What we know with certainty is that three black males, one a 13-year-old, are dead.
But don’t tell me to be calm. Calm is off the table.
When last I asked Elie about such things, he made a point worth repeating. He’s placed himself in the position of the white man’s black friend, writing at Above The Law at a time when bad things are happening. His audience is comprised of white Biglaw wannabes whose primary interest is what their firm’s bonus will be, or insipid SJW whiners seeking comfort from their deep fear of personal inadequacy. Yet there he is, trying to explain what is happening because he’s the designated black guy, double Harvard notwithstanding.
In each of the three killings this week, there are questions beyond the known facts that everyone would like answered, but will never be to any objective satisfaction. The first, Tyre King, the 13-year-old shot because police claim he reached for a BB gun.
Last Wednesday, Tyre was killed by a Columbus police officer who was responding to a report of armed robbery. Police said King used a BB gun that resembled a genuine firearm to rob a Columbus resident of $10. When officers arrived, Tyre was spotted with two males who soon fled on foot. Moments later, police said, an officer fired “multiple” times after Tyre reached for a BB gun in his waistband. He was pronounced dead at a hospital soon after.
No video. Tyre King can’t offer his version because he’s dead. But the question raised is why he would have reached for a BB gun in his waistband, in itself too reminiscent of the killing of Tamir Rice, when facing cops with guns? It was suicide, at best.
Terence Crutcher, shot on the road by P.O. Betty Selby, purportedly for trying to reach into a closed car window. whose offense was to have a stalled car and not comply with commands, was the second black male killed. A day later, police announced that PCP was found in Crutcher’s car, which pundits argued would explain his “erratic” behavior.
Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker, who confirmed that a vial of PCP was found, declined to say where in the vehicle investigators recovered it, nor did he say whether officers determined that Crutcher, 40, had used it Friday evening.
There are three questions raised, the first being why, if true, this PCP wasn’t found immediately upon the inventory search. The second is why it took a day to mention it. The third is what it has to do with anything, even if true. Crutcher’s lawyer, Ben Crump, calls it a “red herring,” and it is. Assuming the worst, it is not a reason to kill a man.
The third dead black male this week is Keith Lamont Scott, shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson, who was also black, when Scott allegedly got out of his car with a gun in his hand.
The shooting occurred just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday as officers were trying to serve an arrest warrant for another person in an apartment complex.
Police officials said the officer opened fire because Mr. Scott, who they said was armed with a gun, “posed an imminent deadly threat.”
His family said he was holding a book as he waited to pick up a child after school. The police claim to have found the gun and no book. They say he was told to drop the gun and failed to do so, and was then killed. Scott’s daughter said he was disabled, sat in the shade and read a book while waiting for a child to get off the school bus.
This killing too raises questions. Why, particularly given the conceded fact that Scott wasn’t the target of police, would he exit a car and confront police with a gun?
Also this past week, University of Pennsylvania Police Sgt. Sylvia Young was shot eighteen times, by Nicholas Glenn, for being a cop as she sat in her patrol car. She survived. Glenn did not. This comes atop police executions in New York, Dallas and Baton Rouge.
The official voices call for calm, as protests, riots and looting in Charlotte are happening*. Official voices tell people conflicted messages because that’s what official people do.
At a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., Hillary Clinton spoke about the shootings here and in Tulsa.
“There is still much we don’t know about what happened in both incidents, but we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers in these encounters,’’ she said.
“It’s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable. We also saw the targeting of police officers in Philadelphia last week. And last night in Charlotte, 12 officers were injured in demonstrations following Keith Scott’s death. Every day police officers are serving with courage, honor and skill.”
There will be no credible answers to questions because there is a loss of faith in the integrity of police to tell the truth, admit fault, as demonstrated by videos like Laquan McDonald, released too late showing cops lying and murdering. Other cops enabled the lies. Cops may be able to excuse their brothers’ lies, but the rest of us aren’t so forgiving.
And the videos have proven critical. No cop has been successfully prosecuted in the absence of video, and even with video prosecutions are mostly unsuccessful because Graham v. Connor empowers police to kill based on the reasonably scared cop rule.
Black men will die. Cops will die. Politicians will make noise and solve nothing. Police reforms will take a generation, if ever, to address any of this. And in the mean time, people are dying and most of the public is too obsessed about their own personal identitarian traumas to be bothered. This will not be stopped by handing out coloring books, eliminating “toxic masculinity” or surveying personal pronoun choices of those entering women’s locker rooms.
Dead people are indisputable facts. We have very little else to go on and no trust that there will be any truth to be learned. Elie is right, we’re beyond “calm.” But there will be no solution if we don’t recognize this as a crisis demanding immediate attention and change. There will be more dead bodies on both sides, but mostly of black males.
We already know all the facts we need to know, that people are dying and nothing is changing to stop this from happening. Instead, our time and efforts are focused on quibbling over details, supporting our team no matter what and obsessing over whatever makes us personally sad. Fuck calm. And fuck all of you who cry about how your puny problems are the most traumatic, horrible and exhausting ever. There are people dying, and all you care about is that you’re the survivor.
*The latest word is that protesters are surrounding the cars of unrelated people and dragging them out. When this arose on twitter, Glenn Reynolds, @Instapundit, responded with “run them down,” for which he was immediately suspended. Nobody wants to be killed. Not blacks. Not cops. Not random people in cars. Everyone wants to make it home for dinner, and if it means taking another person’s life, they will.