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  • Reverend James Squire


Updated: Feb 8, 2021

The world has seen the killing of George Lloyd multiple times. He was a black man who was killed by Derek Chauvin with his fellow officers watching. It was the nature of the killing that added to the sheer horror of the event. As many times as I watched it on the news there was something else that was horrific in the killing of George Lloyd. Finally, it dawned on me. It was that Chauvin’s hands were in his pockets. For me this communicated two things. We put our hands in our pockets when we are watching something in a casual manner that is not important. It was a stance that we take when there is not much on the line, just another day at the office. It was a though he was just taking a break from important police work. Second it communicated that Chauvin was in control. It reminded me of that moment in our youth when we learned to ride a bike and we shouted, “Look, mom, no hands.” We got this riding the bike thing down and under control.”

When I thought about it, I don’t think that when I was talking with someone where there was a lot on the line that I or the other person had their hands in their pockets.

There is a whole school of thought referred to as non-verbal communication where the person’s body language can tell you a great deal about what the other person is thinking and feeling.

Casual and in control gestures by Chauvin makes this crime more heinous. If we add to this the suffocation of Mr. Floyd, we are in a whole new dimension of evil. When dealing with end of life issues in an Ethics course that I taught, the question would be raised, “What is the worst way that any of us would want to die?” The response, for the most part, was to struggle to get that last breath. That phrase, “I can’t breathe!” takes on a whole new meaning.

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