to see justice being served once in a while, but the conviction doesn’t really do anything to fix the front end of the justice system (the cops on the street) which is the most broken part of it.
I didn’t hear much of anything about the trial or verdict in my local LDS social ecosystem, but the day before one of my friends in the ward expressed concern about the likelihood of widespread “race riots” that would happen, regardless of the outcome.
As a counter to the Tweet thread above, I would retort that cops who fear being punished for “doing their job” are exactly the kind of people who don’t deserve to be cops. If you are being paid by the taxpayers to carry a gun, public oversight and accountability should be assumed.
Racism must be condemned at every turn, and must be done so in the strongest possible manner. It should be abolished to the dustbin of history as one of the twin relics of barbarism that it is.
People tend to relate to others with whom they have something in common. The average Mormon is not black and has not faced the kind of treatment the typical black kid in urban America faces, including treatment from police officers.
I guarantee you that if white kids in the LDS suburbs of SLC starting facing the kind of treatment that these black kids face, the average Mormon would be much more sympathetic. Now, we can argue about why the average black kid has this kind of experience. Maybe he’s involved with crime. Maybe he lives in a poor neighborhood. Or maybe the white cops around him are simply racist. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the average white Mormon in suburban America can’t relate to the average urban black and as a result many of us have a blind spot when it comes to police brutality. Example: I have four kids. Not one of them (fingers crossed as I write this) have ever talked to a cop outside of a speeding ticket. That’s why I don’t comment much on these types of incidents. What do I know?
I feel like BLM has co-opted an issue that affects all of us–militarization of the police. Floyd wasn’t murdered because he was black. He was murdered because he was a civilian and the cop (Chauvin and his accomplices) had to maintain their place at the apex of the situation. In this case, I cannot be for “back the blue” or for “Black Lives Matter”. Both are using a terrible situation to further their own agendas.
Some thoughts on the actual verdict though…I’m glad to see some criminal accountability to police for their actions–even if it is only one case. We need more accountability for overreaching and authoritarian police behavior. I find the cases for this case and for the Wright shooting very different. In both cases, though, I don’t understand why we lionize the victims. I wish that the cases that cause an outrage involved cases where someone wasn’t jumping in a car to flee the scene.
One thing that strikes me as wrong about the Chauvin verdict is that he was convicted of 3 manslaughter/murder charges. I realize that this is common practice criminal court to charge with everything (usually so the prosecutor has something to plea bargain away). I find this duplicitous. There was only one murder. Why 3 murder charges? Why not just convict for the highest degree charge instead of reframing the charge to get as many charges as possible. Again, this isn’t about Chauvin, but rather with prosecutorial overreach. This same tactic probably has done more harm to black communities due to over-prosecuting than the “victory” of putting a bad cop in jail for 30 years instead of 15 years.
As with most issues that get political, I end up wondering “why can’t they both lose”.
Re: John H’s comment:
**I guarantee you that if white kids in the LDS suburbs of SLC starting facing the kind of treatment that these black kids face, the average Mormon would be much more sympathetic.**
Maybe that’s why I don’t see this as a racial issue, but rather as a police issue. The cops are bad to everybody. I’ve had cops called on me while doing Elder’s Quorum service. While waiting for the moving truck to arrive a neighbor called the cops for strangers loitering in her street. Nothing illegal going on, but cops harassed us and threatened to fine us when one of us (OK, me) called them out on their harassment. I’ve had the cops called on me while waiting in the church parking lot with several young men before YM activity night because a woman in another ward came to the building and was nervous to see the boys there. I’ve been threatened by cops for being a white guy in a black neighborhood.
I was about to say “nothing good happens when cops are involved”, but then I remembered that one time a policeman returned a wallet that I lost on the bus. So they at least get one pass.
squidloverfat: I think it can be a “both” situation. Yes, police brutality is a HUGE problem, but to add to that, policing tactics frequently differ in poorer communities that tend to have more people of color (for clearly documented historical reasons like redlining and other laws that have systemically prevented people of color from accumulating wealth). I would recommend listening to some podcasts on this topic to understand better the differences. A few things to note: police officers in middle class or wealthier neighborhoods typically live in the neighborhood or near it. Not so in poor neighborhoods. They come in without relationships in the community, and as a result they often have lower accountability to the residents and lower trust of residents. That’s just one minor example of the differences.
A few years ago, someone came to my front door in my Scottsdale neighborhood and tried the handle (considered a wealthier / also whiter part of Phoenix), and the police came by. They weren’t armed. They were friendly, not at all suspicious or concerned, and they just checked things out, chatted and left. In the OP, I mentioned calling about someone behaving in a menacing way outside of our office. That was in a not so great area of Mesa. Those cops were ready for battle, armed to the teeth. That’s to me a stark difference between how police act in different neighborhoods.
I am kinda mixed on this. But then full disclosure, I had a family member killed in the line of duty trying to arrest a drunk driver. And he knew the guys and they knew him, because he was a sherif deputy in a small town. The truth is police don’t know when a criminal they are trying to arrest will go for a gun. He was killed over a drunk driving ticket, by the passenger in the car. So, I understand that blue lives matter.
But on the other hand, I really flinched when squidloverfat above said that Floyd wasn’t killed because he was black. Yes, he was killed partly because he was black. Blacks are killed more often than whites.
But then squid has a point that he was killed (the other part of “partly” above) because the cops are too quick to pull a trigger. Compared to the percentage of the population, blacks are killed more often than whites, but 50% of cop killings are white. So, over all, when you look at cause of death as shooting by police, that is the top, if not the #1 killer of young men no matter the race. (I think it is #1 for blacks and #2 for whites, so, OMH, it is more common cause of death than accidents) That is too many young men of any color being killed by police. So, squid has a point that even taking race out of the picture, there are too many people being killed by cops. The cops seem to have a mentality of shoot first and ask questions later. They need non-lethal methods of stopping people.
Regarding squid’s point about multiple charges…I fully expect that sentencing will avoid the kind of piling on that he fears. Chauvin will be sentenced on all three counts, but I would be shocked if those three sentences run consecutively. Most likely, they will run concurrently, which is indistinguishable from simply serving the longest sentence. On the plus side, concurrent sentences serve as a safety net. If the charge yielding the longest sentence gets overturned–then the second-longest sentence automatically kicks in. Without a conviction on the lesser charges, he could walk if the single conviction was overturned.
I am curious to know when there is justification for looting or destroying property. And how do you teach your children to understand when it is justified, and what businesses or individuals are the appropriate targets of such looting and destruction?
Mark B, I’m going to assume there was a note of sarcasm in your comment. The spirit of your question, though, is faulty. Of course looting and property destruction are not justifiable behaviors, but that misses the point. Martin Luther King once said “A riot is the language of the unheard.” If you want to prevent a group of rightfully aggrieved people from rioting, then start listening.
I can’t find an example of righteous rioting and terror in the Savior’s teachings.
“I am curious to know when there is justification for looting or destroying property. And how do you teach your children to understand when it is justified, and what businesses or individuals are the appropriate targets of such looting and destruction?”
You know that famous statue of Justice being blind and holding scales? That kind of civilization and sincere attempt to establish and preserve right is what we depend on. In the repeated and racially biased absence of that, there is rage — justifiable rage. Rage isn’t directed and it can only be controlled for a limited time and with even more damage done.
Justice was always our best bet. …but then someone started letting her peek and put her thumb on the scale. It’s gonna take a long time and a lot of work to get back to belief in her. OTOH, we have no choice but to get to work at it!
“I can’t find an example of righteous rioting and terror in the Savior’s teachings.”
Missed the one about Jesus himself going after the merchants in the temple, huh?
JC you never read that part in the New Testament about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple?
Yes, He did cleanse the temple, selective and pointed at the guilty. He didn’t destroy everyone and everything in the vicinity because of uncontrolled rage. I’ve survived several large scale riots where others were severely injured and even killed. Many who were guilty of only being in the vicinity paid a high price and had nothing to do with the cause.
One man’s cleansing is another’s uncontrolled rage. Semantics. Too bad the money-changers aren’t around to ask how they would define destruction of their (technically) legal businesses.
The US police are always concerned that other citizens might have guns, which esculates the likelihood of violence. People should have to justify why they need a gun to get a license to have one. Surely the gun lobby, can be overcome, and common sense prevail in the senate, or are they all bought and paid for?
But Floyd was not carrying a gun, and still got killed. Proportionate force? No!
The original police report says:
Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction
May 25, 2020 (MINNEAPOLIS) On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.
Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.
Had there not been a person videoing the death this would be the official version. No guilty police officers. Does the minneapolis police department have any credibility left? No! So total overhaul required.
If we’re going to get sidetracked by Mark B’s facetious comment, let’s just go all out and talk about all the OT examples of genocide, etc. I mean, come on, what an uncharitable, trolly comment.
Wow, white, leftist Mormons defending rioting and violence in primarily inner-city areas, and using Christ as an example to do so (and I don’t doubt that George Floyd is your new savior, to go along with your religion of wokeness).
Here’s another quote by MLK on riots: “I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way.” But since that doesn’t fit your narrative , you will dismiss it. The fact that you harshly condemn the January 6 Capital protestors (whose targets were rich, white, powerful elites), and yet cheer on violent riots in mostly poor areas, shows where your hearts are. Your views on violent riots are not driven by objective moral values, but instead on whether you support the rioters’ politics.
I was very relieved when the jury found Chauvin guilty. I thought the prosecution and witnesses did an excellent job. Thank goodness there was a video record of what actually happened.
I lived in Los Angeles County during the Rodney King riots. Though there was no looting or vandalism in our area, I remember seeing National Guard vehicles various places. I also remember the curfew, lines outside the grocery store due to restrictions on how many people could be inside at one time, and, once inside the grocery store, more bare shelves than I had ever seen–(similar to what we’ve experienced during this pandemic).
“There is never justification for looting or destroying property. ”
I mostly agree with this but would stop short of never, though I can’t think of a scenario right now when looting or vandalism might be justified (or effective).
MLK’s movement was powerful because he was able to imprint on our consciences that, aside from skin color, he was no different than you and I. That black people deserve the same rights and level of respect that white people afford each other. We are all part of the human race, with similar needs and desires.
I think the prosecution got across the same message for George Floyd. He wasn’t a low-life, trouble-maker that got the consequences he “deserved.”
When looting and rioting break out, the focus shifts from the injustice to those committing actual crimes.
It gives people the excuse to dismiss and paint the victim and those committing the looting and vandalism with a broad brush–lumping them all together. Even if business owners have insurance to pay for repairs etc,, I’m sure there is still economic loss just from the time required to make those repairs.
(Also, much of the looting and rioting are just people trying to take advantage of the situation–to steal goods-etc and some have prior criminal records).
On the other hand, even when protest is done peacefully–like what Colin Kaepernick did–there is criticism too.
It is too bad more players and fans didn’t join Colin.
Danyal, there is a big difference between cheering on riots and understanding their cause. I didn’t pick up on anybody “cheering on” any riots, just saying that when peaceful protests are ignored, for years, that those peaceful protests can turn into riots. When anger over injustice is ignored, even mocked by those in power, the anger builds and multiplies, until it can turn into uncontrolled rage. And sure destructive rioting is always bad, but sometimes it is based in reality and other times it is based on Qanon idiots believing a big lie. The Jan 6 riot was idiots believing a big lie. The BLM riots are based on the reality that black men get pulled over for a minor traffic violation and end up dead. I think there is a difference.
If you don’t like BLM riots, then listen to peaceful protests and do something to fix the problem. Those of us who don’t like white supremest riots did do something. We voted the big liar out of office.
Danyal, what you think is happening and what is happening are two different things. Your comment projects more than describes. But your apparent eagerness to condemn those on the left and their ‘’wokeness’ blinds you to it.
“They weren’t armed”? Do you mean they weren’t wearing body armor and carrying rifles? Or did they not even have handguns on their belts? It’s really hard for me to imagine the latter. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a uniformed police officer without a gun on their hip. And I’ve lived everywhere.
Which, I guess, is the point: Why all the weapons? Shouldn’t some portion of our police *not* be carrying weapons all the time? OTOH, do less-frequently-armed police get injured/killed more often, empirically?
The comments here just make me feel so sad about where we are as a nation, as a church and as a community. We can’t even agree on the same facts let alone what those facts mean. I guess it was only predictable that this discussions was going to get side railed by the characterization of BLM just being about rioting and destruction of property. I guess that’s a symptom of being in a position of privilege. Can we really not be more understanding of the plight of the black community in America? If I was getting stopped and harassed by police regularly, my friends and family imprisoned and my neighbors needlessly killed, I might get upset enough to act out in rage because that system that’s in place clearly would not be there for me but to work against me. I feel like the black community has been praying they’re hearts out a la D&C 121 for far too long now. We all know how the pioneers in Missouri and Illinois reacted to persecution – there was plenty of rioting, looting and destruction of property. And when they controlled the system Joseph used it to burn down the printing press of those he viewed as his enemies. I hope we could be a bit more loving and considerate of those who have suffered injustice for far too long.
Billy Possum: It’s possible they were discretely armed and I just didn’t notice it and am now misremembering it. It was about 7 or 8 years ago. The incident near our Mesa office was last month. It was definitely a completely different approach to policing. 100%. But you may be right that the Scottsdale officers were armed and I just didn’t notice it. They were not wearing extra ammo like the guys in Mesa.
Relieved he was found guilty. It rarely happens that police officers face legal punishment because of alleged brutality. I haven’t heard from any believing LDS family or friends on the matter (actually a couple of friends who feel like I do). The logic that no one will want to be a police officer because of the guilty verdict is based on what? I wonder why people want to become police officers after hearing many stories of police officers getting injured and killed. And yet there appear to be no shortage of people who want to become one.
Now a reaction to some of the comments. The protests that occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s murder seem to be a separate issue. These protests were not weighed as evidence for or against Chauvin’s guilt during the trial, nor should they have been. When the video of Floyd’s murder first surfaced, it seemed that everyone, regardless of political affiliation, was shocked. Even Rush Limbaugh said that he couldn’t justify that. What I witnessed in the past year, however, was people changing their opinions about the video because of the protests. I saw many downplay their initial reactions and side more with Chauvin because of right-wing and Trumpist noise. Thankfully this noise didn’t enter the courtroom and justice was served. A criminal act doesn’t cease to be a criminal act simply because another person commits a criminal act protesting that criminal act.
Now my stance on the protests is that someone can uphold the First Amendment rights of citizens to go out on the streets to protest, think that protest against police brutality was necessary considering how many police officers commit acts of brutality with impunity, condemn all acts of violence and property destruction that happened at the time of the protests, disagree with the idea of completely defunding the police while agree with ending qualified immunity and reallocating resources to help communities, agree with the fundamentals of Critical Race Theory while disagreeing with many points of critical race theorists, believe that systemic racism exists and affects the US while disagreeing with the how many people frame systemic racism, and still be a coherent and rational person. That person would be me. It’s not black and white, folks. Some acts of property damage done in protest don’t invalidate the basis for a much larger protest movement (the largest in US history with 16-25 million people showing up to protest) and the message it was trying to send. Black lives matter. And even Dallin H. Oaks agrees with me on that point.
“…the First Amendment rights of citizens to go out on the streets to protest…”
As I recall, the First Amendment speaks of “the right of the people to peaceably assemble…”
John W, I’m sorry but I don’t find it credible that the 2020 protests and the recent unrest in and around Minneapolis didn’t color the jury members’ thought processes. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t ultimately come to the right conclusion (though I would not be surprised if the 3rd degree murder conviction is reversed on appeal) but the judge erred in not sequestering the jury and needlessly gave Chauvin’s defense counsel ammunition for an appeal.
Qualified relief at the verdict. Because it removed to a degree the very real threat of rioting, and it was a type of small-j justice for the loved ones who are grieving the murder of Mr. Floyd.
My real life LDS community and I don’t talk about politics or racism. It’s taboo, and not because I find it uncomfortable. We’re pathetically conflict-averse I guess.
If-then scenarios are useless to me. But I have been ruminating on the Blue Lives Matter counter movement.
For the record, I support Black Lives Matter activities and generally approve the org. I detest wite s¥premacy and the terrorism it wreaks on the weak, poor, and helpless. AND I have relationships with some people who serve in law enforcement, and I think, of course their lives matter.
I fear for those young men often, when they’re called in to solve problems they’re poorly trained for, when those problems present as acute and intervention is critical. I think they’re hung out to dry by the powers that be, who are too complacent to really tackle difficult problems. Such as the ones arising from poverty, racism, lack of housing, broken health care systems, zero mental health care systems for the weak, poor, and helpless. The PTB are law enforcement administration, elected government officials, and us taxpayers. We all are ultimately responsible to mitigate the problems in our communities.
There are many proven effective protocols for intervening when a critical issue arises, and they’re not given to police. The police are trained in brute force covered by a thin veneer of benevolent non-violence. It’s not fair to expect those men and women to intervene in all of our hard-to-solve acute crises. They need support from social services agencies and organizations, and those orgs need funding and manpower. I came of age when Reaganomics was an influence. I’ve noticed a pattern of reduced taxes that pay into school funding, mental health care, and social services for the weak, poor, and helpless. It’s great when I write those Treasury checks, but I feel more alarmed by the pressures that it creates which are threatening to rupture. We can’t put all the interventions for this on the backs of good police officers, and then put at their sides rogue cops as well, and offer them all “qualified immunity.” What a farce and a resulting mess.
I have to give due credit to black folks and other people suffering injustice and oppression, which is without question systemic, which makes it wite folks’ problem too. How long have they peacefully tried to seek fairness and justice, exercising patience and maturity, without burning everything down?
And our progress is so close to non-existent, that the words of activists, like Dr. Martin Luther King, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, John Lewis, and so many more I can’t remember, written and spoken over 50 years ago ring so true as if they were said yesterday.
But we must have police reform now, for the sake of Ma’kiah Bryant, Adam Toledo, and Daunte Wright, all children killed by police gunshot in the last fortnight. And for the sake of the ones to come in the next fortnight. And after.
*A caveat— don’t quibble with me about Daunte’s age or any negative behaviors reported about these deceased children.
ji, protest can be and is mostly a type of peaceful assembly. According to an October 2020 UConn study, at least 96% of the George Floyd protests were just that: peaceful assemblies. Unfortunately many I’ve talked to feel the need to condemn all the protests because violence occurred at the same time. My ultimate point was that we can and should be nuanced in viewing the protests, supporting freedoms to peaceably do so while condemning criminal and misdemeanor forms of protest.
Not A Cougar, I’m sure that the jury members were aware that protests had occurred. My point was that neither the prosecution nor the defense brought up the protests to make their cases, because the protests were irrelevant to the case at hand. And that is how the public should formulate their reactions to Chauvin-Floyd incident as well. Not based on people’s reactions to the incident, but the incident itself. Not based on anger and outrage at Chauvin thrusting his knee into Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes, but based on the clear video evidence that Chauvin drove his knee into Floyd’s neck for over 9 horrifying minutes.
I don’t think that the girl in pink who was about to be skewered by Ms Bryant would agree that comments about Ms Bryant were mere quibbles.
John W, the prosecution didn’t have to present evidence that Chauvin was racist as pretty much every traditional and new media outlet in the country made that argument for them. Heck, even Rush Limbaugh apparently couldn’t stomach watching him kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. The whole point of sequestering juries is that our legal system acknowledges that information introduced outside the confines of evidentiary procedure can sway juries. Did it cause the jury to vote a certain way in one or more of the charges? Probably not, but we’ll never know, and considering this is one of the highest profile trials in the last several decades, the judge made an unforced error in not sequestering the jury. Why risk it and give Chauvin another basis for appeal?
Re: the back and forth about MLK above, I thought it might be helpful to have a larger paragraph around that quote Jack Hughes mentioned.
“Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
King’s words get regularly twisted into the sanitized, feel-good, let’s-all-get-along poster boy that conservative pundits like to use as a deflector, but his mission was 100% social justice. If he were alive today, the Fox News talking heads would treat him with the same contempt they have for Stacey Abrams.
yes, but he also said this…
Martin Luther King:
“ Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.”
(“The Other America” 1967)
Lois, thank you for sharing that quote too. I’m not saying he was supportive of riots. I think it’s clear from his words that he considered riots a symptom of the larger problem: injustice. And by focusing on the property damage instead of the murders and disenfranchisement and segregation that cause the riots, we perpetuate the cycle of violence.
The 96% of BLM protesters, were actively trying to stop the rioters. The 4% have become the distraction for racists to discredit the whole movement, and justify doing nothing. Some of them were even black.
How many of the solutions are likely to be possible in a politically divided America?
Will republican senators vote to reduce the number of guns?
Will republican senators vote to remove poverty? 9% of those living in poverty are white.
Will republican senators vote for universal healthcare?
Will republican senators vote to reform the police/justice/ prison system?
As 80% of LDS members over 40, and 50% of those under 40 voted for trump, are they concerned about justice for the poor, and the other areas or are they republicans first, and christians later.
If these things are not possible the system is broken.
I have daughter, and a son in law, who is are federal police officers. There are only 6 police forces in Australia. She has been on exchange with the Boston PD. One of her take outs was that the level of tension in an interaction between police and citizens was so much greater because of the increased likelihood the citizen will have a gun. When a boston pd officer approaches a car he leaves his finger prints on the trunk lid of that car, in case he is not alive after the meeting.
Is there the will to address these problems? Should these be political issues or can everyone support them, and then pressure politicians to pass legislation.
Is there a believable argument that any of the above not be accepted/required by the majority of Americans, let alone members?
Two years ago, my daughter was a passenger in a car in Provo – middle-class neighborhood. The driver rolled through a stop sign and was pulled over. My daughter, who is Black, put her hands on the dash. The officer walked around to her and asked for ID. She said she didn’t have ID. “Why not?” “Because I’m only 15 and don’t have a driver’s license.”
She was the only one the officer spoke with. He didn’t even talk to the driver.
She was riveted to the televised Georg Floyd protests – both terrified and empowered. She found slam poetry on YouTube that gave voice to her feelings. Watch some of that and take in the emotions and understand the hopes and fears.
I visited my 83-year-old mother yesterday. She told me about a time when she was a temple worker and saw a Black couple come in. She said she was shocked and surprised because it was the first time she had seen Black people in the temple. I said that it was a perfectly understandable reaction and that she shouldn’t feel bad about it.
Then I said, “That couple saw your reaction. They see the same thing over and over every day. They take a little hit every time – and it starts to add up.” Being the object of fear, apprehension, and just “not being normal” becomes a heavy load.
Maybe a warm smile instead.
Every time I hear a Church leader quote MLK as advocating non-violence, I am reminded that MLK was assassinated, and that Church leaders were mostly silent about his death because he was villified by them as a “communist.”
I was worried Chauvin would get off because Floyd was drugged up and wasn’t an upstanding citizen. Thank heavens for the quality video that clearly showed how screwed up Chauvin was. He clearly belongs in jail.
I don’t support “defunding the police”, but the great blue wall has to be broken. Police unions (and all public service unions with their incestuous relationships to government) need to be checked. Bad cops need to be fired and placed in a database like sex offenders that guarantee they’re not back on the job someplace else. All police should have body cameras AND dash cameras (I’ve seen enough of these on YouTube I’m convinced they affect police behavior — there are times when I’m thinking “enough, just Tase the guy already”). There’s a lot that can be done to dramatically improve policing while still having a solid deterrent to crime.
This emphasis on racism detracts from those goals. I don’t buy that all these cop killings of people of color can really be attributed to racism in policing. Some of it definitely is, but much of it is just bad police practices. I’m not convinced Breonna Taylor’s death had anything to do with racism. Ma’Khia Bryant’s death doesn’t look to me to have anything to do with police racism, either (and may not even have been bad policing). Blaming everything on racism distracts from the real problem and perpetuates a victim culture that does nobody any good.
Let me point out that it is really difficult to deal with assholes without becoming a bit of one yourself. They rarely listen to reason or comply when asked nicely, and when you’re a cop, you don’t always have the option of just walking away. Asserting authority in order to control a situation and de-escalating tensions are often mutually exclusive. Being a cop is hard. So we should pay them more, be more selective as to who qualifies, and require them to hold each other accountable.
Angela C, my experience has been that active LDS people complain about MLK being an adulterer and therefore not worthy of our praise. At least that is what from my mom countless times as she has bristled at celebrating MLK day in January. But to her Trump is OK, not a boy scout but pursuing the right policies.
“…when you’re a cop, you don’t always have the option of just walking away…”
But many times, walking away (or letting the other person walk away) is entirely appropriate. And safe. Many times, the perp can be arrested or cited later, or the alleged offense can be overlooked. And sometimes, the perp is not even a criminal. Yes, being a policeman is difficult.
The MLK adulterer thing is something I’ve heard since the 60’s. Interestingly, I think it originated when he was visiting in Utah. The FBI took a hotel room next to his (which was ordered by J. Edgar) and they heard sounds that led them to the conclusion that he had a consort. No real proof – but that was enough.
I read a juvenile book on MLK and mentioned it to mom and “he’s an adulterer” ended the discussion – no accomplishments could stand against that.
It’s still prevalent in Utah. My TBM-descended-from-an-apostle CEO won’t allow MLK day as a company holiday. I mentioned to another manager (in his 30’s) that we could not schedule a client meeting on MLK day and he said, “Oh. The adulterer.” Ironically, his own polygamous ancestry didn’t matter. Ad hominin anyone?
Angela C., I’ve never heard that any Church leaders other than ETB thought King a communist agent. I understand that except for Hugh Brown all of the Twelve opposed the Civil Rights Movement, but not because they believed that King was a communist. Instead, they feared interracial marriage. When Dr. King died, HBB acknowledged it at general conference against the wishes of DOM who wanted the church to remain silent. I’m told “There is no evidence that anyone in the upper ranks of church leadership other than ETB believed that King was a communist.”
I’ve heard the womanizer/adulterer allegations. There is a lot more reported about that than the FBI/Hoover hotel eavesdropping, but I can’t evaluate its accuracy. Nor does it matter to me in view of JS’ and JFK’s and other leaders’ behaviors.
Where I am I don’t hear King disparaged by active LDS as either a communist or an adulterer. Instead, I hear praise of his oratory, his promoting non-violence, and his activism. Maybe those you and John W hear just don’t talk like that in my presence.
Interestingly, GBH was one of the movers to get the Utah legislature to recognized the King holiday See “The Last State to Honor MLK: Utah and the Quest for Racial Justice”, Matthew L. Harris and Madison S. Harris, Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Winter 2020), pp. 5-21, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/utahhistquar.88.1
I prefer to think of HBB and GBH and, in some respects SWK, as the relevant Church leaders, rather than ETB.
The difference between the cops and the rioters: the cops are organized, the rioters, for the most part, are an extreme part of an unorganized, amoeba-like demonstration. Most of the demonstrators do not like the rioters. But they come along anyway. Who can stop them?
The police are trained to use force to make people obey their commands. This is the mechanism they use to “legally” abuse people because, they say, they are just doing their jobs.
So you say, there are only a few bad apples in the police force. There are only a few bad apples among the demonstrators who cause the destruction.
The racism is a real problem, but so is just ordinary old police brutality. There was a study I read recently that said death by cop was the number one killer of young black men. But the problem doesn’t end with blacks because it was the second highest killer of young white men. More young white men die at the hands of police than anything except IIRC accidents. That tells me that only part of the problem is racism. The biggest part of the problem is the cops attitude of shoot first and ask questions later.
The police need training in deescalation.
I am a retired social worker and we are trained in deescalation, but then it is our only option as we can go into a domestic violence situation unarmed. We HAVE to deescalation because we don’t carry guns and we could end up the victim if we don’t know how to get people to cool off. The most dangerous situation police face is domestic violence, yet social workers face those same situations unarmed, and fewer social workers get killed than cops. Deescalation works.
And the police need to carry weapons that are non lethal. Surely the gun manufacturers can come up with something that will stop a criminal “dead in his tracks” without him being dead. Dart guns come to mind, with a quick and powerful tranquilizer. Tasers need to be close proximity, so they are not the best option, but if dart guns can stop a charging lion, they ought to be able to stop a teenager with a knife. But, it is the job of the police to find something that works better than killing children.
Just wanted to throw out a reference for statistics on police shootings. The Washington Post has very thoroughly categorized and tracked police shootings over the last 6 years. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/
The summary is that in the past 6 years there have been 1507 shootings with black victims (1057 hispanic, 2886 white). It is not the number one cause of death for young black males or for any subgroup you’d care to find and it’s not even close. Here’s the CDC link
Trying to parse the data more closely, this U. Michigan study claims that police use of force is the 6th leading cause of death among young black men.
Interestingly enough, when looking at the rates of shootings/fatalities by race and seeing the 2x rate for blacks vs whites, I can’t help but notice that males account for 93% of the victims of police induced fatalities. When do we start marching for “Male Lives Matter” or note the sexism inherent in our policing. (Yes my tongue is in my cheek…) Nonetheless, we would do well to ask questions about why 93% of the victims are male and ask the same questions about why the victims are black. It’s not all about systemic racism or racist cops.
My favorite commenter on this topic is John McWhorter, a liberal black linguistics professor who takes a much more nuanced position about all things race. Check out one of his podcasts for a different perspective.