Outrage of the Week: blaming Black Lives Matter for shooting of deputy sheriff
Now for our other regular feature, the Outrage of the Week.
You surely know about the execution-style murder of a policeman in Houston. Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was filling his patrol car at a gas station when someone came up behind him, shot him in the back of the head, and they continued to shoot him as he lay on the ground. Within 24 hours, police had arrested Shannon Miles for the crime. Goforth was white, Miles is black.
It was a vicious and apparently unprovoked crime committed - making the assumption for the sake of the discussion that Miles is guilty - by someone with multiple previous arrests, including criminal mischief, disorderly conduct with a firearm, and two for resisting arrest and in 2012 was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial after being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Despite that background, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman claimed to know immediately the real cause for the shooting: the Black Lives Matter movement. There's no evidence linking Miles in any way to that movement, but that didn't matter to Hickman:
"When the rhetoric ramps up to the point where calculated cold-blooded assassination of police officers happens, this rhetoric has gotten out of control. We've heard Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Well, cops' lives matter, too."
He wasn't the only one. Devon Anderson, who is the district attorney for Harris County, called it "open warfare on law enforcement."
Criminal history? A history of violence? We don't need no stinking history!
Motive? We don't need no stinking motive! No, we know! It was all that talk about how black lives matter!
A connection, any connection, to that movement? We don't need no stinking connection! I told you! We know! That was the cause! You got people saying black lives matter like they actually mean it, you got people who are angry about the fact that despite progress blacks still are more than twice as likely to be killed by cops as white people are, you got people who are furious that nine months later, officials are still "investigating" the police murder of Tamir Rice, and first thing you know, you get "those people" all riled up and out of control!
And of course once some jackass like Sheriff Hickman - emphasis heavily on the first syllable - says it, it becomes "news" and Fox is all over it, pounding away, desperate to turn it into a meme that the right wing can hide from reality behind.
In "discussing" Deputy Goforth's murder the evening of Monday, August 31, "Fox and Friends" ran an onscreen banner calling the Black Lives Matter movement a "murder movement," and their guest called protesters "slime," "filth," and "cop-haters."
In a different segment on the same show, Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked a different guest, "Why has the Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group?"
(The answer she got, by the way, was "Well, they should do it, but unfortunately, it's being financed by the leftists," which has got to be one of the most totally non sequitur non sequiturs I have ever come across.)
Also on Monday, a guest called Black Lives Matter a "criminal organization" on the Fox talk show "The Five."
And also on Monday - this is all just coincidence, you understand, there surely is no coordination of message going on there - but also on Monday, Bill O’Reilly on his show called the movement a “hate group” and declared he was “going to put them out of business.”
This is beneath contempt, nothing other than a conscious and deliberate campaign to undermine and discredit the movement with a program of misdirection and deception looking to make all black people responsible for the actions of every individual black person - no "lone wackos" allowed if you're not white - plus fear-mongering with the blatantly racist dog-whistle that black people are incapable of controlling themselves so their anger is inherently threatening and dangerous, making any black protest movement "murderous," "criminal," and "hating."
And why are they so eager to discredit the movement? Because it's having an impact. A Pew Research Center survey from last month found that 53 percent of white Americans think the country needs to continue changing to give blacks equal rights. The number is distressingly low, but it is an increase from 39 percent, an increase of 14 percentage points, last year. In addition, a new Gallup poll found that 53 percent of whites said they are satisfied with the way blacks are treated in the United States. Again, the number is distressing, in this case distressingly high, but it is a drop from 67 percent in 2013, again a shift of 14 percentage points.
So the lies get told and the memes get spread to head of the terrifying prospect of change and worse yet, loss of white privilege. And they will be readily, eagerly, happily, lapped up by the bigots, buffoons, and bozos who make up far too large a portion of the American people and who are ever prepared to find a new way to tell themselves that the only racists are the people who protest racism. I fully expect the phrase "murder movement" to appear in comments in various places quite soon if it hasn't already.
It is frustrating, it is depressing, it is an outrage.
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