Today Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, began in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The death of Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, under the knee of police officer Chauvin, who is 45 and white, sparked dramatic civil unrest in the United States. The murder was captured on video by onlookers who tried to intervene as Floyd cried for help, said he couldn’t breathe, called for his mother, and then died.
The Floyd murder case speaks for itself. It sickens us all, as do the mass shootings throughout our lives. I am 71, and am experienced enough to know it is not likely to stop before my death. Yes, I hope it will, and will fight against the slaughter.
As to the coronavirus, I and my wife are fully vaccinated, still wearing masks and acting according to CDC guidelines. It is prudent, smart and will help the community to rid ourselves of this menace.
We hope you all feel the same way, because none of us can do this alone!
If Derek Chauvin's intent was to restrain George Floyd, he accomplished that as soon as Mr. Floyd was on the pavement. If he thought he needed to kneel on Mr. Floyd's neck to "teach him a lesson" - as if this experience could have taught Mr. Floyd anything he didn't already know about the dangers Black people face when they are arrested in our country - that too he had already accomplished in less than a minute. The remaining 7 or 8 minutes of Chauvin's kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck was deliberate torture, and when this continued past Mr. Floyd's calls for help as he breathed his final breaths, when this grown man was in his last waking moments, thinking of and then calling out for his mother as he died unnecessarily and unjustly, what was Chauvin thinking and feeling? Obviously, only he knows, but judging from the expression on his face he was not worried about or even much interested in the fact that he was snuffing out a human life with an act of wanton violence, under the eyes of horrified onlookers. That no one intervened physically to throw officer Chauvin off his victim is a testament to the justifiable fear of the police shared by many Americans, especially People of Color.
Of course Derek Chauvin has a right to be represented by a competent lawyer who will try however he can to prove his client's innocence or at least that there were mitigating factors and that Mr. Floyd died from a combination of traces of illicit drugs in his blood and pre-existing health problems, not from the physical stress and damage caused by a police officer kneeling on his neck. Our Constitution (6th Amendment) guarantees the right to counsel.
At least in this case, an instance of unprovoked police violence was witnessed by multiple bystanders, captured on several smart phones and shown to all Americans in all its horror. There was no way to simply pass it off as an accident or a case of the police reacting in self-defense or out of fear that a "suspect" was armed and intended to commit violence. The prosecutor had little choice but to bring this to trial. And now we will find out if our Constitution and our laws are worth the paper they are printed on.
Today I’m once again struck by the level of crazy that we’re enduring. I want to cry out “*How* did we get here?” But of course I know the answer to that because I’ve been reading this newsletter.
For any of you who have been keeping journals of your thoughts since 2016, or since the pandemic began, permit me to urge you to pass those writings on to the next generation, and to urge them to pass on to the next and the next after that your precious documentation of what it was like to live through all this...so that future deniers can be confronted with on-the-ground truth about what happened and what didn’t.
Wow that was a long sentence.
And, as always, thank you Dr. Richardson for helping us see the long strands of our troubled history.
On the COVID history, a semantic issue: Trump and his people took the COVID story VERY seriously - as a threat to the economic boom and therefore to his re-election chances. While I watched all this unfold on the TV news, I remember thinking, "He's seeing this entirely through a political lens and not as a public health crisis with American lives at stake". Like so much else, it was always all about him - and his desire to stay in power, whatever the cost. What's so very sad is that he nearly got reelected with his trash talk, and now he has taken tens of millions of people (mostly, though not entirely white men, and no, they are NOT all "working class") down the rabbit hole with him. Now these people are walking around unmasked and refusing vaccination. Dr. Walensky is right to be scared.
Too bad that the 50% of white male morons who won't get the vaccination don't catch it and die. That would really Make America Great Again.
Birx can try all she wants, she's never going to bleach that stain out of her reputation of toadying to Presidunce Dumbass. She knew last fall what she said last night, and she was willing to stay silent and stay employed and let him nearly win, rather than resign and tell people the truth. Like Tim Miller said - she's a complete and total failure. Everything she did in her life before is nothing compared to her abject failure and lack of courage last year.
The knee of white authority on the neck of a prostrate, helpless black man is a powerful metaphor, easily understood by every black American, and a teaching moment for every white American who believe we live in a post-racial world.
If there is an acquittal, combined with current attempts to suppress the black vote, it will confirm long-held assertions that all black Americans live in a police state seperate from the constitutional democracy in which white Americans live.
There will be hell to pay.
Wow, the paragraph about Trump's tweets on being a "ratings hit" with his obscene daily virus briefings was a horrible reminder.
At age 75, I am sooo very grateful that I am alive to experience the American dream again, thanks to President Biden. Thanks to all of the HCR community, too. I am comforted to read your thoughts and ideas. I am comforted by the civility of the conversations. Not much of that around where I live. My family members are gracious and kind, silently agreeing that we do not discuss politics when I am in the room. That is a hardship, because I am so happy about things that President Biden does and says. Bless you all.
9 minutes of kneeling on someone’s neck can not be anything but deliberate. 9 minutes of listening to someone in great pain plead for his life and die. What kind of hate allows someone to do that to a fellow human being. Personally I think justice will have been served if Chauvin is convicted of murder and spends the rest of his life in prison. As to the coronavirus I am happy to say I’ve had my 2 shots, and my husband got his first shot last night. I praise President Biden and Vice President Harris for all they have been able to do so far.
What a contrast between two administrations. I’m so grateful to be living under this one. And the trial is an important reminder that we still need to reckon with all that white hate and callous disregard for so many people in America. It sickens me.
Dereliction of duty is defined as “shameful failure of one’s obligation of duty”. I have written these words previously, usually in regards to djt. History will expand the group found wanting in our national time of need. But djt was the Commander in Chief of the United States. From the very outset his presidency was a failure. He was guilty of an impeachable offense in his dealing with Ukraine. The Senate republicans were guilty of dereliction of duty in the trial, along with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The senators committed perjury and it was suborned by the inaction of the Chief Justice.
But djt’s greatest failure, and thus crime, was his refusal to lead in the pandemic. And he knew the truth, subsequently revealed in Woodard’s book, that the threat was real. He choose his own fate over hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Those guilty of not standing up to djt and speaking the truth when it could have made a difference will be endless in number. And the same for the people in uniform standing motionless while Chauvin cravenly murdered Mr. Floyd. No jury can erase the guilt we all witnessed on that video. Hopefully they will confirm it.
Thankfully djt is no longer president. His presence, like Covid-19, infects us. The vaccine we need to survive is the complete history. Then we need “enough of us”.
"Today Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, began in Minneapolis, Minnesota. *** In our adversarial justice system, each side tries to present the best case it can. The defense is doing what it is paid to do, that is, to defend the accused."
Yes, and let's not get too far out in front of things. Murder is a judicial decision, and we aren't there yet. Does it look, walk and sound like murder? Of course. But a fundamental premise of our democracy is the right to be presumed innocent. Trump, and other autocrats, poo-poo the very notion. Chauvin is a killer from everything we could see. And, hopefully, the jury will see a murderer.
Dr. Heather Cox Richardson is my balm. My solace. I don't think I would have made it through the past four years and the continued assault by the few on the rights of the many. I feel so proud to be able to share her insights and knowledge with friends who don't read or study. The American public educational "system" - not the teachers - has created decades of ignorant voters. I watched the decline from the 80's. Stuffing 36 children in a classroom. Out of date textbooks. In 2000 I was tutoring in LA where textbooks still labeled Russia as the U.S.S.R.. UCLA complainted about the quality of students applying and it was discovered that the very teachers it was complaining about graduated from UCLA. Objective Pronouns have now taken the place of Subjective. I read once a quote that, " As a country's language goes so goes the nation." Our biggest industry is war. Our history has been whitewashed. I feel so strongly that I must do what I can to grow truth and change. Tequila helps😊
Dr. Birx is a moral coward who should never get any more airtime. I bet she has a book deal in the works, though.
Meanwhile, Connecticut has deployed the first of many FEMA vaccination vans in one of our chronically underserved cities where there is a large population of Black and brown people, the essential workers who carried us through this crisis. Thank you, President Biden!
The murder of George Floyd is so upsetting! Chauvin with his hands in his pockets, his sunglasses not even budging from his head, arrogant look on his face, chewing gum. Turns my stomach! Of course he killed George Floyd! But will they find him guilty is not a sure thing. Probably not! What ever happened to the story that they worked together at a bar as security and had an argument one night? Was that fabricated? Help us all when that decision comes down!
And can we just not with trump? Another one that is long overdue to be locked up! We need to stop giving him any kind of attention! I know, it’s history.
If the GQP men want to self cull I guess that is their choice. My concern is the stress they are placing on their families and the healthcare workers. I am amazed even at this late stage daily in my work I am arguing the reasons to get the vaccine with patients. My dogs house-trained easier than this.
One of the aspects of the Floyd-Chauvin case that has bothered me from the beginning is that they had both worked together at some point which perhaps speaks to Chauvin's mindset. Perhaps he had a self-perceived axe to grind with Mr Floyd. That the defense will put Mr Floyd on trial and not his client is perhaps the only defense those lawyers can think of given the evidence of the videos.