George Floyd was killed May 25. Almost immediately, videos taken from multiple angles and at different times presented all but conclusive proof that his killing was a deliberate act by one Minneapolis Police officer and inaction by three others. There may be evidence we have not seen. That’s why trials are conducted in courtrooms, not in the media.

For a few days, the country was united in horror and disgust but then came the demagogues, opportunists, grifters, shysters, subversives and race mongers. Suddenly the narrative was no longer about this Black man, killed and possibly murdered by a man who should, surely, never have been a recruit, much less an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department.

We weren’t asking how this person passed the screening that should weed out “bad apples” or how training failed to equip four officers to control one handcuffed suspect. Instead, we were shouting, rioting, burning cars and buildings, shooting people, and arguing whether police departments should be abolished altogether.

In this writer’s estimation, some political and media types decided that unity had to be disrupted because it might be the start of America forming common ground and common understanding. If that continued, their whole issue of institutional racism could disintegrate.

Our opportunity to have a productive discussion was destroyed and George Floyd was all but forgotten, except by his family. The people who chose rioting, looting, arson and assault as their tools were legitimized, to the extent that is even possible, as exercising their right to expression.

Some sadly agree with these tactics: They believe chaos advances their political opportunities. Among them are those who have decided that this government and this economy places too little value on their talents, capabilities and ideas.

We have all seen that attitude in practice. Most of us seek and accept the evaluation of supervisors, teachers and colleagues. We find ways to improve our skills or change our behavior.

Changing behavior is the greater challenge but it is also essential to success.

Some react with fury when criticized and make excuses or blame others for their failures. Those who learn from their mistakes and correct their deficiencies are destined to be winners while those who refuse to acknowledge them are destined to be losers.

That’s not racism: It is reality.

Author and FOX journalist Greg Gutfeld observed that he had far more in common with Black winners than white losers and that surely encapsulates my almost 50 years of work around the Washington, D.C., beltway.

We would all benefit from more listening and less talking: That will inevitably lead to more understanding and eventually to lasting solutions.

We have heard and seen those advocating mob action, demanding abolishment of police, and seeking to redefine racism. We learned many of them have no desire and no capacity do the hard work of developing solutions to real problems.

Intimidation is not persuasion. It breeds resentment and division, not agreement and consensus. The path to lasting solutions begins with universal, unequivocal denunciation of rioting, looting, arson and vandalism as expression. Those are the tools of losers and, in the video clips I’ve seen, predominantly the tools of white losers.

Despite the views expressed by CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, America was not founded by those yelling and rioting.

America was founded by people who harnessed their outrage, committed their grievances to paper, debated and compromised in Philadelphia summer heat, and fashioned a new covenant by which we Americans would agree to live as one nation.

We would all do well to learn about that summer and those concepts and then emulate their example.

Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.