George Floyd memorial (photo: Vasanth Rajkumar via WikiMedia Commons)
It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet it was. Derek Chauvin was filmed killing a man in cold blood. We all watched it happen. It should have been an open and shut case yet when the jury delivered a verdict of “guilty” on three counts. Yet it still felt surprising. Centuries of people of color being beaten and killed by members of law enforcement and zero accountability has led to a complete lack of faith that any form of justice could be served. Real justice — as has been pointed out plenty of times this week — would be for George Floyd to still be alive. He isn’t. It’s accountability we were looking for and the Chauvin verdict is a just start.
We’re not done. At the time of writing, we’re waiting for the body cam footage of the killing of Andrew Brown to be released. We still don’t know what happened in the case of 13 year old Adam Toledo, or 16 year old Ma’Khia Bryant. We can’t make sense of what happened to Daunte Wright.
Ben Crump, who was one of the Floyd family’s attorneys and is now on Andrew Brown’s family’s team, said on CNN on Monday that, “None of us can breathe until we have transparency.” He also pointed out that white mass shooters are being taken alive while Black children are being shot without a second thought. The evidence backs him up.
It’s exhausting — and this writer is an able-bodied, cis, straight, white man, a walking example of privilege. It’s impossible for me to know how devastating this is for the people who are actually being persecuted in this country. But we all have to continue to demand accountability.
The president and vice president were quick to applaud the jury’s verdict, and musicians joined in too.
“You must be smiling from Heaven. Your life (and tragic murder) has become a turning point in history,” Jane’s Addictions’ Perry Farrell tweeted. “In 9 excruciating minutes the harsh reality of living in a time of police brutality, you’ve made – even realer. Chauvin Guilty As Charged”.
Vernon Reid (photo: Mario via WikiMedia Commons)
“One victory,” tweeted Living Colour’s Vernon Reid. “Set against centuries of degradation, false convictions, frame ups, outright sadism, lynching, and being treated as less than livestock. It’s a start tho.”
“Regular ass criminal justice never felt so relieving,” tweeted rapper and comedian Open Mike Eagle, while rapper The Game offered, “There was absolutely no time between celebrating the conviction of Derek Chauvin & having to mourn Ma’Khia Bryant… This is really numbing !!!”
Phil Labonte of All That Remains tweeted: “Regardless of your opinion on the Chauvin trial verdict, he at no point was a “good” cop. He had something like 13 complaints filed against him. He’s not the guy you want to throw your support behind.— Article V Convention of States please.”
Rock & roller Danko Jones pointed out a little quirk that occurred that same day:
“I find it fitting that an alpha-male COSPLAYER like Ted Nugent, who has always said he’s drug free, announces he has Covid on 4/20, after a year of calling it a hoax, and on the day Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murder.”
Yeah, that’s true and we’ll always grab at the chance to laugh at perennial fuckwit Nugent here. The guy performed a mask-free gig at a grocery store in Florida (the more you read that last sentence back, the funnier it gets) and caught COVID. Because of course he fucking did — it was a mask-free gig at a grocery store in Florida.
Nugent has been saying that it’s “not a real pandemic” pretty much since the start of the crisis, yet he announced that he had caught “the Chinese shit” (his words) and said that he thought he was dying. Now, we’re not going to celebrate illness and potential death, even in the case of utter shitbags like Ted, but if we know anything about karma it’s that she can be a cruel mistress.
“They claim five hundred thousand people have died from COVID-19,” he said last month on Facebook. “Bullshit. I believe that medical examiners in all 50 states have gone, ‘I put down on the death certificate that he died of asphyxiation, but they made me put COVID.’ Well, this guy was stabbed to death, but they made me put down COVID.’ ‘This guy was run over by a tandem gravel truck doing a four-wheel drift and the crows be pecking at your flesh, but they made me put down COVID-19.’”
Regarding the vaccine, Nugent was equally clueless: “A vaccine that was authorised in four months compared to every other vaccine that took years of adequate testing. Have you seen what’s in it?”
We’re betting that the vaccine isn’t looking so silly now, you ridiculous lump.
Nugent is an easy target. Perhaps more infuriating was the news this past weekend that 2000 people attended a hardcore punk gig in New York. GODDAMMIT — these are supposed to be my people and I really wanted to believe they’d be smarter. I expect rednecks like Nugent to go with the bullshit “quit treading on my freedoms” narrative.
But Madball? Bloodclot (featuring former Cro-Mags man John Joseph)? We’d hope for more. On the plus side, the show was a benefit for the city’s firefighters. But still, Joseph went with the “we’re not living in fear” nonsense, as reported by Metal Injection:
“This was our fucking protest – this was our rally – people came out from all over the country and enjoyed live music! Those who didn’t want to come stayed away – good nobody Missed their ass. They were free to live in fear – hide under their table and talk shit on social media.”
That’s such a silly, irresponsible thing to say that it’s tough to know how to respond. We’ll have to wait and see what the fallout is — whether there’s a surge in cases as a result of the concert. What we know for sure is that we need to get everyone vaccinated so that, in the future, we can have nice things like music festivals and, at the same time, keep everyone alive.