We all know that protests can have both positive and negative impacts. The most positive impact can be to bring about change to wrongs that have been committed. The negative impact is when protests draw a criminal element that results in violence.
The death of George Floyd, a black man, by force used by police when he was stopped for questioning about a crime in Minneapolis has resulted in protests nationwide and worldwide. There have been peaceful protests that have turned violent. There have been a number of peaceful protests, including in Franklin County, that have been positive and have been successful in directing attention to injustices in dealing with matters of race.
The unfortunate thing about the protests is that they can turn ugly. If the wrong people are attracted to them, people can be hurt, especially those of another color who become victims of crimes committed — destroying or damaging their businesses, suffering injuries and even causing the death of innocent black people.
What is occurring also is that the unrest is creating fear in people of another color, especially children.
Another unfortunate effect is that the force exerted by a few policemen smears all law enforcement officials. The majority of officers have never used deadly force, and even have been killed or injured while performing their duties in a restrained manner. Furthermore, the vast majority of officers can be trusted to be responsible in their conduct. Four policemen in Minneapolis now have been charged in the death of Floyd. One faces a second-degree murder charge, and the three others have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Protests do direct attention to injustices and call for action for reforms.
What is happening in the latest episode makes some of us wonder whether we have made much progress in racial relations. We make two steps forward and then take a step back. There is no question progress has been made, but the struggle for an end to discrimination is still a challenge.