KOKOMO — There was a brief moment following the death of George Floyd when people of all races, creeds and colors shared the shock, horror and revulsion about his wanton murder at the hands of an out-of-control law enforcement officer. Virtually no one who saw the video of police officer Derek Chauvin snuffing the life out of a human being by jamming his knee down on the throat of Floyd could find a single excuse for taking this human life.  
No excuse could be remotely acceptable for this death. It was an excellent opportunity for our society to take a much needed look at race relations and to discuss the difficult duty that the police have of balancing the enforcement of laws and the use of appropriate force. And then the opportunity died.

Somewhere along the way, the legitimate expressions of grief and anger of the citizenry of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, were replaced by those who were bent on dishonoring the life and death of George Floyd by common lawlessness, theft, looting, burning, assault and general mayhem. The sympathetic views of much of our population were replaced by disgust and anger at those who would use the death of Floyd to launch anarchic campaigns against the public peace and its institutions.To put it simply, George Floyd did not die at the hands of a police officer only to be memorialized by a looter carrying off a big screen television from your local Target store.  

He deserves much better than this.

Unfortunately, the massive destruction in Minneapolis, much of it inflicted on small black-owned businesses, did not confine itself to that community.The murder, larceny and destruction spread like wildfire across our country.  

In each community, well-meaning citizens of all races gathered to exercise their God-given constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and speak their minds were replaced by the violence of the mob. In many cases there was evidence that well-organized anarchist organizations such as Antifa and other George Soros-funded radical groups fueled to turn protests into destructive riots. When trucks drop off pallets of bricks and stones in a convenient downtown location, you can only presuppose that the resulting destruction was premeditated. When this occurs, thoughts about the tragedy of George Floyd fade and public safety becomes an overriding concern.

I place much of the blame for this evolution of peaceful protest turning into destructive looting firmly on the shoulders of the media, the pimps of protest and the usual suspects who emerge from their holes to try and exploit any opportunity for the degradation of our American civilization.  

The people who hate our political system, our economy and our way of life just can’t resist using any means available or situation presented to them to strike at the heart of what most of us hold dear. The relentless 24-hour news cycle coupled with the passionate goal of taking down President Trump led the major networks and newspapers to take every step necessary to try and turn this situation of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and make it look as if it was Trump’s knee on Floyd’s throat. Their coverage was disgusting and a natural evolutionary process from impeachment to pandemic failure to Trump’s a racist. That dog just doesn’t hunt.

I understand the drive to tear down Confederate statues and monuments as symbols of a disgraceful past. As a historian, I hate to see this happen, but I fully understand the anger. My great great grandfather spent a few nasty months in Andersonville Prison being starved by those same Confederates. I don’t approve of the use of the Confederate flag any more than I would a swastika. However, I tend to separate the symbols of the Confederacy from monuments to the common soldiers who fought for what they perceived to be their-God given freedoms. For those of you who don’t read history, very few young men who fought and died fighting for the Confederacy did so in an effort to preserve slavery. These boys still deserve their places of honor.  

I was particularly horrified to see the damaging and defacing of the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Folks, these men fought to put an end to slavery and many of these soldiers were black volunteers. Spraypaint is no way to honor your brave ancestors.

And now we are presented with the political movement to “defund” the police.  I’m not sure what moron originally came up with this idea, but it certainly takes a special kind of stupid. The amazing thing is that a litany of Hollywood hairbrains and professional sports windbags are chiming in with their approval and support for doing away with the police.

This asinine proposal to defund the police leads to some very interesting questions: An intruder breaks into your home and steals your possessions. Who are you going to call? Someone speeding down the road in a stage of drunkenness crashes their car into yours and hurts a member of your family. Who are you going to call? Your daughter is raped on the way home from school. Who are you going to call? A drug crazed junkie murders your friend while attempting a robbery. Who are you going to call?  Al Sharpton? CNN?  

The New York Times? John Legend? No, you are going to want to call law enforcement and you want them to come quickly and with enough force to make your problem go away. You know it. I know it. So why go through the silly charade of talking about defunding the police?

The reasonable step to take at this time is for government at all levels to sit down with community leaders and have a dialogue about what are reasonable and necessary police actions and responses to the enforcement of our laws. I would personally like to ask John Legend what should be the necessary police response and degree of force to be used if someone is in the act of assaulting Chrissie Tiegen. How should the police react when a suspect is confronted for breaking the law and tells the arresting officer, “I’m not going to let you arrest me”?  

The most important dialogue should be how to reduce black-on-black crime in the inner cities of this country. These murder rates are disgusting and deserving of real protest. Reducing black-on-black murder rates should be the number-one focus of anyone who is serious about the health and safety of African-Americans. The dead young bodies pile up relentlessly and no one seems to even remotely care.

For those of you who see police officers as evil and racist sadists who abuse their authority and look for opportunities to arrest or assault a black person, I’d like to remind you of a young lady, a mother of three small children, who wore the badge. She was called to come to the assistance of a woman experiencing domestic abuse. Officer Breann Leath approached the front door of the home and was greeted with automatic rifle fire that cruelly ended her life.  

Officer Leath should be the face of a call for improved police and community relations. Her death should have led to the greatest community protest that could have been mustered but there was no CNN, no New York Times and no Al Sharpton. Her death did not fit the narrative. Breann Leath was a force for good in Indianapolis and she is the one who should be honored for her service.  

If you are going to tear down a memorial to Confederate prisoners who died in captivity in Indianapolis Mayor Hogsett, how about erecting a new monument to a black hero, Breann Leath? 

Dunn is the former Howard County Republican chairman.