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.
There 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.