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Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil ... (Exodus 23:2).

I am having trouble figuring out where to even begin. I suppose, in the words of Lewis Carroll, I should just "begin at the beginning and go on 'til you come to the end; then stop."

George Floyd was murdered, in broad daylight, by a bad officer. Floyd was black; the officer was white. I do not know what was in the officer's heart and whether his actions were, in fact, motivated by race. I have not heard any news coverage thus far that has brought to light any information as to any racial animus he may have previously held. It may well have been racial, or for all I know he may have been like this with others regardless of their race. Either way, it was wicked, horrible, heinous, inexcusable.

The good news on that is everyone agrees on it. I have literally not heard a single person anywhere of any race justifying what that officer did, and that is exactly the way it should be. Anyone who cannot agree on this particular issue is, in the words of an old country preacher, "crippled too high for crutches."

But that brings us to the irony (and evil) of the riots ripping our nation apart in the aftermath. This is not a case where a man is being given a pass on his crime. He has been arrested and charged — originally with third-degree murder, later updated to second, which carries a potential penalty of 40 years in prison, not including the time he will receive for everything else he is being charged with. The man will likely rot and die in prison, and he has justly earned that sentence. Had he been given a pass with such obvious, visible, unassailable evidence against him, fury would be an understandable reaction, though crime would still never be the answer. But there is neither disagreement nor unjust liberty in this case. There are no "sides" on this one. Everyone is unified around "the man did wrong and must pay the price."

So why is everything burning?

In the law of Moses that God gave to his people, he included a section about things like rioting, looting and everything else we are seeing in big cities around the country. The people were commanded never to follow a multitude to do evil. God knew that when many people come together with a mind to do evil, the damage could be incalculable and would land again and again on innocent people.

I watched in horror as George Floyd died with an officer's knee on his neck. I watched in horror again as a woman was beaten with a 2x4 in George Floyd's name while her husband pleaded for mercy for her.

I listened in anguish to a man saying, "I can't breathe." I have continued to listen in anguish as business owners, many of them minorities, have sifted through the rubble of their burned-out businesses and cried, "What do we do now?"

Simply put, George Floyd is being killed all over again, this time by opportunistic, selfish, trouble-seeking rioters who, if he were still alive, would not hesitate to beat and rob him too. His life was killed by an evil officer; his legacy is being killed by others just as evil.

What can be done?

As to instances like this "murder by officer," I suspect it is already being done. I have seen officers kneeling and praying with good and peaceful protesters (of whom there are many) and even hugging them and crying with them. This heinous act seems to have galvanized those of good will and further broken down any walls between them. But as to the blood-sucking leeches looting Louis Vuitton stores (and in the words of actor James Wood, "nothing says 'social justice' like a high-end handbag") and burning down mom-and-pop shops, the answer will have to be implemented from the cradle on up.

Mothers, fathers, pastors, teachers, every person with influence in the life of a child must, from their earliest days, point out the evil of rioting and looting to those impressionable minds and hearts. They must actively interfere when their children start to hang around a wicked crowd. They must stand against even the popular voices in society who give credibility to and even celebrate such actions. They need to pray with their children each and every day and point out to them that we are all family. I told my church Sunday, white, black, and brown, "we are all descended from Adam. So, howdy, cousins!"

What that former officer did to George Floyd must be condemned by everyone. And what these criminal rioters (who do not care a whit about George Floyd) are doing must also be condemned by everyone.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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Pastor Bo Wagner
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