Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Ships in the Night
Ari Melber presented a heartfelt interview with the Cleveland Browns player who had worn a shirt, Sunday, asking for justice for the 12-year-old boy gunned down by Cleveland's finest, and for John Crawford, shot to death in a Walmart in Ohio for carrying a plastic toy gun that he was planning to buy for his kid. Then he asked a Cleveland police spokesman to respond. The officer had already strongly criticized the player for wearing the shirt.
Apparently, to the police, to ask for justice is the same thing as a lynching. The police guy also says in the interview that the police were justified in killing Tamir Rice because they acted under the impression that he was a grown-up and the weapon was real. As someone pointed out in the conversation following the interview, even following the exact orders of the police can get you shot, particularly if you're black. See, e.g., the guy in South Carolina who went into his car to get his ID at the orders of the patrolman, who then shot him when he emerged from the car with the ID. The argument supporting the police killing in the Rice case is basically stand-your-ground logic. Reality is utterly dismissed. It's all about fear. This, by the way, is exactly the logic offered by Mr. Cheney for his decisions to torture even the innocent.
The Melber/Maddow team should have connected the dots, since Maddow's lead piece was on the Sandy Hook suit against the arms manufacturer of the "Bushmaster" assault rifle. Surely one reason for the police being on a hair-trigger is the appalling proliferation of weapons in the general population--a fact which is a result of the NRA's opposition to all attempts to reduce the number of weapons in the general population. Police, for the most part, have objected over and over again to the absolutist reading of the 2nd Amendment, and have for the most part supported sensible gun regulation.
It would have been a nice follow up for Melber to ask the police spokesman about this weapons proliferation issue. Why come out of the car with weapons blazing? It doesn't justify the crime of killing the boy, but it might explain some of the fear driving the cops to shoot first.
[Note: I tried to embed the interview, but at the moment the link is not working. I'll try again later, or you can go to the Chris Hayes part of MSNBC's site and hunt it up from last night's (12/15/14) show.]
Wednesday Update: may I draw your attention to this: