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The reaction around Marin to Dereck Chauvin’s conviction in Minneapolis says good things about this county.

Last May 25, Chauvin, an aggressive, white, Minneapolis police officer, killed a Black man, George Floyd, for no legitimate reason. Chauvin had arrested Floyd on suspicion of making a purchase with a counterfeit $20. When Floyd initially refused to get out of his van but put his hands out the window, Chauvin dragged him from the vehicle, handcuffed him, made him lie on his chest in the street, and then kneeled on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. All was recorded on videos taken by witnesses. On the videos Floyd can be heard repeatedly pleading for his life: “I can’t breathe.”

Yesterday, a jury in Minneapolis convicted Chauvin (seen here in a prison jumpsuit) on two counts of murder and one of manslaughter. He is expected to appeal but could spend the next few decades in prison.

Chauvin (seen here during the trial) did not testify and showed little emotion when the verdict was read.

I happened to be buying some Chinese food in San Rafael when the news was announced on the restaurant’s television. A Black man near me grinned and praised the decision. The restaurant staff not surprisingly were Asian, and they too sounded pleased. When a Black couple came in and sat down, I told them what had just been reported. Both chortled at the news, and the woman clapped.

Back in Point Reyes Station, whenever I mentioned the decision, folks were equally pleased. As for me, I’m pleased that 62 percent of Americans believe Chauvin’s behavior was criminal; only 12 percent reject the ruling,  according to a USA Today poll taken in the hours after the verdict. Some 85 percent of Democrats said Chauvin committed major crimes; 55 percent of Republicans agreed; so did 71 percent of independents.


With so much nightmarish activity in the news — mass shootings, for example, are continuing — this would seem a good time for a break.

Groucho Marx, therefore, is here to now introduce a few puns forwarded to me by Pat Mitchell of Colorado, wife of my cousin Leck Mitchell

• A vulture boards an airplane carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”

• A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

• A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

• A sign on the lawn at a drug rehabilitation center says, “Keep Off the Grass.”

No matter how much I push the envelope, it will still be stationery, so that’s enough for now.