By Lynn Venhaus
Seven minutes. That’s how long officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s windpipe, cutting his air off. Three other officers were right there. They allowed Floyd to die.

What a horrible death. You hear him plead for his life. Can you imagine Floyd’s terror, who in the video was cooperating with police? No resisting arrest, as a claim had made. He was handcuffed. Struggling to breathe. Saying “Please…please.” Watch the freakin’ video. (There is a newly surfaced video featuring another angle that shows the other three Officers doing nothing to help Floyd, noticing the camera.)

I am as outraged as anyone that this death occurred — needless, senseless, unbelievably sad and tragic. Sadly, it is just one more in an all-too familiar tale.

Why is Chauvin not charged yet? The other three are accessories. They should all face swift criminal charges.

We watched this video in horror. We watched a man murdered in real time. What if we didn’t have this video?

What if in NYC, Christian Cooper hadn’t videotaped Amy Cooper calling the cops on him with a bogus story — which I consider a hate crime, and I hope she is prosecuted as such. We haven’t come very far from “To Kill a Mockingbird” have we?

How many cases of people without a moral compass harming someone — showing their true character in flaunting white privilege or racism — that go on in this country unnoticed because no one hit the record button?

I can only imagine.

It’s hard to watch this much hate. How it consumes and eats at people, and why? Because they are different? Because you feel superior?

What does “Jews will not replace us” even mean? I don’t understand this need for dominance or supremacy.

I don’t understand why we’re moving backwards.

I naively believe in the power of communication. Of sitting down with people and learning about their circumstances, about why we are where we are, and what can we do to move forward? About how we need to view each other as people — as real individuals, human beings who share common goals and reach common ground.

I understand the anger and frustration in Minneapolis and across the country tonight (although I don’t understand destroying businesses that are part of a community). And yes, I don’t know what it’s like to be black in America. As a US citizen, I don’t like what I’m seeing, and I feel as helpless as everyone else does. How do we fix these problems?

Chauvin had 18 previous complaints in internal affairs. I can only assume Swain was not one of the good guys. He had gotten away with bad behavior before. The other department police officers, (example of the late ISP trooper Nick Hopkins who made it his mission to help people), who believe in protecting and serving the people without prejudice are now lumped in with the bad guys. Distrust and disrespect are at an all-time high.

We have a mess here.

Why are we moving backwards in race relations?

What can we do? We need to get behind reforms and action — but how will we do this?

The P&G commercial below won an Emmy a couple years ago. I showed it to my SIUE media class. We talked about its power, about its ability to affect change with awareness. But some of the students didn’t feel like things were going to change.

We shouldn’t doubt that justice will be served — shouldn’t it be a given, but no…we have seen injustice too many times.

We shouldn’t have people worry that when they go out the door they might not come home because of systemic bigotry.

This is 2020, not 1860 or 1930 or 1965. This is not something in the past. This is very much here and now. No wonder the pent-up anger and frustration is spilling out.

Is spilling out?

Watching this much hate shouldn’t be normal. Let’s not normalize any of this.

Sightlines is a personal viewpoint column on a variety of topics, not just showbiz. Opinions expressed are mine alone. — Lynn Venhaus