By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

I have watched the video of the arrest and law enforcement techniques used against George Floyd in Minnesota.  While I tend to give the police the benefit of the doubt because I do not believe that most officers are power hungry racists, as I have heard them described, I do recognize there is a segment of law enforcement that does not follow proper policy or guidelines, and can be problematic when it comes to their relationship with the public.  In the case of the police officers’ handling of the arrest of George Floyd, there is no room for any benefit of the doubt.  The video clearly shows an officer abusing his power with his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd, and three other officers on the scene doing nothing to mitigate the situation.  The individual was not resisting, and throughout all of the video there is no sign of resistance.  Also, the neck is very fragile, and I am sure there is plenty of training that involves immobilizing a person if he is a problem (of which George Floyd was not) that involves techniques other than pressing all of one’s weight on the neck of an individual for a long period of time until he is dead.

The offending Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing third-degree murder manslaughter charges for his actions (I believe, based on what I saw, second-degree murder charges would have been more appropriate since the action was obviously intentional, and video shows Floyd had actually been put in the police car, and then was dragged out so that Chauvin could put his knee on the man’s neck).

The city of Minneapolis has been in protest-mode since the death of George Floyd, including rioting, and the destruction of the police 3rd precinct facility which led to the police retreating and abandoning the building, which then resulted in the rioters storming the facility and working to destroy it.  The rioting has also included looting of various businesses.  Protesting has also erupted around the country in other large cities.

Racism is being blamed, white supremacy is being argued as the cause behind this, and many of the politicians are discussing race relations as it relates to the death of George Floyd.

This is not about racism.  This is not about generalized police brutality.  It isn’t even about police training.  This is about our hearts.  This is about America’s denial of the principles that this country was founded upon.

The basis of our system is the rule of law.  The rule of law is the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” as the Declaration of Independence puts it.  The police are not the rule of law, it is their job to uphold it. The judges and politicians are not the rule of law, it is their job to uphold it.  And We the People are not the rule of law, but it is our responsibility and duty to operate within its principles.

Liberal Left readers at about this point are now likely shouting that what I just wrote is null and void because slavery was practiced by the United States at the time of the establishment of these principles in our written constitution.

Most of the Framers of the Constitution were against slavery, and many believed the United States would ban slavery State by State within their lifetime.  George Mason actually refused the sign the Constitution once it was complete even though he had been in the convention through the entire four months.  His reasons?  A lack of a Bill of Rights, and he was disappointed that slavery was not abolished through the U.S. Constitution.  While most of the signers abhorred slavery, and they were putting forth a document designed to secure liberty and to fulfill Jefferson’s iconic written phrase from the Declaration, “all men are created equal,” they believed in the sovereignty of the States, and that it needed to be through the States that emancipation should come.

The principles of the Constitution, from the first seven articles, and through the various amendments, beginning with the Bill of Rights, are all about the rule of law, and our Natural Rights.  Which is where we are falling short.

Our leaders, from law enforcement to the politicians, are tasked with upholding the rule of law and securing our Natural Rights.  The rule of law is self-evident.  We know right and wrong.  We understand what our moral responsibilities are, both to ourselves, and to those around us.  We understand the basic rules of life, the expectations of God through our moral obligations, and the requirement to treat others as we would have them treat us.  That is all a part of the rule of law.

When a politician or a member of law enforcement acts in a manner outside the rule of law, we are reminded that the occurrences are becoming more frequent of that kind of activity.  Why?  Because we have departed from the rule of law, and thanks to secularism and collectivism, our leaders have been embracing the rule of man.  We have abandoned the concept of relying on the protection of divine Providence, and instead have settled on the blind rules of men and their quest for power.  When we abandon God and an individual-centric culture for collectivism and secularism, brutality by those who are supposed to be responsible for upholding he laws is not only likely, it will eventually become epidemic if we continue to abandon constitutional principles.

The rioters are also acting in a manner outside constitutional principles.  As a people we are expected to be a moral people who follow just laws, and practice our Natural Rights in a manner that does not interfere with other people’s rights.  In the First Amendment, the right to “peaceably assemble” is enumerated.  While, if government is tyrannical, we also have the right to take action to “alter and abolish” our government, that is not what we have here.  Demonstrators are acting in a manner outside what this whole country was founded on.  The way to fix violence by a police force that has members acting outside the rule of law is not to be violent, and act outside the rule of law.

Protesting is legitimate.  Rioting is not.  Protesting is a good response to something like what happened to George Floyd.  It is a way to be heard, and a way to voice one’s opinion that simply firing the officers involved in the death of George Floyd was not enough.  Rioting, looting, and destroying the businesses of one’s neighborhood is not acceptable.  The mindless destruction, in the long run, hurts the people the protesters claim to be standing up for.

Also, when we practice adherence to the rule of law, remember that also includes justice, not justice through violent protests, but justice through the due process.  Even for Derek Chauvin we must allow the process to do its thing.  Innocent until proven guilty, and he needs to be given all of the opportunities that exist through due process.  Our republic demands it.

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