Tragedy struck when Nia Wilson, a black teenager, was stabbed and killed in Oakland last week. The suspect, a white man named John Lee Cowell, was out on parole following a two-year prison sentence for second-degree robbery with a fake gun and a box cutter.
Wilson’s murder was the latest in three separate killings connected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. But it was not until Wilson’s death that the BART killings took on a national and hysterical character.
“White people—including me,” the actress Anne Hathaway wrote on Instagram, “must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that all black people fear for their lives daily in America and have done so for generations.”
Is that obsequious and self-abasing enough? Not for Hathway. “We must ask our (white) selves—how ‘decent’ are we really? Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action?” Leave it to Hollywood to serve as a beacon of moral authority.
A History of Mental Illness and a Long Rap Sheet
Cowell had been paroled not from a prison but rather from a psychiatric hospital. According to his family, he has suffered from mental illness most of his life. “When he was released from the Atascadero State Mental Facility inside the Atascadero State Prison on [May 8], there was not a place for him to go with most of the mental institutions being shut down,” Cowell’s family said in a press statement. Some of Cowell’s family members mentioned they had a restraining order against him. He has a rap sheet that goes back to 2009—including an assault conviction for punching a woman in the stomach when he was 18.
“Knowing that he was diagnosed with being bipolar and schizophrenia, the system has failed in this instance,” the family added. Cowell had been living on the streets at the time of the murder.
Understand, Cowell’s family are offering no excuse or rationalization for his crime. Neither am I. To be clear, though, Oakland investigators “have found no evidence of racial motivation” and Cowell was a certified schizophrenic—and a manic-depressive one at that. Moreover, Oakland is in a county with violent crime and homicide rates well above the California state average. There are 803 registered sex offenders living in Oakland and the city itself has one of the highest crime rates in America, with property and violent crime rates that soar above the national average. But far be it from me to suggest that we should refrain from ascribing race as the motive of this particular crime in one of America’s most violent cities.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement that the attack “stirs deep pain and palpable fear” in black people. This coming from the official who tipped off illegal aliens in her city to an imminent ICE sweep—one that netted 115 criminal illegals with serious prior convictions. But more than 800 others escaped after Schaaf warned them about the impending raid. It’s a wonder Oakland is such a rough town.
Inconvenient Details Undermine “Privilege” Narrative
In Schaaf and Hathaway, we get a glimpse of what is the true white leftist privilege. “White privilege” in the sense leftists wish to convey is a myth. White leftist privilege, however, is a reality. Fact is, Wilson was one of three BART passengers slain in the span of a weekend. It has been established that her killer was a white transient, who should never have been on the streets (thanks, California), and who is severely mentally ill. But what of the other killers?
The first victim, identified as 50-year-old Gerald Bisbee, was assaulted at the Pleasant Hill Station on July 18. Bisbee was attacked, sustained a cut, and died July 20 from an infection in the wound. Authorities have identified the suspect as 20-year-old Abdul Bey. I’m no sleuth, but “Abdul Bey” is probably not Irish or Norwegian.
Then, in the early morning of July 21, police officers responded to a report of an injured man on the platform of the Bay Fair Station. The victim was identified as 47-year-old Don Stevens, a transient, who succumbed to his wounds and was declared brain dead by the time the transit police were able to get him to a hospital. Although witnesses could not confirm what exactly had happened, camera footage revealed an unidentified black man punching Stevens in the side of the head. Stevens fell to the floor, bashing his head against the cement, and later died.
Wilson was murdered on July 22.
If you read the New York Times report about the three killings, you might notice that although Bisbee and Stevens were killed first, the bulk of the story concerns Wilson. “Mr. Cowell is white,” the story notes, “the woman he is accused of killing was black.” Following a vigil for Wilson, “[s]ome residents told reporters that they were unsettled by what they saw as a double standard in the way the authorities treat white suspects compared with black ones,” the Times noted.
The Times published a picture of Cowell, but no pictures of Abdul Bey or the unnamed, at-large black male suspect in the Stevens killing. Surely, the Times’ reach could help authorities locate the suspected murderer. Surely, not including those pictures was an oversight. Right?
Bias is insidious. Of course, the Times reporters and their editor—or editors—decided to focus on the race of one killer and play down the race of the other suspects. Intentionally or not, the Times has betrayed its disregard for life—at least when it cannot be politicized. Two minority suspects claim two victims, no one bats an eyelash. A deranged white transient claims one black life, suddenly whites have a moral imperative to check their privilege and end crime as we know it.
Virtue Signaling on Parade
Here we arrive at “Hathawayan idiocy”—the inexorable leftist drive to make everything about their perverse worldview and, ultimately, about themselves. Anne Hathaway does not care for human life as much as she cares to indulge in public self-flagellation and moral preening. Otherwise, this conversation would be about a mayor who aids and abets criminals and about California’s inability to keep dangerous, mentally ill people off the streets. But those are hard problems that require real solutions.
In virtue signaling against mythical white privilege, Hathaway, along with self-hating whites and their nonwhite auxiliaries, implicitly have announced that life matters only when they can ascribe political value to it. Such are the noxious wages of leftist identity politics.
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