If you don’t blog about current events and just carry on with your normal cheerful, everyday nonsense, are you unkind or tone deaf?
Part of me wants to leave George Floyd alone. Because… well… I don’t have anything new or profound to say that hasn’t already been said. Also, while I can pretend to know what discrimination feels like, I really have no idea. I have never been discriminated against and so I would have to invent what that might feel like and how I would react… and really, having to do that from my supine position on my sofa in front of the fire feels like a stretch. So I prefer to take other people at their word about how endemic or prevalent this sort of thing is. Also George Floyd was American. And since I’m not that, I feel like any commentary I provide is at best third hand.
I can talk about Collins Khoza though. Collins was killed on the 10th, April 2020 in Alexandra, which is a township near me. I use to drive past it everyday on my way to work. (as far as I understand) Collins was drinking a beer in front yard with his brother in law when an combined police and army patrol came upon them an argument ensued about social distancing and the consumption of said alcoholic beverage. Collins was pushed and shoved about… but apparently left in robust health. The coroner report would state he died of blunt forced trauma to the head.
As of today, almost two months later, no one has been arrested. All officers and soldiers involved were at work until recently when the court ordered their suspension with pay. An internal probe into the soldiers conduct by the defence force has cleared them of any wrong doing.
Both Floyd and Collins died at the hands of the people that are paid with their taxes to defend and protect them. One persons death sparks a movement. The other, nary an apology or even hope for restitution. I can only conclude that not all death is equal in its outcomes. Or indeed in its ability to invoke in us a reaction.
Having said all that… we hold the police (and the army) to incredibly high ethical and moral standards. Having been in both the army and police reserves I know first hand that these are just people. Normal people. And like with any cross section of society some of them will be good people. And some will be the worst villains imaginable. I also know that, while these people chose their profession, they also see the worst of society every single day. Often viscerally. ‘When you stare into the abyss, the abyss also stares back at you’. But we choose to focus our attention narrowly one area, but largely ignore the underlying substrate. We also choose to abdicate our responsibility to each other to a third party and then get upset when they don’t do a good job of it.
I’m just typing out loud. I don’t really have any cute solutions. Being a Libertarian I like to imagine a world without police (and no armies with which to wage war). But also a world where, because we take ownership of our actions and don’t hurt each other or take each others stuff, we don’t need these instruments of the state to ‘police’ us.
Obviously a pipe dream, since no government, elected or otherwise, will ever give up its armed enforcers and no citizenry will ever take on that much responsibility for the society in which they live.