Thursday, May 28, 2020

I Can't Breathe

This morning's news was no worse than any other.

Or maybe it was.

All I know is it hit me hard today.

Lead story -- Minneapolis is on fire.  Arson, looting, tear gas, riot gear, and pepper spray on full display as protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, erupt into violence.  Protesters gathered in Memphis and LA as well. 

Minneapolis intersection near Floyd's tragic death

I witnessed the last moments of his life.

I heard his last words, I can't breathe....

The police officer who pinned Floyd's neck under his knee has been identified as Derek Chauvin.  It appears he was putting his full weight into that knee.  I don't care what Floyd did, no one should ever be restrained so lethally and inhumanely.

George Floyd was unnecessarily murdered.  Chauvin is a murderer.  The officers who stood by and failed to intervene are complicit.  As of this moment no one's been charged.

As if that story were not literally sickening enough, the NBC anchors' next story is the Coronavirus death toll:


A deadly pandemic takes root in our country and Trump wishes it away like a miracle.
But when Twitter calls him out?  Full assault on social media.

Third news story.

Peter Manfredonia, UCONN student suspected in two homocides, has been arrested in Maryland.

Manfredonia allegedly hacked to death Ted DeMers, 62, with a machete.  He allegedly shot and killed Nick Eisele, a former high school classmate, and kidnapped Eisle's girlfriend, who was found uninjured in NJ.

Nick Eisele
The reason this story is heart-wrenching for me is that I know one of Ted's family members.  My friend is Ted's wife's sister.  She was on the news a couple of mornings ago, describing him as generous, helpful to everyone, a good neighbor.  His obituary says he was a craftsman of fine wood furniture, an outdoorsman, and looking forward to the birth of a grandchild that he couldn't wait to take for walks in the woods.

Ted DeMers

My friend is a sensitive soul. I cannot even imagine how horrified her family must be.  According to news reports, Ted DeMers was helping Manfredonia in his last moments on this earth.

Ted's loss leaves a gaping hole in a close-knit family that will never be filled.

These three stories took 15 minutes, a long time in TV news.  At 7:15 Hoda and Savannah finally turned to some good news.

The relief was plain on their faces.  Time for the weather with Mr. Roker.

But there are some days when I can't file it away and go about my day as usual. Injustice, unspeakable sadness, presidential irresponsibility, and tangible grief hover like the drizzle outside as I load the washing machine, unload the dishwasher, and pour a mug of tea.

As I take a deep breath, I remember George Floyd's final plea.

One of the protesters, a young black woman, asked reporters: 

When is it going to change?  When is it going to stop?

When will this litany of horror end?

And I realized that as long as I remain silent, I'm complicit too.

Impromptu memorial on the green in Willington, CT, Ted DeMers' hometown.

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