#Blacklivesmatter, Colin Kaepernick, Cry for justice, Eric Garner, George Floyd, How do you count 74 days?, How many breaths are there in nine minutes, I can't breathe, It took only nine minutes, Kneeling in death, Kneeling in Prayer, Kneeling in Protest, Remember Eric Garner?, There's kneeling and then there's kneeling, What are you doing with your breath?
It just won’t end, will it?
How many more times do we have to see this?
The recent case (May 25) of George Floyd shows us yet another video where we watch a man gasp his last breaths – and we can do nothing to help at that moment. We are bewildered at the senseless end. As Joanna Walters writes,
In the footage that emerged of Floyd’s violent detention, he can be heard to shout “I cannot breathe” and “Don’t kill me!” He then becomes motionless, eyes closed, face-first on the road.
At least (such cold comfort for cold blooded murder) – it didn’t take 74 days for any action to take place as in the astounding case of Ahmaud Aubrey: “How do you Count 74 Days?“. The NY Times reported:
“Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis was quick to condemn the officers’ actions, and on Wednesday, he called on prosecutors to file charges against the officer who had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.”
With the echo of Eric Garner who was killed in New York City in July 2014 by a police officer who placed him in an illegal chokehold, his mother Gwen Carr said:
“I was horrified to learn about the death of George Floyd, and to hear him utter the same dying declaration as my son Eric. I offer my deepest condolences to the Floyd family, and I stand with them in their fight to get justice for George.”
It took only Nine Minutes
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said that in some ways, the use of “violent, lethal and excessive force” on Floyd was more disturbing than the treatment of Garner, even, because the officer is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for up to nine minutes;
Nine minutes, while he was begging to breathe and begging for his life.
There’s kneeling… and there’s kneeling:
It wasn’t the kneeling made famous by former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (above) who persisted with his silent protests to say #Blacklivesmatter. Some were bothered that he chose to do this during the singing of the National Anthem before games. But some were not so bothered about the systemic injustice to African Americans that inspired his protest.
It wasn’t the kneeling in prayer asking for insight and action to change the system and to change our part in the system. Some mock prayer – as it should be mocked when there is no interest in living consistently with the subject and object of prayer. But some know that prayer is the beginning and the journey of true transformative living.
No… this was the kneeling of death; it was the kneeling to snuff out a life, as if the life had no value.
More than one life ended Monday. A lot of lives were ruined: the friends and relatives of Mr. Floyd; the friends and relatives of all the officers who were involved directly or indifferently; the police services; the bystanders; the survivors; and now we who watched George Floyd die in front of our eyes.
I know that there are complicating factors to the story, but what is so complicated about listening to a man’s last gasping plea to breathe?
How Many Breaths are there in Nine Minutes?
The normal respiration rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute. A respiration rate under 12 or over 25 breaths per minute while resting is considered abnormal. You do the math.
A respiration rate of zero is lethal.