Thursday, November 11, 2021

Tweet Of The Day- Death Weapons



Chris Hayes has posted a series of tweets prompted by the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the segment (beginning at 5:29 of the video below) from his All In of the previous night.


Credit Hayes not only for his support of gun safety but also for recognizing and emphasizing the role of the NRA in promoting the culture in which Rittenhouse's behavior can be considered acceptable.

After a mass shooting at a school, there is attention paid for a few days to the ease with which firearms can be obtained in much of the country. When the mass shooting occurs elsewhere, there is concern for a news cycle or two. The right is beholden to firearm lobbyists and to the companies that benefit from the proliferation of firearms and the focus of the left and center is elsewhere. So credit Hayes not only for his support of gun safety but also for recognizing and emphasizing the role of the NRA in promoting the culture in which Rittenhouse's behavior can be considered acceptable.

As this Washington Post article explained in detail, in June, 2017 Officer Geronimo Yanez stopped a vehicle driven in Falcon Heights, Minnesota because the driver, Philandro Castile, allegedly appeared to resemble the suspect in a recent robbery. . Castile, accompanied by his girlfriend and the latter's toddler, told the Officer that he had a firearm in the automobile, then reached for what his girlfriend would later maintain was his identification. However, Yanez, who stated he had smelled marijuana in the car, evidently feared that Castile was reaching for the gun and shot him dead.

A .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, with a loaded magazine but no round chambered, and a permit to carry later were found in Castile's pocket.  The officer, the Post noted, "was acquitted of two counts of endangering Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter. The same day, St. Anthony officials said Yanez would not return to their police force."

The victim was black, as subjects of over-policing disproportionately are, and the narrative in the mainstream media at the time was: yet another black man shot by police.  Typical of the response, and typically for the man, then-President Barack Obama wrote in Facebook

What’s clear is that these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system […], and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.

Notwithstanding helpfully noting the "lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve" (translation: black communities), Obama's remark was symptomatic of the broader problem of ignoring the proliferation of firearms in American society.

A police officer panicked and unjustifiably shot and killed Philandro Castile. But the unwillingness of the left to question- even if in passing- why the victim was possessing a firearm while he was traveling with his girlfriend and a child was telling.   Officer Yanez would maintain that, according to the Post, "he didn’t know whether Castile had the gun 'for protection' from a drug dealer or people trying to rob him."

It was an issue left unaddressed. . Enamored of the merchants of death, conservatives were silent. The NRA was silent, presumably because it was conflicted between condemning the killing and realizing that the innocent man was not a typical firearm owner. But no one on the left (as far as I could tell) would ask, either

It may be irrelevant whether that was because the deceased was black or because there is in actuality a dearth of interest in measures intended to protect the public against people who should not possess a firearm. (But I repeat myself.) The slaughter in American streets will continue long after Kyle Rittenhouse is convicted or acquitted.  We must not forget the guns and, at least in this case, Chris Hayes has not.

 


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