Editorial - 'We would never do that'

Far more interesting than Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin are these three, who allegedly aided and abetted their commanding officer’s decision to pin his knee for almost nine minutes on the neck of George Floyd. While folks can maintain they wouldn’t do such a heinous act, is their character sufficiently strong to stop another from acting in a way with which they have qualms?

None of us can imagine ourselves being Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who for almost nine minutes left his knee on George Floyd’s neck despite pleas that his captive couldn’t breathe.

Not in a million years, right?

But could we see ourselves as Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng or Tou Thao — the three officers who last week were charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin’s alleged crime?

Let’s not answer too quickly.

Every day and in many ways we find our character, self-confidence and courage tested.

Being sufficiently brave and secure in who we are to occasionally buck the tide, speak up against injustice and risk the wrath of those expecting us to “go along to get along” are qualities as essential in small communities such as Ripon as they are in Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.

But for reasons of convenience or to avoid confrontation, we often turn a blind eye to what we know to be right.

We’re shopping in a Webster’s or Crossroads aisle when we see someone slapping their preschooler. Believing that child’s welfare is none of our business, we look the other way.  

While in a meeting we disagree with the consensus but fear our opposing view might discomfort the majority; we keep quiet ...

Read the full editorial in the June 11, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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