2020-10-13 03:25:57 UTC
October 12, 2020 / Jack Marshall
Screen shot of George Floyd mural
You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Sadly, I’m not.
Here’s a silver lining: thanks to the parade of bizarre and illogical
demands and assertions during the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck and
the concomitant “Great Stupid,” my head appears to be immune from
explosions. (Is head immunity anything like herd immunity? A topic for
It is amazing—I would have once said head exploding—that anyone would
attempt to sanctify a long-time criminal and blight on his community
like George Floyd, much less get away with it. Nonetheless, months
after Floyd died after a cruel and incompetent (but not racist) police
officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck, the news media and Black Lives
Matter flacks are successfully selling the tall tale that his life was a
tragedy of unfulfilled potential because he had the misfortune to live
in the United States of America.
[Quick review: Floyd moved to Minneapolis after being released from
Texas prison for aggravated robbery. He went to jail 5 times and as a
perusal of his record shows, he can be fairly described as a career
criminal. Floyd was a habitual lawbreaker, involved in drug abuse,
theft, criminal trespassing, and aggravated robbery, who once broke into
a woman’s home and pointed a gun at her stomach while looking for drugs
and money. He had probably taken an overdose of fentanyl and
methamphetamine at the time of arrest, and it is quite likely that this,
and not Derek Chauvin’s knee, is what killed him.]
I’m old enough, more’s the pity, to remember the Sixties fad of arguing
that all criminals were victims of their upbringing and a Hobbesian
society for those who were not white and rich, and that it was heartless
to punish those who were really society’s victims, not its predators.
This was a very old progressive trope, notably championed by Clarence
Darrow, who argued that there is no free will, and that criminals are
doomed from birth, this making it an abuse of power for society to
punish them. This logic was the epitome of bleeding heart liberalism,
and helped make the word “liberal” a term of derision. I did not expect
it to make a comeback.
Yes, I’m an idiot.
Now, however, in no less a legitimate forum than the Washington Post,
Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte make the argument that if the U.S
wasn’t so racist, Floyd, despite all outward appearances, might have
been a great American.
Read the thing, take a while to tape your skull back together, and then
resume reading here. Watch out; this is the third paragraph, and it
comes up quick:
“Early in life, he wanted to be a Supreme Court justice. Then, a
pro athlete. At the end, he just longed for a little stability, training
to be a commercial truck driver.“
If I recall, I wanted to be Superman early in life. Is that information
really relevant to anything? I strongly suspect that if young George was
really interested in a judicial career, he might have begun by learning
some basics about the law, like, say “Don’t break it.” After Superman
looked like a non-starter, I moved my ambition to the Presidency. By the
fifth grade, I had read every book about Presidents I could find at the
library. My parents started me off with a paperback that cost about
three bucks. The Post article never explains how systemic racism
prevents curiosity, initiative, and achievement.
[ Quick Review 2: George was one of five children born to parents who
weren’t married, and followed the family tradition, also having five
children with an undetermined number of women, setting those kids out on
the same perilous life path he trod. Interestingly, I can find no
example of a Supreme Court Justice who accumulated offspring out of
Some highlights on this long, meticulously researched ( “according to an
extensive review of his life based on hundreds of documents and
interviews with more than 150 people, including his siblings, extended
family members, friends, colleagues, public officials and scholars”)
rationalization for the failed life of George Floyd:
“Floyd was born in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1973, a time when
Whites-only service at restaurants and segregated seating in movie
theaters were fresh wounds.”
The Civil Rights Act had been passed a decade earlier. The Post’s
argument seems to be that Floyd was handicapped for life by a system no
longer in existence.
“When Floyd was two days old, Maynard Jackson was elected mayor of
Atlanta. It was the first time a major Southern city would have a Black
Again, George Floyd was born into a U.S. where African Americans had
legally ensured opportunities to succeed. He lacked the determination
and character to take advantage of them
“Schools remained deeply unequal as Floyd moved through
predominantly Black classrooms in the 1980s and early 1990s. At Yates, a
former “colored” school named for a minister who was born enslaved, test
scores were low and dropout rates high, with the 1989 valedictorian —
who was seven months pregnant at the time — noting in her graduation
speech that more than half of freshmen had failed to graduate.“
This paragraph is res ipsa loquitur. You have to make a special effort
not to see the irony in it.
“By the time Floyd left high school in 1993, he wasn’t academically
prepared to go to college. But his athletic skills earned him a place at
a two-year program in South Florida before he transferred closer to home
— to Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a small, mostly Latino school
known as a pipeline to the NFL.“
A cynical critic of this section writes, with some justification, “It’s
so racist that if you’re a non-Asian minority, you’re more likely to get
into college than a white or Asian student with the same test scores.”
“Floyd, a tight end, went to practice every day, but he wasn’t
making the grades or completing the credits that would have allowed him
to get on the field.“
Floyd had an opportunity. He didn’t make the most of it. Blaming anyone
but himself makes him a victim of a not systemic racism, but cultural
“Floyd’s time in college ended with neither a degree nor a draft
into professional sports. With his two planned routes out of Third Ward
blocked, he moved back to Cuney Homes in 1997.“
Blocked? Blocked? Who blocked them? Floyd was in complete control of
whether he would graduate, or excel in sports sufficiently to make it
his career. He also was responsible fr failing to use college to develop
skills that would help him gain employment should his sports aspirations
not pan out.
“It didn’t take much time before he was in trouble with the law.
Police — described by residents as an omnipresent force around Cuney
Homes — arrested him in August 1997 for delivering less than a gram of
Ah, if only Floyd had read a bit about what becoming a Supreme Court
Justice entailed! Meanwhile, the Post’s argument is that the presence of
police caused Floyd’s criminal conduct. After all, if a crime is
committed without being detected, was it really committed at all?
“The most serious charge that Floyd faced was in 2007, for
aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors said the
then-33-year-old and four others forced their way into a private home
and that Floyd had held a woman at gunpoint while others ransacked the
place, looking for drugs and money….After a plea deal, Floyd would spend
four years at a privately run prison nearly three hours northwest of
Mass incarceration! George Floyd received just four years in prison for
armed robbery. The Post doesn’t mention it, but the victims were
Hispanic, and the woman who had the gun pointed at her stomach was pregnant.
Anyone who finds the Post article to constitute a convincing argument
that anyone but George Floyd—and the tragically self-destructive
community that acculturated him— is responsible for his miserable,
anti-social, drug- and crime-polluted life is not worth arguing with.
The scary question is: How many such people are there?
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