George Floyd & the Uniform

May 28, 2020 § 2 Comments

“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated.”

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

The death of George Floyd is a public travesty, and a violent reminder that racism runs deep in the soul of our Nation.

A man was murdered by another human being – in broad daylight.

It was a public execution.

One of those humans wore a uniform. In our society the uniform presumes authority and respect – a public trust. By virtue of that uniform, he had power over the man he killed, even before their confrontation.

Everyone wears a uniform of sorts. It can be as formal as a badge and sidearm, or as constant as a title, such as ‘Mom.’ And, whether a badge or a clerical collar, and regardless of the nature of the calling, each one demands a certain expectation and trust. When that trust is violated, there are casualties.

People are killed. Lives are ruined. Hope is weakened.

Being enraged with this act is no more anti-cop than it would be anti-soldier to protest a war, or anti-clergy when outraged over ecclesiastical abuses. I know far too many good cops to allow someone like this to destroy the profound respect I have for the profession.

In fact, it is that deep respect that drives much of my outrage.

For those who take vows, to protect and serve, such violations erode the sacred trust they ask from the public.

Suspicion undermines respect.

Rage pollutes opinions.

Communities are fragmented.

Authority is corrupted.

In the coming days there will be protests, lawsuits, articles, accusations, explanations, and pronouncements. But don’t let the ambient noise divert your attention. Don’t let old patterns of justification pollute your thinking. Don’t let skin color segregate your perspective. Don’t allow a lifestyle to take your eye off the ball.

By any standard, on every level, this was a lynching.

It was murder.

A man with a family and friends literally had the life choked out of him in real time, so much so that it was caught on video.

Have you ever watched video of a lion pride hunting and killing their prey? One lion or lioness clutches the throat of the victim in its powerful jaws, while the others feed off the living, often howling prey. It is the savage, but instinctive reality of life in the wild.

Floyd pled – he howled – not even for release, but for air.

For oxygen.

How many breaths did it take for you to read this sentence? That’s all George Floyd asked for!

Breath!

The uniformed man refused to relent. He left his knee, and all of his weight, on his handcuffed prey, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, abusing his authority as license to kill. His fellow officers turned deaf ears to the man’s cries. They betrayed their uniforms – and their oath of office.

And George Floyd died. The story ended.

The Minneapolis Mayor proclaimed, “our city is going to be better off for it,” which is all good and fine, and hopefully there will be good that comes from this.

But not for George Floyd. He is gone. Once again, a person, created in God’s Image, was treated like a beast to be tamed, or prey to be hunted down.

Friends, this is not someone else’s problem!

“Come Quickly, Lord Jesus”

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