Two Midwestern cities. Two protests. Two entirely different reactions from law enforcement.
The juxtaposition between the way in which police dealt with protesters in Lansing and Minneapolis demonstrates everything you need to know about race relations in this country.
In Lansing, armed right-wing mostly white people stormed the Michigan Capitol building and got right up in the face of police. They were protesting their supposed “civil rights,” to get haircuts, eat in restaurants and infect each other with a deadly disease that has now killed more than 100,000 people.
In Minneapolis, unarmed black people -- and an encouraging number of whites -- attempted to protest an outrageous murder perpetrated by four now-fired police officers.
In Lansing, the extremists were met with restraint, even though lawmakers felt so unsafe that some resorted to wearing bulletproof vests.
In Minneapolis, the protesters were met with tear gas and rubber bullets.
The leeway that has been given to the stay-at-home protesters in city after city, and most notably Lansing, has been baffling. They have defied local mandates and endangered the health of themselves and us all. They don’t physically distance, they don’t wear masks, and they have frequently protested, inexplicably, armed to the teeth with automatic weapons.
Their actions are helping to spread a lethal virus, and they have been allowed to proceed unencumbered, without arrests or so much as a citation.
Meanwhile, the protesters in Minneapolis have legitimate complaints about the fact that cops in this country can’t seem to do their job without killing people. More specifically, cops in Minneapolis can’t seem to do their job without killing people.
Derek Chauvin, the man whose knee-to-the-neck restraint technique killed George Floyd, has been condemned nationwide. Even fellow police, who are ordinarily so quick to defend their own, have found his actions to be more than reckless.
“The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing and should be of concern to all Americans,” read a statement from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, according to Yahoo News.
Floyd was killed Monday. Today is Friday. There are several videos that show clear evidence of what happened and contradict the conveniently inaccurate account given by law enforcement, that Floyd supposedly resisted arrest. And yet, remarkably, still no criminal charges have been filed. What does it take?
The Lansing protesters have had their gripes heard. In state after state, including Michigan, society is reopening despite public-health officials' warning that it is too soon.
In Minneapolis, a news conference on Thursday in which everyone expected charges to be announced disappointed in every way, setting the stage for the city to be set ablaze.
Martin Luther King, Jr., called rioting, “the language of the unheard,” and we are seeing a reaction from a community whose pleas for justice, respect and common decency have been ignored. People are furious, and they have every right to be.
Nobody supports arson, destruction of property and looting, but it’s pretty damn difficult not to comprehend the rage at this point.