June 1, 2020by Jon Kramer

Minneapolis Burning | The elephant in the room is now on a rampage

Copyright 6-1-2020  /   736 words, by Jon Kramer
Nonfiction.  These events have taken place over the last week.

 Dad had a fondness for saying: The inevitable will occur… And so it has this past week, right here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St Paul.  Home of Minnesota Nice.  But not this week.  This week it’s Minnesota Murder, Mayhem, Destruction, and Riots.  And yes, it most certainly was inevitable.

One week ago the Minneapolis Police apprehended a black man named George Floyd.  They handcuffed him and accosted him as he crumpled to the ground.  The viral video on YouTube shows a helpless man crushed under the brutal assault of four uniformed members of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).  George Floyd was on his face on the ground, arms shackled behind his back, a knee forced down on his neck.  He was afraid.  He was in distress – great distress.  Life-threatening distress.  He struggled.  He pleaded.  He begged.  He died.


Have you ever suffocated?  I have, in 1983.  But it wasn’t at the hands of Minneapolis police, thank God.  My circumstances were far more prosaic.  I, and my friend, had contracted a rare fungal infection.  It spread like wildfire in our lungs, cutting off our air. Our blood oxygen levels tanked fast.  I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe! I said again, and again, and again.  Eventually, I died in that hospital.  But not like George Floyd.  I was in a bed and managed, somehow, to make it back.  George Floyd died on the street.  He’s never coming back.

Suffocating is like drowning – you cannot breathe.  Your body is screaming for air, desperate for oxygen.  I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe! An overwhelming panic consumes your entire being.  I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe! As the panic takes hold, the brain commands all organs to redirect blood flow to the heart and brain, to hell with everything else.  I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe!  But, as the life-giving oxygen runs out, the panic quickly deepens, and everything goes to black…

I can’t breathe!  I can’t breathe! were the last, desperate, human words of George Floyd.

Now we can’t breathe.  We as a city can’t breathe.  We as a state can’t breathe.  We as a country can not breathe.  Nor should we be allowed to.  We do not deserve it.  We have not earned the right to breathe freely – because there is not freedom.  Not the kind of freedom that God and Nature want.  Not the kind of freedom all people deserve.   We are suffocating!  Suffocating at the hands of not just the MPD, but all the racist, prejudiced, bigoted, thugs of the Old White Guard in charge of our machinery of state.

We have been down this path so many times before.  Yet we squandered every opportunity for fundamental change.  Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, Thurman Blevins, Justine Ruszczyk – the list goes on.  They thought they were free.  They were not.  Sadly they realized that as they died on the street at the brutal hands of the MPD.  When hoodlums do it, it’s called murder.  When the MPD does it, it’s called a report.

Think about it:  If you and three buddies attacked an unarmed person on the street, bound and killed him in broad daylight, would the cops spend four days thinking about it and then arrest just one of you?    So why is it they only arrested one of the four police that killed George Floyd and took four days and city-wide riots before anyone decided to anything at all?  Because the Hennepin County attorney doesn’t want to piss off the police union, that’s why!  Michael Freeman is a lifetime politician and he knows which side his political bread is buttered on.  It’s sickening!

We have marched in the protests, wailed and cried for change in the many demonstrations against police brutality in the MPD.  For years and years – demands.  Sit-ins and occupying.  Megaphones, signs, and banners.  Armbands and flyers.   A little loud and, at times, disruptive, especially at City Council meetings.  But, for the most part, all peaceful.  Peaceful demonstrations – just like we Minnesotan’s like it – all Minnesota Nice.  Nice people like us don’t need to get carried away…

But there comes a time when the piling up of bodies becomes the elephant in the room.  And that elephant is now on a rampage.

It was inevitable…