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Empathy, not sympathy

Jackie Gingrich Cushman on

George Floyd was buried this week. It was clear to me when I watched the video that his death was tragic and unfair. It also seems that, to many Americans, his death brought to mind other tragic deaths that have occurred. For those who view Floyd's death as another one of many, it must seem tragically unfair.

The weight of this understanding: heavy and almost unbearable.

After weeks and weeks of complying with stay-at-home orders and pandemic protocol, watching the injustice of Floyd's death on video drove many into the street to protest. Thousands gathered in massive crowds, close together, no longer social distancing. One fear, COVID-19, was given up for another, injustice.

Behind both is the lurking fear of economic instability. Congress has passed, and President Donald Trump has approved, pandemic economic patches, but most people understand that the only way to have a strong economy is to have people working.

Watching the protests turn into riots was scary for me and, I am sure, for others. I was out of town but rushed home to Atlanta a day early. I felt uneasy not being in town, and I wanted to be back to ensure that everyone in my family was home before curfew started.

Protesting injustice is an American right. Destruction of property, whether private or civil, is not protest -- and is unfair. Fortunately, in Atlanta, the protests soon turned peaceful, but not before local businesses had sustained damage from the riots. Unfortunately, many of the business that were hurt or destroyed in downtown Atlanta are minority-owned.

 

Regardless of who owns the businesses, if the police do not protect the businesses from property destruction, they will not survive -- another injustice that brings with it fear.

This week, Kris Wyrobek, CEO of 7-Sigma, Inc., located in Minneapolis, announced that the manufacturing firm is relocating to a city where police will protect businesses. During the riots in Minneapolis, almost 500 business were damaged, and fires were set in a number of places including the Minneapolis Police Department 3rd Precinct, which had been abandoned. After the riots, the city resembled a war zone.

This was unfair and unjust to the businesses, their customers and the neighborhoods.

We live in an unfair and unjust world. In our individual quests for control, we believe that we can bring justice through our intervention. We are egotistical.

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Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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