#189: George Floyd Died Because Bystanders Second-Guessed Kindness

Andrew Folts
4 min readMay 29, 2020

May 28, 2020—Yesterday, police offices killed yet another unarmed black man. And yet again, Americans filmed a murder rather than trying to stop it.

When I was in school, one of my teachers had a horrible temper. He was not a happy person and he would routinely take out his insecurities on students, but one day he singled out a classmate I’ll refer to as Nathan.

Nathan had Asberger syndrome and social interaction was challenging for him, so when my teacher got right up in his face and demanded that he repeat a lesson over and over, it was too much.

Nathan closed his eyes tight like he was trying to shut out the rest of the world.

It was horrible to watch. I felt my blood boiling and I wanted to scream STOP IT! CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO HIM??

But I didn’t say anything. And neither did the rest of the class. We all just sat there, horrified and too scared to speak up.

When the class was over, a few of us agreed that we should go to the main office and report the teacher. “Let’s go do it now,” I said.

At that moment, you could see a change in my classmates. One said, “Well…maybe we should wait a bit.” Another said, “It won’t happen again…” The third person said, “I have a test to get to.”

I had to do it alone, and the worst part was, I second-guessed myself all the way to the main office. I couldn’t help but think…

Why does doing the right thing feel so wrong?

George Floyd is a Victim of Fear, Not Hate

When I watched the footage this morning of yet another black American being murdered by police officers, what caught my attention was not the act itself but the people witnessing it.

Why are we all so scared to intervene?

Why are we more intent on filming atrocities than stopping them?

I think it comes down to intuition.

Bystanders didn’t help George Floyd for the same reason that I didn’t speak up for my classmate—we felt kindness but didn’t

Andrew Folts

Author of 365 Comics. Writer, illustrator, and barefoot runner slinging minimalist hacks for creative rebels.

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