What Would You Do?

By Chaya Nessa Krycer, Featured Writer, DOJLife.com

For the first time in months, the media has been spreading non-coronavirus related news.

Unfortunately, the story that has been affixed to the headlines is somber and tragic. George Floyd, a forty-six-year-old African American man died at the hands of a policeman.

There is no question that this occurrence is horrific as every life is undeniably precious. Every man was created in the image of G-d.

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However, the reactions to the tragedy stand out more than the tragedy itself. We have seen multiple accounts of rioting, looting, burning police cars, and other aggressive and harmful behavior. And I came to a certain conclusion. When something shocking and distressing occurs, people somehow have less control over themselves and act on their base instinct. In fact, I believe you can see the true morals and standards of a person at times like this. Because people who decide to steal from a local Target in order to express their angst, are fooling themselves. They are stealing, not because they care about a potentially ‘racist America’, but because they inherently want to steal. People that protest by attacking innocent people, intrinsically want to attack. There’s an old expression, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Neither do five, nor ten nor fifty.

Every intelligent human knows that burning a police car will not bring George Floyd back. His soul will not magically resurrect itself, joining his body and turning them into an inseparable one. (If anyone does believe this is possible, I am more than happy to refer you to a good psychiatrist). So why is there an onslaught of belligerent behavior? Because people finally have an excuse to surrender to their inner desires. It becomes socially acceptable to behave in a threatening manner.

Of course, there have been so many positive responses as well. Throngs of people stand shoulder to shoulder to protect stores from angry and vicious attacks. People have been reaching out to Floyd’s family, giving them support and sympathy in order to help them through this difficult time. There have been many instances of Kedushai Hashem when Jews publicly supported peaceful protests.  This is due to the fact that they yearn for peace and prosperity for all. It is stories like these that show the kindness and decency of the citizens of America.

It is ironic how both groups witnessed the same injustice but responded in drastically dissimilar ways. There is an important lesson we can take from this.

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Our actions directly broadcast to everyone what sort of people we want to be. Do we want to use troubling situations to fuel our inner anger, and excuse our inappropriate actions? Or do we want to deal practically with the problem, and try to ensure that it never happens again? I hope all of us, including me, pick the latter. And if anyone emphatically chose the first choice, my offer for that psychiatrist is still open.

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