My Thoughts

Received a link to a video from a friend the other day, a real head-shaker, illustrative of the narcissistic madness infecting much of the country. This was one of Judge Judy’s many amazing cases from 1989 (youtube.com/watch?v=o2WH1bFLJmE). The plaintiff was a young black woman and the defendant was a young 16-year old black man who had knocked the plaintiff to the ground, grabbed her car keys, then drove off in her car. He was subsequently caught, indicted and convicted of the charges against him and placed on five years’ probation. The plaintiff was seeking compensation for damages caused by the defendant crashing her car while attempting to escape the police.

Here is where it gets interesting. Judge Judy asked the young man to explain. Now, this young man, 16-years old, was good looking, quiet, soft-spoken, by all appearances a very respectful, somewhat shy young man. He began by saying, very softly, “Well, your honor, what happened was I was coming from my girlfriend’s house and coming from her house I got a little cold on the walk home so I was heading down one of the blocks and saw her (the plaintiff) getting out of her vehicle and so I walked up to her and pushed her into the grass, took her car and drove off … then that’s when the police seen me and they started to chase me and when I got to South Chicago even more police cars came and when I got to the police barrier they caught me.” Judge Judy asked, “And?” He replied, “They took me out of the car and arrested me.” Again, Judge Judy, “And, you crashed the car.” “Yes.” “You left that out.” “Yes.” “Who’s supposed to pay for that?” “I guess I am, but since it wasn’t my car …” “If it was your car we wouldn’t be here.” “Right.” “So, who’s supposed to pay for her damaged car? Whose fault is it?” “It is my fault for crashing her car, but I shouldn’t have to pay for it.” “What? Why?” Because I was the driver, but I wouldn’t have crashed if the police wouldn’t have got in the way.” “So, it’s the police’s fault.” “Yeah.”

Judge Judy then told the young man to look at his father seated next to him, then she asked his father, “Do you think it was the polices’ fault?” The father shook his head, clearly disgusted and said “No.” The judge then switched gears. “How tall are you?” “Six one.” “How much do you weigh?” “172” “How tall is she?” “five five.” “How much do you think she weighs?” “Probably 130.” “Do you think she fell down hard when you pushed her?” “I pushed her in the grass.” “Do you think she fell down hard on the grass?” “I wasn’t trying to hurt her; I was just trying to get the keys. Just trying to get home.” “Did you ask for the keys?” “No.”

Again, Judge Judy switched her line of questioning. “What do you do with your time?” “I work with my father doing carpentry.” “Your father’s a carpenter. How many days a week does your father work?” “Seven days.” “Works hard. How many days do you work with him?” “Probably three out of the week.” “Why?” “Because I have a personal life.” “You have a PERSONAL LIFE!!!” “Yes.” “Your personal life is going to get LESS! What kind of personal life do you have?” “I have friends and a girlfriend.” “You have BUMS, you have bums because your personal life involves hanging around with people who don’t have jobs. Do you go to school?” “Yes.” “How many days?” “Everyday.” “Do you pass everything in school?” “No.” “Do your friends pass everything in school?” “I don’t know, I’m not them.” “Is this the first time you have been arrested?” His non sequitur response: “and convicted.”

Such a nice young man. Polite too. Only problem was it was everybody’s fault but his. His father worked seven days a week. Seven days! But he could only help on three because he had a personal life hanging with his friends! He got cold so he physically assaulted a woman, stole her car then crashed it but he was not responsible. It was the police who were at fault for chasing him; they caused him to crash.

Here’s the thing. That nice young man, that polite, soft-spoken 16-year old man would, upon his untimely death thirty years later, be eulogized as a martyr; many famous people would laud him as a saint for our times. His funerals would be nationally televised, and, in many respects would rival the solemnity and grandiosity of that of John F. Kennedy, down to a horse-drawn hearse. And yet, between 1997 and 2005 he was convicted of eight crimes; in 2009 he was convicted of aggravated robbery and served four years in prison. On the day of his death he was in the process of being arrested after allegedly attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. That nice young man was George Perry Floyd. His death was horrific, heinous, unjust, wrong, unconscionable, tragic, terrible, inhumane, and manifestly criminal. How many ways can you describe such inexcusable, reprehensible evil? We all were witness to his murder, we watched him die pleading for his life, handcuffed, on the ground, unable to breathe. His murderer, Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, along with the other police officers who stood by for nearly 9 minutes and did and said nothing to stop him, must be brought to justice to pay for their crimes.

George Floyd was no martyr; George Floyd was no saint. If you think otherwise, go back to the beginning and reread (or watch the video) of his youthful encounter with Judge Judy. But, George Floyd, no matter what crimes he had or may have committed—or anyone else regardless of age, background, race, color or creed—did not deserve to die as he did. Each of us is a child of God, loved equally beyond all measure.     

Just my thoughts for a Wednesday, for what it is worth.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    He is a different George Floyd. The George Floyd in that video is not the George Floyd who was killed by police.

    • Deacon Chuck

      Thanks Joe. I should have paid more attention. The George Floyd in the video was George Floyd IV, son of George Floyd Jr. as the captions clearly show. George Perry Floyd Jr. was killed in Minneapolis. Two different people. I apologize for the error. However, I must point out that the gist of my thoughts remain valid despite the misidentification of George Floyd.

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