(Official editorial of the Washington Examiner, May 30)

Civilization requires self-restraint. The terrible events in Minneapolis this week, at every juncture, have featured the polar opposite. It is past time for all of us to defend civilization and push back against lawlessness in all forms.

The first thing to say, without disclaimer or weasel words, is that George Floyd should still be alive today. There is no justification for the police officers, all four of them, who bear responsibility for having administered to him a slow, agonizing death by suffocation as he and others pleaded for his life. This looked like an execution without benefit of due process, evidence, jury, or judge. It cannot be condoned, and the officers should be investigated and prosecuted as the law prescribes, given the sort of fair trial that Floyd himself was denied.

It is, though, hard to imagine a swifter, more admirable response than the one that came from Minneapolis officials. They dismissed all four officers within a day of Floyd’s killing. Mayor Jacob Frey denounced the killing in unambiguous terms and promised a full investigation and sure justice. He called in federal authorities with dispatch. And Police Chief Medaria Arradondo apologized profusely and promised a “culture change” in his department.

While nothing can bring back George Floyd, this is how a civilized society does justice. There is no justice in riots, vandalism, looting, or arson. We live in a constitutional republic that, while imperfect, provides for just trial and punishment for those who violate the laws made through a representative legislative process. Human rights, in the aggregate, enjoy copious protections. Peaceful protest is not just allowed but encouraged.

In sum, there are plenty of legitimate ways to express revulsion at what happened to Floyd, to achieve retributive justice, and to work to fix systemic flaws. It is not legitimate, ever, to victimize other innocent people while reacting against the deadly injustice done to Floyd.

Extreme violence against Floyd does not justify extreme violence (or theft) by protesters….[The full editorial is at this link.]


Tags: , , , , ,