I can already hear the disgruntled mutterings of a few hard-hearted individuals for my use of the “Tragic” adjective in the subject title. Some may prefer to extend the period of tragedy much further back into the 46 years George Floyd still walked upon this earth. Some will look upon his death as no great loss to society, and such an attitude, in the grand scheme of things, is equally applicable to all of us. Yes, we will be missed by our loved ones, our friends, colleagues and possibly a much wider audience if we have any amount of celebrity or fame, but the wider impact of our death will be very localised. We would be horrified if our departure from this life was surrounded and encapsulated with dishonour, reproach and ignominy, the very opposite of the dignity and compassion with which we would expect for any deceased human being, irrespective of their flaws. So I make no apologies for humanising his life, for those that wish to demonise the man are indulging in a pointless exercise that will only hurt and enrage the living. Likewise, I refuse to bow the knee and worship the martyr, for such politicisation is crude, mawkish and a gross caricature and distortion of the deeply embedded issues that continue to tear society asunder.
To set the scene, George Floyd was no saint. According to the New York Post, he had a chequered criminal past with convictions for assault and robbery, and other charges ranging from theft with a firearm to drugs. His post mortem revealed fentanyl and methamphetamine use, arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, as well as testing positive for Sars-Cov-2. At 46 years of age, and especially after spending time incarcerated in prison, he would not be in the peak of health. Add to that the additional stress of gang, street and criminal culture, and you have a toxic mix that will reduce your life expectancy greatly, even before any encounter with an armed, well trained and physically fit law enforcement officer. So one can clearly see the dice were already loaded, irrespective of the alleged criminality that led to his subsequent arrest. I am not making excuses here, just stating facts. One of the most important discussions society needs to have is how do we rehabilitate those previously found guilty of crime? Do we just want to push this embarrassing problem under the carpet, or do we actually want to consider the enormous long term impact that re-offending and recidivism has on society? For once initiated into the school of crime, very few escape the downward spiral. There quickly comes the point in every criminal life where the choice is made to cross beyond the point of no return, and once reached, the stakes become ever higher. So it was with George Floyd.
From the other side of the coin, law enforcement officers in the USA have an almost impossible task. Every potential encounter with a civilian is a potentially lethal interaction, unlike the UK where guns and knives are the weapons of choice of just the criminal class and most of our police are unarmed. This is one of the downsides of having an armed populace. The police must take an assertive and dominating position, for everyone you encounter is a potential threat to life. Add in the mix of alcohol and drugs, and it is very difficult to predict how someone will behave. I know of a white 5 foot 2 inch drug addict who kicked his way through two plasterboard walls, jumped from a third story window and vaulted, unaided, over two eight foot high garden fences. Later apprehended after being found stark naked and hiding in a metal dustbin, it transpired he was out of his tiny mind on Angel Dust, which gave him his almost supernatural athletic abilities. The only reason I know about all of this is because I was a witness to most of the events, and even senior detectives were shocked by his Houdini-like escape qualities. The drugs scene is even more unpredictable now with new designer concoctions being released frequently, so the end result on the street is potentially even more dangerous today.
Faced with such uncertainty, it is easy to see why such blatant police brutality as a neck hold is tolerated to a certain degree, albeit unofficially. In the US, law enforcement etc. have a wide latitude of mea culpa insofar as they have an almost unbreakable moral duty to ensure a prisoner cannot get a hold of their firearms at any cost. In the UK, while less of an imperative, we still have a worryingly high number of deaths in police custody. Across the pond, the fallout has been swift, the officers involved have been quickly dismissed, and face possible federal charges, as well as those of second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree murder. They face considerable time in prison if convicted, clearly something no police officer will relish, as well as personal bankruptcy through civil action. Quite rightly, it will be down to a court of law to establish the facts, the punishment and any mitigating circumstances surrounding this case. Has America learned from the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the brutal beating of Rodney King? How exactly this pans out legally, only time will tell.
When it comes to trial by media however, the jury has already passed their verdict and it is a open and shut case. A defenceless black man was unquestionably murdered by his privileged white master. End of story. Cue riots, even more injustice, stereotyping and destruction for the black community, and to add insult to injury, the potential abolition of the Minneapolis Police Department. In a prepared statement, City Council members said “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does.” Well, I don’t think it needs much in the way of intelligence or wisdom to predict exactly what will happen if such lunacy prevails. Anarchy. Not only will the quality of life plummet for Minneapolis residents, but you can bet your little red communist prayer book that every low-life of every hue imaginable will rush to Minneapolis on the understanding that any anti-social or illegal behaviour will not be adequately policed, with a corresponding increase in social deprivation and crime. Consequently, businesses and commerce will flee, and there will be a corresponding level of middle-class flight of all races from the area. A quicker and more reliable path to creating and reinforcing the ghetto could not be imagined. Between that, and the mass outbreak of demolishing historical statues both here and the US, the lunatics have finally been released from every asylum imaginable. What is so galling though, is rather than help the disadvantaged, such initiatives will ultimately punish them, for few will have the resources to move out of the area. Living costs will spiral upwards, as any remaining business brave enough to remain will need additional private security. Everyone has still got to eat.
The death of George Floyd is a tragedy on all accounts. For his family and friends, for the Minneapolis Police Department, for the world now writhing as the result of the most vicious and coordinated riots since the 1960’s. Any right minded individual will be deeply troubled by his death, as there clearly is a case to answer of how a routine arrest resulted in the death of an unarmed man, especially as he was restrained for what seems to be an extraordinary length of time. Sadly though, we can rapidly see the superficial politicisation of this death in custody morphing into a shallow, dehumanised, one-dimensional caricature of the African-American. All we hear is “Black Lives Matter – No justice, no peace”, yet the brain dead banshees screaming such programmed rhetoric fail to raise a single grime-encrusted fingernail about the largest cause of death for black Americans, bar none. 900 black babies are aborted every day in the USA, four times the number of White infants. Since Roe V Wade in 1973, that accounts for 20 million human souls, more than 10 times the number of Jews killed in Auschwitz, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. Which is why I cannot interpret the actions of the more violent protesters, and indeed those that condone them, as anything but a ruthless and globally coordinated power grab by a dangerous cabal, that in truth, cares sweet f*** all about the last moments of a 46 year old coloured man, other than what political capital they can make from it. Rather than clothing his death with a single thread of dignity or respect, all they are accomplishing by their actions is directly reinforcing the very stereotypes that quite probably led to the use of excessive force in the first place. As to the police, politicians and government officials who are “Taking the knee”, they are demonstrating a level of contempt and betrayal towards their fellow public servants that is breathtaking. It is perfectly reasonable to demand that any police officer who uses excessive force should expect the full weight of the law to fall upon them, and then some. Such behaviour is deeply offensive and corrosive, as it caustically erodes public trust and law enforcement are meant to be a pristine example of justice and equality and act beyond reproach. However, the four officers involved in this political, social and legal cataclysm, have already been tried in the court of public opinion and can now expect zero support from the establishment, their peers, and have been conveniently thrown under a bus. This, irrespective of the outcome of any forthcoming trial or investigation. Regardless of the outcome, they will be forever scapegoated, branded, their respective careers effectively over. Forget about the 24/7 pressure of policing in an increasingly violent, armed, drug addled and divided society, it is even more important now that we bury the most difficult and intractable social problems beneath a politically correct pile of saccharin, sweet perfumed dross that pretends to care, yet delivers nothing but long-term pain. The hypocrisy has indeed reached vomit inducing proportions. Those policing on the front line will be asking themselves “How far can I go?” Realising there is effectively no longer any esprit de corps, the answer will inevitably be “Not far.” For if your fellow officers are willing to openly side with the mob, no matter how misplaced their good intentions may be, the writing is on the wall. Police neutrality, objectivity and impartiality are crucial if they are to operate effectively. Such public demonstration of bias undermines every professional law enforcement officer and consequently makes his or her job ten times harder. Virtue signalling in such a manner, especially under the current circumstances, when mass civil disobedience is taking place, can only be dangerously counter productive be it in the short or long term. Worse still, those at the bottom of the heap lose twice as their communities are destroyed in the name of “Justice” by rioters and having an innefectual and compromised police force.
There is absolutely no doubt that America and the West have lost their way. We are rapidly losing sight of the concept of policing by consent, as the increasing social divisions cause people to abandon any respect for the traditional order and the corresponding move towards a more militaristic police force continues to gather apace. Middle class values have been all but destroyed, as a political fifth column has relentlessly chipped away at the underlying foundations for years. Social mobility is decreasing rather than increasing for many, and for those at the bottom of the pile, for whatever the reason, the American Dream is just that. A dream. The real burning issues and questions have remained unasked and unanswered for years, as we continue sliding towards an new insidious form of global anarchy by the day. The final words of George Floyd were “I can’t breathe.” That, along with his COVID-19 diagnosis, and the insistence “Supporters” take the knee, the very same physical gesture that led to his death, I find deeply unnerving, offensive and hypocritical. Such political pantomime does not deliver dignity, never mind one iota of justice. I just hope that the words inscribed on Martin Luther Kings’ headstone are as equally as true for George Floyd: “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I’m Free at last.”
© Rookwood 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file