Derek Chauvin was sentenced today for the second-degree unintentional murder of George Floyd. The sentence for Chauvin is 22.5 years in prison. For some, no number of years would be enough. I fear there will be civil unrest in Minneapolis tonight in protest of the leniency of the sentence. There may also be unrest in other parts of the country tonight. Parts of the country far removed from Minneapolis but turmoil by people who will loot, burn and raise hell in the name of George Floyd.
Since last year, the name of George Floyd has been used as a reason to create violence against innocent people and property. This violence will not bring George Floyd back to life, but for some, these acts of violence atone for his unfortunate death. It is all so sad that a tragedy for one person turns into retaliation against so many others-others that had nothing to do with the original act. What does it all prove? Not a damn thing.
George Floyd did not deserve to die in the manner that snuffed the life from his body. Derek Chauvin was wrong when he went too far in his effort to arrest or subdue Floyd. Nobody can justify what he did, which is why the jury took so little time rendering a guilty verdict. That part of the saga is black and white. How long Chauvin has to serve for his crimes is the issue. How long is enough to pay for taking a life? You will not get the answer here. I do not think a judge ever has the correct answer either.
Since last May, many things have happened in this country when George Floyd passed a counterfeit $20 bill and set off a chain of events ending in his death. Some may think that the unrest that ensued brought about real social change. Did it? How? What has changed that can justify the destruction of 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis? What has happened that explains the call for the defunding of Police and, in some cities, the actual cutback in funding and numbers of officers? What change has come about by naming town squares in honor of a man not deserving of such an action? George Floyd was not close to being an upstanding citizen. But, he did not deserve to die in such a fashion.
Since last May, we have seen constant civil unrest in major cities all across the country. Countless properties destroyed, life’s changed, families uprooted, all in the name of justice. Justice for whom? There has been nothing but injustice across the country in the past year. None of it has brought about the kind of change needed to bridge the broader division created by Floyd’s death and subsequent unrest.
It is time for everyone to take a step back. Both sides need to bring some sanity back to how we deal with situations as unfortunate as the killing and death of any human being. There is no amount of unrest, destruction, or time served to bring back a life. Maybe we should prevent bad situations rather than lamenting and trying to right wrongs with more wrongs.