Wednesday, June 21, 2017


The police officer who shot and killed Philandro Castile in Minnesota was acquitted by a jury on Friday and Trevor Noah of The Daily Show commented

Every time I watch that video, I ask myself "how does a black person not get shot in America?" Because if you think about it, the bar is always moving. The goal posts are always shifting.  It's always a different thing that explains why a person gets shot. The person was weaing a hoodie. The person wasn't wearing a hoodie. Or the person was running away from the police.  Or the person was running toward the police. Or the person was running around at night.  Or the person had an illegal firearm; or, no, the person didn't have a firearm.

But at some point you realize there's no real answer. Now you see this person and you see this video and go "how?"  There have been a lot of shootings; we talk about this a lot- so many things to say- racism, classism, systemic violence, violence in police forces that oppress people.

But this story is interesting because there is something different. And that is Philandro Castile wasn't just a man shot at a traffic stop. He was a legal gun owner. His family was in the car and had committed no crime - at all, In a story of a man being shot because he was lawfully armed.  You would think that one group one powerful group in America would say something about- one group you would expect would be losing its goddamn mind about this, the NRA.  But for some strange reason, on this particular case, they have been completely silent, completely silent. And yet, according to their rhetoric,this is everything they stand against, right? An officer of the state depriving a citizen of his life because he was legally carrying a firearm.  This is how vocal and fired-up the NRA gets when nothing has happened

(video of NRA's Wayne LaPierre saying)
"There is no greater freedom than the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns, and handguns we want."

"Unless you're black" is what it should say. It's interesting that the people who define themselves by one fundamental right- the right to keep and bear arms- that once race is involved, the only right they believe in is their right to remain silent.

As Noah notes, there have been many incidents of blacks being shot, with almost as many explanations.  But the police officer didn't shoot Castile because he was legally carrying a firearm.

The police officer pulled the trigger evidently because he believed- correctly or otherwise- that Castile may have been reaching for his weapon.   He was not targeted because he was legally carrying a firearm but rather because the weapon was perceived as a threat by, and to, the officer.

For an organization whose spokesman has claimed "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the tragic, horrifying termination of the life of a good guy with a legal gun is extraordinarily problematic. For an organization which counts rank-and-file police officers as among its most influential supporters, it's especially inconvenient, and potentially damaging to its image.

Trevor Noah deserves credit for calling out the National Rifle Association. However, there is one fact clear and undeniable: if Philandro Castile hadn't been "carrying," he'd be alive today. You know that,I know that, all God's children know that. Drawing attention to the incident only reminds everyone, and the NRA doesn't want to remind you.

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