When Silence Is NOT Golden …

There is an old saying that, “Silence is golden”.  Sometimes that may well be true … I utter that line frequently when Trump is heard going off on another of his many tangents.  But, there are times when silence is criminal.

Last week, as you all know, a man by the name of George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee pressed into Mr. Floyd’s throat for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, causing Mr. Floyd’s death by asphyxiation.  Chauvin has been arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter, for which he could be sentenced to as much as 15½ years, or as little as 3½ years.  George Floyd will still be dead when Chauvin is released from prison.

But, there were four officers at the scene.  What did the other three officers do?  Not a damn thing.  They stood there looking on while their compadre killed a man for no reason.  In my book, they are just about as guilty as Chauvin, for they could have stopped him and instead they stood silently by.

Who were the other three officers?  We haven’t seen much about them in the media, have we?

  • Tou Thao, videotaped watching as Chauvin continued to press on Floyd’s neck with his knee, has left Minnesota, his lawyer confirmed Friday. Criminal defense attorney Robert Paule said Thao is “safely elsewhere” and that he couldn’t comment further.
  • J Alexander Kueng, one of the two first officers at the scene who helped pin Floyd down, is believed to be staying with family in Minneapolis.
  • Thomas K. Lane has left and didn’t tell anyone where he was going, a relative said Friday.

Although Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced murder and manslaughter charges against Chauvin and said he anticipated charges against Thao, Kueng and Lane, no such charges have been filed as yet … more than one week since Mr. Floyd’s murder on May 25th.  WHY???  It isn’t rocket science, Thao, Kueng, and Lane were complicit in the murder of George Floyd.  Are prosecutors hoping it will all simply disappear, as the three former officers have done?  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

enablersThere were bystanders who can be heard on the video yelling at Chauvin to let him go, to remove his knee, to no avail.  But the bystanders … where was the one brave enough to push Chauvin off Mr. Floyd?  Sure, he probably would have been arrested, but so what, if he saved a life?  He (or she) wouldn’t have stayed in jail long, once the facts of the matter were revealed.  Where was that brave soul?  Not in the group of gawkers, that’s for sure.  Would you or I have been that courageous bystander?  I like to think I would have, but when push came to shove, would I have, or am I all talk and no moxie?

Courage.  It’s something within us that we likely don’t even realize is there until one day something happens and we just jump into the fray.  Twice in my adult life, there have been situations where I found that my brain disengaged completely, adrenaline took over, and I plunged into the middle of a fight, once stopping a man from beating his wife, another time keeping a group of teens from hurting a younger child.  Would I have jumped on Chauvin?  I still cannot say.  It’s one thing to threaten a man with a rolling pin if he hits his wife again, and quite another to assault a police officer who has a gun!

The point that I’m trying to make, though, is a larger point.  I have friends … we all do … who are content to ignore what is happening in the world today so long as their own little lives aren’t affected.  I often hear, “Oh, I ignore the news … it stresses me too much.”  Not all of us can actively protest in the middle of the city, but we can all do something.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, write to your representatives and senators in Congress, make your voice heard!  If you can join a peaceful protest (note that I am NOT encouraging any of you to loot or riot, for I cannot cover your bail!), then by all means do so!  But if you cannot, there are other ways of being heard.  Condemn the racism, condemn the attacks on our free press, condemn the rollbacks of environmental regulations … stand for something.  Those who remain silent, who are more interested in posting pictures of their meals on Facebook or playing games rather than waken to the fact that our nation is in crisis, are guilty of supporting the destruction of this nation.  Period.  There are times that silence is golden, but these are not those times.

17 thoughts on “When Silence Is NOT Golden …

  1. Chauvin will no doubt be in protective custody inside. I do not suggest he is a coward but I note he had handcuffed his prisoner first.A crowd was there that day but were unarmed against a tightly grouped army of 3 well armed cops. Who knows whet would have happened. I’d like to believe I would have approached and using my sticks pushed Chauvin off saying please get off the prisoner all the time. Who knows what the three cops might have done.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is very much a coward, and as you already know, had numerous complaints lodged against him prior to murdering George Floyd. I still like to think that I would have jumped on that officer and knocked him off of Mr. Floyd, and if he shot me, so be it. Again, though, it’s easy to say it, but maybe not so easy when actually faced with the situation. Sigh. This is not a good country after all.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Empathy is not simply a matter of trying to imagine what others are going through, but having the will to muster enough courage to do something about it. In a way, empathy is predicated upon hope.” – Cornel West. Given my age and lack of strength against armed policemen, I cannot say that I could have mustered enough courage to physically intervene. I hope and believe that I would not have remained silent, but would have screamed at the top of my lungs at them, though apparently the addition of my voice would have been of no help to George Floyd. If you are not familiar with Cornel West, you may not know that he is a highly educated philosopher, a political activist, a social critic and an author. A few years ago, I read the 25th anniversary edition of his 1993 book “Race Matters” and highly recommend it. I have not always agreed with West’s views, particularly regarding the Obama presidency, though he did have some valid points. West has always been an advocate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work. Should you be interested, he has an opinion piece in The Guardian dated June 1, 2020 : “A boot is crushing the neck of American democracy.” Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The beginning quote … so very true. I think that like me, had you been there, you might have had an adrenaline surge and surprised yourself by kicking the sh*t out of that that officer! At the very least, your voice would have been heard. No, I’m not familiar with Cornel West, but I’m definitely going to look into his book. And, I will be checking out the article in The Guardian! Thank you for the recommendations. Hugs!

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  3. Agreed. Citizens must get off their keyboards and act locally. Focusing on the federal government is way less productive than trying to make changes in your state. Trump and his petulance is a big distraction. He plays the game better than others so everyone is off balance always reacting to him. Anyway, lots of factors at play here and in other “blue on black” violence throughout history. The War on Drugs was a chance to militarize our police forces. Many police are ex-military and not in the right frame of mind to be cops. You can’t “untrain” a killer. To “protect and serve” is just a catchy phrase. Also, Minneapolis Police have a long history of using neck restraint tactics with bad outcomes, just not death. — https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/minneapolis-police-rendered-44-people-unconscious-neck-restraints-five-years-n1220416 — My theory is that complacency had kicked in and the other officers assumed things were not out of the ordinary with Floyd. Also, I believe we also had a situation of bystander apathy – which is unfortunately all too common in this country, with people recording instead of helping.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. There’s an old saying which I guess can be applied to this situation…”In for a dime, in for a dollar.” All 3 who stood or kneeled next to the “thug” who had is knee on George Floyd’s neck chose to allow that to happen, and are every bit as responsible for his murder. And they should have been charged by now…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is perfect for Trump. He galvanises his supporters who were starting to question the pandemic chaos. He gets to try to look like a war leader. He clearly loves being the big man….He splits the opposition. It distracts from the dead and unemployed. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Johnson is trying to do the same with the Pandemic. Use it as camouflage for a crash and burn Brexit.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are spot on about Trump. And worse yet, he still maintains a 40%+ approval rating, which in my book speaks volumes about nearly half the people in this country. From what I’m reading, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is exactly what Johnson is doing. I hear now that he’s back to the “herd immunity” thing, which is a fantasy … there is no such thing as herd immunity in this, for there is no evidence whatsoever that a person cannot contract the virus more than once. We both have idiots for leaders. Sigh. Hugs, dear friend. xx

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  6. Hello Jill there is another factor to look at. The skin color of the bystanders who were there. A white person would have interfered and simply gotten beaten up badly. After all it seems police feel disrespecting their authority is the highest crime one can commit. However a POC would have been on the ground dying next to Floyd. In fact the racist macho cops would have loved it as another chance to beat and humiliate another black person. OT. Just watched a video of militarized police all dressed up as swat / riot gear loving the chance to battle protesters, causing disturbances in peaceful protesters so they could attack the protesters. In another video police walk up a suburban street yelling for people to get into their homes. In their homes, not in doorways or on porches. The shot paint balls at a couple people on their own porch? The shooters were loving it, the leader yell “Light them up” before the shooters started to shot. Are we a police state nation now? Has the establishment become so unchanging that we are now China or North Korea? Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • And such behaviour is lauded by the clown sitting in the Oval Office … er, rather, in his safe underground bunker. We are, I believe, on the brink of becoming a police state, or possibly, if Trump has his way, living under martial law. I know what’s wrong in this country, know what needs to happen, but sadly I have no idea how to even make a start at making it happen. Yes, the November election, but even if we are able to oust the madman, there is still that culture of racism, still those who will turn a blind eye or worse yet, participate in the white supremacist movement. How do we change this? Sigh. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jill. We have to get rid of the racist Republican senators as well. Tom Cotton went on Fox to say every racist trope possible about black people. tRump told the governors to dominate the streets but also to pass laws tRump wanted because he stacked the courts with people who will rule as he says for them to do. Yes he bragged about it that way. I read today that several intelligence analysts said they have seen this stuff in countries before, ones that are soon to fail completely or are banana republics. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • I fully agree! I saw Cotton today calling for military intervention in the cities, just after Mark Esper said “No” to the same. Some speculate that Cotton is hoping to replace Esper once Trump fires him, as is likely given that he stood up to him for a change. This nation is on fire, and I lay much of it at the feet of the GOP. What Trump has done and said in the past week is definitely the typical lead up to an authoritarian regime, and Congress sits on their arses twiddling their thumbs. I hope they are all voted out in November! Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: When Silence Is NOT Golden … — Filosofa’s Word – Get Inspired Today

  8. There are times I got involved; there are times I did not get involved. When I was young I was always the involvee. I had a red-flashing WEAKLING on my forehead. I never fought back. Finally the bullies gave up. I was no fun for them. (Apropos of nothing.)
    What is it in us that makes us move forward, or causes us to stand back? It’s always a “spur-of-the-moment” decision for me. There seems to be a line in the sand of my brain. Cross the line and I can’t go back; don’t cross the line and I can’t go forward.
    I’ve never been where a life depended on my choice, but then how would I know that a life is going to depend on my action. I think by the time the onlookers realized Floyd’s life hung in the balance, it was too late to move forward.
    But the same goes for Chauvin, he couldn’t let Floyd breathe, he’d look weak in front of his fellow cops. How stupid is that? He won’t last long if he is sent to prison. Is that reason enough to let him go free?

    Liked by 4 people

    • As you say, it seems to usually be a spur of the moment thing, but I cannot understand how anybody could simply stand and watch what Chauvin did. In answer to the last question … no, it is not reason enough and whatever happens to him in prison is no less than he deserves. I hope they kill him.

      Liked by 1 person

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