I am not Derek Chauvin

YES my last name is Chauvin.

YES my wife’s name is Kellie.

YES my son’s online name is Derek.

NO I am not related to the Derek Chauvin from Minnesota.

I live three or four states away from Minnesota, I have never been to Minnesota, I am not a police officer, and though we share the same last name, I have never met or even heard of this Derek Chauvin fellow before the latest events in the news. But that hasn’t stopped people from finding our online accounts and bullying us. My son’s Facebook account has exploded with the most vile, hateful and threatening, profanity-laden messages you can imagine. The haters have hit my own account, as well as my wife’s and children’s, filling up the comments and message requests with angry words and even death threats. Someone even shared a picture of us on vacation with a caption similar to “We found him! This is the racist asshole that murdered George Floyd!” All because we share a similar name.

I understand the anger, and I agree the police are a lot quicker to the trigger and forceful than they used to be, but why victimize the innocent? Why bully and berate a perfect stranger? Why make threats to someone whose only crime was being born into an unpopular family name? And why loot and riot? I can’t condone or understand why violence and vandalism is seen as a way to make the police less brutal. Really? You think that smashing windows, stealing stuff, and starting fires is going to make the police less heavy-handed? “Oh, no, look how dangerous the protesters are. Fellas, we gotta stop being so rough with them.” No. It’s going to make them MORE brutal. They’re going to switch from loudspeakers and barricades to rubber bullets and tear gas. They’re going to switch from cop cars to tanks. They’re going to do whatever it takes to regain control, and a lot of innocent people are going to suffer. A lot of businesses, some mom-and-pop outfits without insurance or the funds to rebuild, will be bankrupted.

I have no idea what “the answer” is.  Not even sure I understand the question.  I suppose, “What can we do to reduce or eliminate unnecessary brutality in the police department” would be a good start.  To that end, I would suggest something similar to what they’ve done at my job.  Whenever there is an industrial accident, the company investigates, but so also does a separate organization supported by the union.  They are an independent entity, and they represent the employees, not the company, so they bring no corporate bias to the review.  Right now, I believe we are relying on the government to investigate itself: police are policing the police.  Maybe a completely separate, investigative group of citizens, NOT being on the government payroll, could provide some more unbiased insight.  You know – give the citizens a bit more of a voice than they have now.

So it’s been a rough couple of days. Thankfully, the barrage of hatred has abated a lot, partly due to some Facebook security settings, partly because I think people figured out the real Derek Chauvin is in jail, not Texas. One of my relatives posted online: Congratulations! You’ve made it to June, Level 6 in Jumanji: Hurricane Season. Can this get any more bizarre? Australia on fire, locust plagues, oil market crashing, global pandemic, beef shortage, murder hornets, and now race riots! Not to mention, the government all but confirmed the existence of UFO’s and it barely registered a blip on the news cycle. With hurricane season starting tomorrow, the apocalyptic 2020 ride isn’t over yet. Maybe the four horsemen are already loose: white horse (conquering), red (no peace), black (economic ruin?) and pale (death/plague). That antichrist might be closer than we think.

For those of you following me, it has now been over six and a half years since my last alcoholic beverage.  By the grace of God, I have been able to stay sober during these tumultuous few months.  I still pray for you who’ve sent me emails, and I trust you are making it through these exceptional circumstances.  If I can do this, so can you.  Being drunk is not the answer, any more than throwing bricks is an answer, though I certainly understand the urges.  I would just love to crawl up into a bottle and feel sorry for myself, but I can’t.  My family is depending on me, now more than ever.

God bless George Floyd, his family and neighbors. I pray for an end to racism and police brutality, and I hope Derek Chauvin gets punished after a fair trial. God, please let the riots stop, and give wisdom to everyone involved. Please give peace and comfort to George’s friends and family, and I pray George’s death will not be in vain, but will lead to positive changes and better relationships between the police and the public, with more understanding and less conflict. I also pray for everyone that wears the Chauvin badge, all over the world, and I pray they would be free from senseless, needless harassment. May we all just get along and find forgiveness with justice; love rather than hate & revenge.

God bless America. Stay safe out there.

-Mark