US Independence Day Special
Time to end Qualified Immunity
– Anjana Bharathiraja
July. The month of freedom, independence, and justice for the United States. But in July 2020, we are far from that. There protests and riots everywhere, people are asking for revolutionary change, and they are mad, understandably so. For those unaware of what's been going on, this is what happened. I also encourage you to read the entire thing as On Memorial Day 2020, George Floyd, an African-American, 46-year-old male, went to the store Cup Foods to purchase a pack of cigarettes. The owner suspected Floyd of using a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Key-words here: Suspected and twenty dollars. So, the owner called the cops. The cops came and pulled Floyd out of his car and tried to get him into the police car. Floyd claimed to have claustrophobia, meaning he has trouble breathing in tight spaces. George clarified that he was not resisting, but that he couldn't breathe in the police car. Eventually, one thing led to another, and George Floyd, an African-American man, was on the ground with the knee of a white cop, David Chauvin, at his neck. In eight minutes and forty-six seconds, George Floyd was in fatal condition and was proclaimed dead at 9:25 that morning.
No one wanted to hear it. Because this isn't anything new, this has been happening for many many years. People are mad, and they are acting on their anger. Looting, breaking in, vandalism, arson, and so much more violence. We can be irate. We have all the right to act on that anger as well. And I realize how infuriating it is to find out that a man was begging for his life for almost nine minutes, and an officer thought he had the right to kill him. But, the conversation has stopped being about the injustice that George Floyd faced. People are now talking about what they like to call 'the Rape of America.' These protests and riots are justified. But I also understand why people are mad about this. Especially immigrants, when you moved to the United States, you came here seeking stability, law, peace, and harmony. But imagine living in a country in which you got killed for the color of your skin. For walking, for talking, for shopping, for learning, for yelling, for existing. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why everyone is so enraged.
But when we do decide to express that anger like this, we change the conversation. Some people would do anything to change the topic of the news right now, and our riots are not helping. Again, anger is reasonable and justified. But please, this is doing nothing to help us. Fighting fire with fire only causes everything to burn. What can we do? We can end Qualified Immunity. We can vote out corrupt officials. We can protest peacefully. Qualified Immunity is a bill in Congress that holds police to a different set of standards than us. It's what prevents police from facing lawsuits and arrests (most of the time anyway.) Police were supposed to serve and protect us, and this is how we repaid them, but the police aren't exactly serving or protecting, are they? So, we end Qualified Immunity. And vote. We can also protest. Protesting is not a problem, rioting is. Peaceful protests are a way to get important officials to reason. So, we vote, end Qualified Immunity, and protest peacefully.