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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Eight minutes and 46 seconds is a long time

Good sign - wish I had written it.
I do believe that in this time that we are in now, the voices of black people need to be placed front and center for the entire world to hear and learn from. So while I have a lot I could write about racism in America, I am going to keep this short.
Last Sunday, my wife and I walked in a Black Lives Matter march in our hometown, along with a couple hundred other people. The march down and up Route 9W ended at the town police station, where many of us knelt on the grass for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time Derek Chauvin's knee was on the neck of the late George Floyd. (If you haven't seen it yet, here's Dave Chappelle's searing commentary; here is also John Oliver's longer exploration. I commend both to your viewing - they're difficult to watch, but you need to watch them.)
What I want to say is that eight minutes and 46 seconds is a long time. Long enough for Chauvin to think about what he was doing, rethink it and be fine with it. It was long enough for the other three cops to be able to wrestle with it in their own minds and also come to the conclusion that they were fine with it. Try it yourself - nothing extends time quite like having to stay in an uncomfortable position.
Things can and do go wrong when cases like this get to trial. There's no guarantee that Chauvin and the other three will be found guilty of anything at all, much less murder. But no matter what verdict comes down, I will always think they knew exactly what they were doing, and of their own deliberate and free will, killed a human being they had no need to kill.
Say their names, remember their stories, fight for change and don't forget to vote on Nov. 3.

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