Civil Unrest and the Death of Innocence.

Civil Unrest and the Death of Innocence.

I awake from a sound sleep and I hear gun fire, lots of gun fire.

I know what gun fire sounds like and it doesn’t sound like fireworks.

It sounds like it is a couple of blocks away… so I fall back asleep. They most likely won’t come my way.

I live in the U.S.A. and I travel and sleep on the streets (in a small RV) on the south side of many big cities.

I exhibit at juried art festivals throughout the U.S. and after twenty four years I’ve seen life on the streets.

It’s unsettling to realize that I know the sound of gun fire and feel I can calculate the distance.

Ten to fifteen shots were fired and only one person died, in the U.S.A. that is cause to be grateful.

They must have been really poor shots, certainly not trained professionals.

Unfortunately, we have come to Saint Paul on the tail end of another police killing.

We came up shortly after Philandro Castile was shot and killed and now George Floyd.

As Minnesotans we all feel complicit in that we’ve inconvenienced communities all over the world by causing protests.

We’ve been overzealous with our police forces and they have been killing a disproportionate number of black citizens in our state.

Our family has seven degrees of separation between both of the victims that have been killed. They are deaths that we can’t escape.

We drive by their memorials every time we come to visit our grand children.


Ten days ago the killing of Floyd George was caught on cell phone video and it has left Minneapolis and St. Paul reeling with outrage and anger, everyone searching for an answer.

It would have gone completely unnoticed, just another day in the twin cities except it was filmed by a concerned citizen.

Our minds try to calculate the damnable video evidence and we review in our minds how law enforcement people spin the visual evidence into something other than what we are actually seeing.

It runs like a documentary, the veteran police officer is showing his rookie cops how to mercilessly dominate his victim.  These tactics are called “warrior training” and are taught by the I.D.F.  Police departments throughout the U.S.  invite these Israeli soldiers into their communities.  Seldom realizing they were once called “peace officers”.  Now using military tactics in community settings.  Law enforcement officers responding to the fear inspired by Osama Bin Laden now embrace the militaristic attitudes of an invading army.

Does America need soldiers instead of compassionate professional policemen?  What happened to the the “beat cops” that were an integral part of our communities?  The cops that could be seen on street corners full filling a public relation role that would garner needed information about bad guys?  Today they are recognized by the specialized car they drive, almost separated from the public.

The rookies were on their first days of being on the job I suspect they earnestly believe in their mission to serve and protect.

They presumably are wanting to do good for our society.

Their superior officer causally puts his hand in his pocket and nonchalantly looks at the camera, convinced that nothing would ever happen to him.

His knee is firmly on the victims neck until the hapless man expires.

The rookie cops (of 3 or 4 days) are being trained by this “veteran” law enforcement official to exude confidence and power.

The majority of the public has come to realize from this unfortunate video that the police have clearly not been able to police their own.

We all heartily support “professional” policeman. They however they have proven time and time again that they haven’t the ability to rid themselves of the lawless members in their profession.

The human capacity for self deception is immense and in quiet moments we wonder if they reflect on how they are perceived by the public.

We appreciate and acknowledge the trials and tribulations that professional officers endure on a daily basis.

We appreciate that they have willingly volunteered to serve the public.

Alas, with this latest murder we realize their inability to cleanse themselves of these unrighteous and unprofessional officers that continue to serve.

Police killing innocent people is a broken societal promise.

Myself, my children and my perhaps my grand children will be haunted by these deaths.

We should all be haunted. We have given them their guns, their armor, their badge, their power.

What will it take to find justice and what will it take to find absolution?

———————————END PART ONE

3 Replies to “Civil Unrest and the Death of Innocence.”

  1. Thought provoking article Bill, I guess we could all benefit from “walking a mile in policemans’ shoes” and think about how we would deal with an emergency call to a violent of non violent incident. What state of mind would we be in? I often think about how easy it was to kiss and cuddle my young children and babies at the rugby club, and then have 80 minutes of controlled and uncontrolled unarmed violence of variable nastiness. Then back to being a loving dad when the game was over. The difference of course, is, policing is not a game. The point of the need to change mental states of mind so quickly is key to a measured response to the threat. The “shoot first, ask questions later” has its place , but cannot be used without question all the time. Similarly a knee in the neck.

  2. Thanks Christopher, I often ponder your “Bobbies” response in the United Kingdom. A violent and unruly person gets hit on the knee with a night stick and everybody gets to go home and hug their children. I reflect on our vernacular, it is changing in the U.S.A. My friends were always called “peace officers” now the term “law enforcement officers” seems to have taken it’s place. Militarization seems to be an ever evolving focus in communities all over the U.S. bk

  3. Bill what you write said it all. Was well put. The problem, one is that White police men are afraid of Blackmen.
    If this had been a Black officer we would NEVER be in this situation.
    No way.
    I do not think some one passing a counterfeit $20 is an emergency.
    This is all over $20!!

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