By Mike Austreng, Editor
Our Constitution gives us all certain rights. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Most of us have seen the news reports about a black man (George Floyd) being held down by a white Minneapolis police officer. The officer was kneeling with one knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. Floyd was begging the officer to get off of him, telling the officer he couldn’t breathe. The officer continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck for about 11 minutes. Several minutes into this Mr. Floyd passed out. The officer continued to kneel on his neck.
Later reports told us Mr. Floyd had no pulse when he was placed in the ambulance. He was pronounced dead a few minutes later.
This is another very unfortunate incident where a white officer caused the death of a black man. Regardless of the circumstances, it is tragic – and not justifiable.
We waited for the reports of protesting – it’s one of the rights we all have granted by the amendments to the constitution – we hoped they would be peaceful. The first night, for the most part, they were. A few got out of hand, but the majority seemed to be protesting to send a message to the Minneapolis authorities.
Day two was much different. Just before dark on Wednesday night thousands of protesters turned the message they were sending into violence. News reports showed many, many businesses that were broken into and looted. We watched the scenes show people enter- Please Support our Advertisers ing and leaving stores like Target, Auto Zone, Cub and several mom and pop shops in downtown Minneapolis – all those leaving the buildings were carrying merchandise – some loaded carts with flat screen televisions. Store shelves were emptied and the buildings vandalized. Auto Zone was set ablaze. An apartment building under construction was set on fire and completely destroyed.
Emergency personnel didn’t even respond due to the threat of bodily harm and damage to equipment. It was ridiculous and maddening to watch the actions of the protesters.
Thursday night was even worse. Fires set in hundreds of buildings. Damage was done to over 170 business buildings in St. Paul alone.
What we find disheartening is the protesters haven’t figured out that the right to assemble doesn’t give them the right to destroy and steal. As much as Mr. Floyd’s offenders need to be held accountable, as many of the protesters as can be identified need to be held accountable for their actions too.
Watching the carnage made us so happy to be working at a business in a small town where things like what happened in Minneapolis should never happen – then again, never say never – so they say.
With the relaxing of the “Stay Safe” order issued by our Governor we all should have more options when it comes to getting out of the house. It’s really strange for our bars and restaurants being allowed to partially re-open with outdoor seating – they will also be restricted to the number of people they can serve and we’re all supposed to continue to practice social distancing. We wonder how owners are going to be able to enforce the rules, but we’re sure they will try.
With restrictions on the number allowed to be seated there are probably going to be waiting periods for customers to enter and once inside there may be longer than usual waiting times for food and drinks since this is all new to all of us. The fear we have is that once people are allowed back into the bars and restaurants we may see the number of COVID cases rise again and our Governor will probably close things up again. Hopefully not.
The rules of our “Stay Safe” order are confusing. Here’s a good example:
We play golf on Thursdays at Rich-Spring Golf Club. Our normal routine is to stop in the clubhouse, pay our fee, stop at the bar for a beverage to take out on the course and play. There are almost always what we refer to as “beer carts” on the course. Those carts drive around and sell beverages to golfers. Normally those carts stock pop, water, beer, and alcohol for mixed drinks.
Last week we went out for our weekly round, paid our fee, walked up to the bartender to order our usual and were told they couldn’t sell mixed drinks, only pop, water, or sixpacks of beer. We bought a six-pack to share (we are not a big beer drinker). The “beer carts” were still out on the course, but they were not allowed to sell mixed drinks – only pop, water, or six-packs. It made no sense to us that they were allowed to sell products, but couldn’t sell a mixed drink. Those poor employees probably had their tip money nearly vanish since they couldn’t seel groops of golfers what they really wanted – there must be a reason, but it sure doesn’t make any sense to us. Probably a moot points since the rules have “lightened” this week.
Please stay safe. Keep your distance so our businesses don’t have to go through another shutdown.