We’ve commented before about the lack of selectivity displayed by Black Lives Matter and its fellow travelers in choosing “martyrs.” There was a time when the left, especially the black left, routinely glorified thugs who ran afoul of the law to their detriment. But that was 40 years ago or more, during the heyday of the Black Panthers. Since then, the left usually has tried to emphasize the grievances of those who could plausibly be viewed as somewhat sympathetic, or at least aggrieved.
No longer. The left tried to pass off Michael Brown, the thug who robbed a convenience store, roughed up an employee, and then assaulted a police officer, as a “gentle giant.” Okay, anyone can make a mistake before the facts are all in.
But even after the Obama Justice Department exploded the gentle giant myth and found that the officer who killed Brown acted in self defense, the left continues to treat Brown as a victim. With much better cases of bad police conduct to tout, it still won’t let go of the “hands up, don’t shoot” Ferguson lie.
And now the movement is pressing the case of Korryn Gaines. She’s the woman whom the Baltimore County police shot and killed after she pointed a shotgun at officers for hours while police officers tried to talk her down, and eventually threatened to kill them.
Gaines was a dangerous nutcase who sought confrontations with police, including an armed confrontation. In place of a license plate, she had a piece of cardboard that said “any government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right and freedom.”
When pulled over for not having a license plate, she escalated the traffic stop, telling officers that they were going to have to “murder” her and “carry her out in a body bag.” As she was being arrested, she urged her five-year-old child to bite the officers.
After Gaines failed to show up for her court date, she knew that officers would come to her apartment. In anticipation, she posted on Instagram a picture of herself loading a shotgun, and thanked her father for teaching her “how to protect herself,” and “who to protect herself from.” She noted that she had purchased her pistol-grip, pump-action 12-gauge shotgun (“Big Girl”) before “they threw me charge” (i.e., arrest me).
When the police arrived, Gaines had her shotgun ready. She pointed it at officers. The police negotiated with her for hours, but to no avail.
Worst of all, Gaines used her five-year old as both a prop and, at times it seems, a shield.
After hours of this, Gaines threatened to kill an officer if they did not leave. Police then fired at her and she fired back. Gaines was killed and her son injured, though not critically.
You might think this case — in a sense, suicide by cop — is one that even the black left would steer clear of. If so, you would be wrong.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is pressing the matter, seeking records and information. Monique Dixon, its deputy director of policy, says:
We are experiencing a crisis in the level of confidence that black and brown communities have in law enforcement. We are seeking to better understand the policing practices in communities of color, and that information will help us to advance recommendations for changes. . .
I doubt that the Gaines incident has anything to tell us about “policing practices in communities of color.” Black or white (in Maryland or in Oregon), if you ostentatiously flout the law, the police will confront you, and if you put officers in fear for their lives, you might very well get killed.
Nonetheless, it’s the right of civil rights organizations and citizens generally to seek information from the police. If the NAACP Legal Defense Fund wants to probe what is almost surely an open and shut case, that’s okay. I suspect that, generously funded, they have the resources to waste.
But BLM style protesters aren’t waiting for information that might somehow show police wrongdoing. On Sunday, as the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police conference opened in downtown Baltimore, demonstrators wore T-shirts reading “Justice 4 Korryn Gaines.”
Thus, as improbable as it might have seemed, Korryn Gaines has entered the pantheon of Black Lives Matter martyrs.