So far I’m not a big fan of 2020. I have a hip that is taking time to get used to, the only 19 I’m getting in the COVID-19 is 19 extra pounds. The country is burning and no one has answers and a new fire that burned down the food pantry depleted a already low inventory of food. Something’s gotta give.

The nation watched in horror and was quick to judge the actions of the rouge cop who held his knee on a man’s neck causing him to die. What’s worse, other officers stood by and allowed this to happen. People were quick to judge because there is always two sides to every story, but in this case, it’s pretty clear. George Floyd died at the hands of a bad cop. Now the nation is revolting and it’s not a good time to be wearing blue.

People are gathering in protest of the treatment of Floyd and rightfully so. There will be more that comes out of this. But make no mistake, the entire event could have been avoided.

History has a way of repeating itself. And in the wake of the Los Angeles riots, it appears as if we have learned nothing. We need action and leadership now.

In LA, Rodney King was beaten beyond recognition. He lived, sued the city and became a millionaire. After the officers who assaulted him were acquitted, the city went to hell and a hapless truck driver, Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck by an angry mob and beaten with a brick and got nothing. In the aftermath of Denny getting his brains bashed in, not one riot ensued nor was there any looting. California was devastated and since then there have been no plans to ensure safety in the likely event that another racially-charged incident will happen. Since that time, there have been dozens of racially-charged incidents.

Recently, a white cop killed a black man and the nation, both black and white want answers. It took two days of rioting, looting and destruction of local, sustainable businesses before the cop was arrested. Since then, other people have died. Some died defending their business from thugs. Some died from gunshots fired by thugs and more will continue to die from the rioting. Again, make no mistake; these are riots, not peaceful protests.

I have always said if you want something done right, follow the lead of Pikeville. Monday, there was a very respectful, powerful and emotion-filled peaceful protest. It included words and testimonies from white and black people who are downright frustrated that, in this day, the racial inequities are so apparent.  It went off without a hitch. The rest of the country should follow our lead.

The right to peacefully assemble is in our Constitution. But nowhere does it say that you have the right to destroy property, loot and kill people for your cause.

Martin Luther King never looted or destroyed property, but he changed the world.

Governors of states are allowing the destruction. The president wants to rule with an iron fist and nothing is working. The country needs leadership and a plan. We need a plan to stop the looters, destruction and violence, a plan for police reform and training.

The president’s plan of “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” is not a plan. It incites more anger. However, his extreme measures are only because the governors can’t or wont make the hard decisions to use force to end the riots.

A leader needs to come out and declare that action will be taken against anyone who violates civil laws regardless of skin color. White people are defacing black-owned businesses and they need to go to jail.

Leadership should demand the nation’s law enforcement be reformed.

Law enforcement officers are already on edge. They deal with the dregs of society and everywhere they turn someone is lying to them or trying to harm them in some fashion. They have to make split second decisions and answer the call. Calls about domestic violence, calls about car wrecks, drug deals and what’s more horrific is when kids are involved. What most cops see is not for the average person.

And they do it because they believe they can make a difference. It’s certainly not about the pay, because cops don’t get paid enough.

They need better outlets for support. All the cops I know say they never want to draw their weapon and that it’s their last option. Taking the life of another human is not on their agenda. I understand that not every cop is bad.

Regular psychic evaluations should be required. Ample time off should be mandatory. Better training is required and they need to learn to keep their emotions in check. If they are distracted by personal finances, relationships, they will respond accordingly. And when they have been through a traumatic situation, they need time to decompress.

The good cops need support but the downright evil ones need to be identified and terminated from the force and never be able to carry a weapon or be in any position of authority.

But we are not seeing or hearing that rhetoric. We see destruction, violence and the threat of absolute power with no compromise and no middle ground. It’s anarchy.

Every thug, and every thug cop need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And, once found guilty, maximum fines and jail time should be mandatory.

I hope to say thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times again next week.

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