George Floyd Protests: Balancing between the two Extremes

by Milan Pešović

Albert Camus famously said: “In a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger”. But how is the individual supposed to feel when faced with a multitude of illusions, deceptions and convictions. When even sitting at home and minding your own is grounds for someone to call you out and shame you? Sadly, this isn’t the opening to a fictional, dystopian world. This is America after the murder of George Floyd.

Let me start by saying – I condemn the use of violence. It is unacceptable in a civilized society. The only exception to this rule is for the individual as a means to defend themselves from an immediate act of violence. But because of the possible consequences of violence and the fact that we recognize the state’s monopoly on the use of force, it is of utmost importance to legally define the circumstances under which the person is granted legal immunity from the consequences of their action. At this very moment the American society is quite polarized, where one side sees fit to use violence as a way of protest and the other tries to defend the use of force by the law enforcement and some go even as far to advocate for martial law. And in the middle ground, between the two extremes, sits the average man, the person triggered by injustice who despises any kind of brutality. The kind of person whose voice can’t be heard from the cacophony coming from the one side and the other. The decent human being whose case I’m trying to make here. For that reason, I’ll use examples from both sides of the extreme to express why I disagree with them. 

First of all, I have bad news for Statists. Wearing a uniform doesn’t grant a person special rights to abuse in order to achieve or protect their “end goal”. Those sworn to protect and serve are entrusted with one of the most sacred duties in any nation, to maintain peace and protect the individual. They are the ones who have to be held to the highest standards. Their actions can inevitably change a person’s life or potentially end it. As was the case in the tragic passing of George Floyd. The man who came to be another victim of a foul system that creates and protects the minority of evil policemen. The extent to which police brutality goes has rightfully sparked the debate on what’s the point of keeping a qualified immunity for law enforcement officers. In practice, it serves to make it harder for victims and their families to mete justice. Ever heard of the expression: “Only wrongdoers should be worried”, that goes out the window with the legal consequences of the qualified immunity. Or rather the lack thereof.

The second bad news is for people who see fit to vandalize private property in order to express their rage. They try to justify the victim’s passing as a bigger loss than the property damage. They live with this false notion that the angrier they are, the higher their moral high ground has to be. They fail to see that the tragic loss of life as a result of police brutality and the violence towards small business owners can never be put in an equation in an attempt to justify. There is no excuse for destroying someone’s property. Their means of income and the result of who knows how many years of work. The veteran, who owns the deli around the corner sure as hell didn’t kill Mr. Floyd and neither did the Hispanic barber two blocks down, nor did the lady in the pastry shop. Yet all of them have to look over their shoulder and have a legitimate reason to feel unsafe regardless of them being decent, law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, some of the people who were bailed out are the perpetrators of those felonies. They get to walk free, supported by the fundraising, partially coming from celebrities and politicians affiliated with the Democratic party. They are being falsely portrayed as the victims of law enforcement. This goes even further, because it incentivizes their immoral and destructive behavior. Break a store. Loot it. Get bailed. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Actions like this are going to cause harsh reactions. The average Joe voting for Trump wants to see strength and competence from the leadership. And then starts the vicious cycle of violence. 

Yet violence itself isn’t the only threat we need to be wary about. An even greater danger lies underneath – collectivism. It comes in different shapes and forms. Every so often, it hijacks seemingly noble causes and pushes for radical agendas. Ones that disregard human life, liberty and property. It believes in the sanctity of life when it’s the tragic loss of life of a person whose fate can be misused to further collectivist goals. But not when a police officer of colour gets shot dead preventing the looting of a store. It sees fit to shame people who don’t participate in their actions, as seen by the trending of “white silence = white violence”. Targeting an entire population based on their race in a hateful manner. It doesn’t offer answers, but it raises questions with one in particular – Who am I, the individual?

Note from Editor: The views and opinions expressed on Speak Freely are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Speak Freely today and its editorial team. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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