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Dear readers,

Someone has to say it, and I suppose I’m just as good as any. Derek Chauvin didn't get a fair trial. He was doomed the moment he walked into the courtroom and probably far earlier than that. Impartial justice is impossible in a day and age when defendants are tried by the media months before the jury ever hears any evidence.

It is painful to hear so many people applauding this outcome as some sort of victory for justice. To me, it seems quite the opposite. It looks like a dark day for justice. Another instance in which the sorry American people have failed to live up to their national ideals.

Now, before I go any further, I should say I fully expected Chauvin to be convicted on the manslaughter charge, and perhaps that would’ve been appropriate – as near to justice as we imperfect beings can come.

I certainly don’t hold the man blameless. But to my mind, a most basic review of the body cam footage casts crucial doubt upon the two murder charges. Feel free to watch it yourself and draw your own conclusions.

More importantly, however, are the circumstances surrounding the verdict. Can any of us honestly say Derek Chauvin received the fair trial he deserved? How could the jury have remained uninfluenced by the threat of mob violence looming all around them? It is entirely possible that several jurors had doubts about the verdict, but suppressed them – out of concern for personal reprisals perhaps, or out of a desire to avoid the ransacking of their city a second time.

In any case, the fact the jury spent no more than ten hours in deliberation, that they made no requests to review testimony or receive clarification on the law, says enough to me. Like the scapegoats of old, Chauvin has been freighted with the real or imagined sins of the country, and driven out into the wilderness.

And that is the part I find most disgraceful.

I will not here heap scorn upon George Floyd for living the life he did, or for falling into the trap of drug abuse and petty crime, as some others have. His life could have been mine. It could have been yours. And one should always bear in mind that no person is truly who they are at their worst moments. George Floyd came from very humble beginnings. He tried, at various points in his life, to improve himself and banish the demons of his past. He might very well have been, more often than not, the gentle giant so many of his friends and family insist he was.

I only wish that society extended a scintilla of objectivity to Derek Chauvin if it's intent was to lionize the life of the man beneath him. Suffice to say, nothing of the kind occurred.

At any rate, the verdict is in and Derek Chauvin will doubtlessly move to appeal. I can see little hope for him, whether he deserves it or not. He may indeed be the villain most judge him to be, but if he isn't... then just what justice has been served?

Moreover, what the fuck are we supposed to do that now?

Who in their right mind would want to become a police officer these days? I have no idea why the police forces of major cities don’t resign in droves. You couldn’t get me to become a cop for all the money in the world. Where will our newer and better police officers come from, do you suppose? The moon? Mars? Venus? Progressivism?

If we don't have an answer as to how this makes anything better, then what the hell just happened?

Something to ponder, I suppose.


James O’Flannery


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