George Floyd was no black Jesus

Dalrymple writes:

When I first saw the mural of George Floyd with angel wings, I assumed that it was a satire — effective, perhaps, but not in the best of taste. Shortly afterwards, however, I realised that the mural was in earnest. The picture in the newspaper included a man genuflecting before it, and the caption said that he was making a ‘pilgrimage’.

Floyd

was not a saint; he was a bad man, and being killed by a brutal policeman does not change a man’s life from bad to good.

At least one of Floyd’s crimes, Dalrymple notes,

was of deep-dyed malignity. Along with five others, he broke into a pregnant woman’s house and held her at gunpoint while his associates ransacked the house for drugs and money. This is not the kind of crime that results from a sudden surrender to temptation. It was premeditated and planned.

Floyd

had several convictions for possession and supply of drugs, yet when he moved to Minneapolis, allegedly to turn over a new leaf, he still took drugs, and a video showed him discarding what was probably a packet of drugs when he was first arrested.

Dalrymple points out that of course

none of this exculpates the policeman, Derek Chauvin, and no decent person would suggest that it did.

But

the ludicrous sanctification of Floyd naturally conduces to an examination of his character, and is moreover a sign of our modern tendency to make martyrs or saints of victims. But victims do not have to be martyrs or saints in order to be victims, and  Floyd certainly did not die for any cause.

Sentimentality

is a short step away from brutality.

The sanctification of Floyd implies, says Dalrymple,

that the character of a victim of murder is in some way a measure of the seriousness of the murder, when what is wrong with murder is that it is murder. Even the murder of a very bad man is murder, such that if Chauvin were killed in prison by other inmates, it would still be murder. We may in our hearts regret the murder of a good man more than we regret that of a bad, but the law can take no notice of such a distinction. Any other attitude would be to justify or excuse murder.

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