George Floyd lived, died and was set to rest on national television. CNN and MSNBC carried yesterday’s service live. It was heartbreaking but it was a call to action.
A fond hope: the trials of the four cops charged in the murder will not be televised. There aren’t many of us ink and electron-stained wretches who think live court sessions are a deterrent to justice.
This idea started with the circus trial of OJ Simpson in the mid-1990s. The judge’s lack of control, the celebrity power of the defendant and his legal team and its hair-splitting shenanigans showed us why this kind of show trial should never be broadcast.
The camera, trained on that jury of men and women who may have routinely convicted Simpson, could not vote “guilty” and returned to their Los Angeles area homes without fearing for their lives. And by the time the endless trial ended, every face of every juror was known to the people in their communities.
This anti-camera-ism was underscored later by the trials of accused baby killer Casey Anthony and accused boyfriend murderer Jodi Arias.
What would have happened at Nuremberg in some early day if Nancy Grace did live play-by-play the proceedings?
So, they sent George Floyd to his final rest in Minneapolis, as they had earlier of Eric Garner in New York. Garner died under similar circumstances, not all that long ago. His crime? Selling “loosies” individual cigarettes, on an uptown streetcorner.
Has anything changed following Garner’s takedown? No. You still can buy a pack of Marlboros for $13 in New York, and sell the loosies at a buck and a half each. That’s a better margin than Wal-mart makes on a pound of chopped beef or a couple of pounds of tomatoes.
More important, will anything change in Minneapolis? Maybe. Temporarily. But the underlying problems will persist.
Tribalism seems to run deep in the human hardwiring. But it can be overcome if we’d stop listening to our cerebral cortexes and just leave each other alone. Or -- the call to action? -- give the people we don’t like or whom we fear the hand up to which our laws and values have been telling us should be theirs.
NOTES FROM ALL OVER:
(MINNEAPOLIS) -- George Floyd tested positive for COVID-19. Both autopsies say that had nothing to do with his death.
(NEW YORK) -- The NYPD crashed its reputation for a kinder gentler way of handling protesters. A Police Dept. SUV plowed through a metal barricade and into a group of demonstrators.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them.
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© WJR 2020