Seems like a very long time since normalcy.
In the past week plus we’ve had the death of George Floyd which has touched a very raw nerve, leading to major protests and, hopefully, a re-examination of the way we police ourselves.
Lost, it seems, in all this furor was what led the police to be called on Mr. Floyd: My understanding is that he was at a store and tried to pay for items with a false $20 bill.
The man lost his life for $20, something so hard to get into your head that even the store that called the police on him have stated they wouldn’t have called had they know the over-reaction (to put it bluntly) it would have caused and have sworn off calling the police for any minor matters like this.
Its incredible, nonetheless, that someone lost his life for a measly $20.
While it is certainly possible the man knowingly tried to pass off the phony bill, its just as possible he received it in a transaction beforehand and innocently tried to use it.
I’ve worked in places where we have received phony bills. Hell, I recall one person tried to pass off a $100 bill that was actually -believe it or not- a $1 bill which was bleached clean and then the $100 pictures were pasted on it. Thus, the bill would, if the clerk checked, come out as “real” even if the value of it was phony.
Other times, the person who tried to pass it to us was -we thought- genuinely shocked to see the bill wasn’t real.
And there have also been times where I’ve gone to make a deposit in the bank and found that among the bills we had for the business, there was one -usually a high value bill- that was phony.
The bank didn’t call the police on us and we lost the money and time spent writing where we likely collected the bill and, if we could recall who gave it to us. Understand, this doesn’t happen every week but in some 30 years of business I’d say its happened at least two dozen times. Not bad, I suppose, for the length of time, but it happens and it sucks and I wish people wouldn’t do it but to lose your life for $20?
Moving along, we are also seeing some weird reactions.
“President” Donald Trump has been consistently doing the wrong thing, it seems, but its almost like we expect it from him now, so inept is his administration and he in particular.
It is disheartening to see looters setting fire to stores and robbing all items within, but it appears these provocateurs were a small number and, as time goes on, it appears they are being frozen out of the major protests which are -again it appears from watching the many news stories/perusing the internet- being led by people who don’t want these characters around them.
It is also disheartening to see some of the Police Officers and their overreactions, another number I fervently hope is very small when compared to the total number of people in the force.
Granted, no one wants to stand at the front lines and have people yell and curse -or worse- at them but some of the images we’ve seen, of officers abusing protesters who clearly weren’t doing anything that merited their overreaction, has been chilling. No one wants to see images of people bleeding or the aftermath of being hit with a rubber bullet and having their eye explode in its socket.
What has been heartening, however, is seeing the police officers who have shown empathy to those protesting or have maintained order without going crazy.
Yeah, I feel like there are more of them.
Reforms will come, I’m confident, because this time around we’re seeing almost everything filmed and no longer can a “bad apple” try to lie their way out of something ghastly they did.
Louis Brandeis is credited with writing sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants and, while he wasn’t necessarily writing about social movements, it applies.
Which brings us to the next thing, and its another depressing one: While one appreciates the peaceful protests and the changes they seek, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and I can’t help but think that in the next few weeks we are going to see a significant rise in people infected with Covid 19.
Perhaps the numbers won’t be so bad but I worry.
I really do.
We’re still in the middle of it, sadly, and the end doesn’t look to be in sight.
That day will come.
Soon, I hope.