Dying sons call out for their mothers. Soldiers do. So do patients and those in extreme distress. George Floyd’s plea for the comfort that only his beloved mama could give him – as he lay dying, utterly helpless under the knees of three cops – twisted every heart. It ravaged mine… no thinking, feeling human can ignore that cry.
I did as did George, once. Severely ill, with my partner unable to help or comfort me, I called out to my mother in troubled sleep. And, some days later, I traveled to see her – and wasn’t shocked when she asked me if I’d been calling out to her. There’s some strange connection between the minds and hearts of mothers and children: they sense each other over vast distances. Quantum entanglement of some sort, maybe. As she lay in a hospital bed a few years ago reassuring me, over an international call, that she’d be returning home in a couple of days, I knew in my heart that she would not.
But it’s not that bond I write about. Please, read no further if you cannot bear the agony that I will express ahead: this piece is of that resonance in humanity, pain to grievous pain.
When a mature, big, man called, “Mama! … Mama! …,” how could any human being not respond to that? How could one not know that this was a dying man’s last gasp, his final reach toward any fleeting, imaginary comfort? How could Chauvin, the cop who had his knee on George’s neck with as much of his weight as he could apply on it, and the other cops who were on George, not have heard this? All the more so when George had been begging to breathe, for the many minutes that passed, while these so-called “Protect and Serve” folks crushed him into the pavement?
George’s mother Cissy had passed away the year before. He knew this, and yet he called out to her. Some call it a ‘sacred invocation.’ I know it only as a son’s dying plea.
In that duration, as they cruelly rejected George’s dying pleas, those cops revealed their true relationship to the people they serve: they have the authority, the right to use deadly force, and they condemned George to suffer all the force they could bring to bear on him. This was no split-second decision. They sat on George for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
George suffered the most unjust of all deaths: by the callous hands and knees, and the weight, of those charged with protecting him. Do you see his eyes bulging? Many bystanders did and responded to his pain.
George was murdered, his pleas ignored, the humanity of bystanders brushed aside.
What can you call this, if not inhuman?