Letter to the Editor

Today’s America

Monday, June 8, 2020

I am a white American with two black grandchildren witnessing a tragedy that repeats itself again and again. Deadly police action against a black person doing little or nothing to provoke it. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, two officers held handcuffed George Floyd down and a third prevented bystanders from interfering, while officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck cutting off his oxygen supply until he died. Chauvin has now been charged with second degree murder, however, the likely hood of conviction is worrisome. Historically, in Minneapolis, officers charged with inappropriate violence have been convicted or even disciplined in only one percent of cases.

Outraged citizens, black and white, took to the streets in protest. Why? Martin Luther King’s words have said it best — “Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.” Once again, Minneapolis police responded with violence, attacking protesters with truncheons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Unfortunately, a few outside agitators began violent activity in return, breaking windows, starting fires and even looting.

Being black in America is not easy. From slavery to the Emancipation Proclamation to today’s world, black people have faced discrimination, prejudice and outright danger. Parents today, have to school their children on how to act when confronted by law officers even when they had done nothing wrong to avoid physical abuse. Are my granddaughters safe? I certainly hope so. One is a lawyer in Washington, D.C., the other preparing to enter grad school. But they too must face America as it is today.

— Robert Sneitzer, Spirit Lake