Alleged Racism Does Not Justify A Mass Shooting

A gunman killed five people at the Molson Coors factory in Milwaukee last month. The black shooter’s rampage ended when he killed himself.

This is a horrible outrage that cannot be justified on any grounds. Unfortunately, the mainstream media wants to paint a sympathetic picture of the black gunman. In mass shootings committed by white gunmen, the media blames toxic white masculinity, guns, and white America in general for the violence. In this case, however, the media blames racism and tries to excuse his violence.

The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, and several other outlets published reports that the shooter allegedly experienced racism at the Molson Coors factory. One incident included a noose being placed on his locker several years ago. Even though every major outlet wants to blame racism for the shooting, police have ruled it out as a motive and emphasize that none of the victims were involved in the alleged incidents of bigotry.

The media still wants to pin the blame on racism, however. This creates a far more sympathetic portrait of a mass shooter than typical mass shooter coverage. It also blames the factory and the victims for the violence instead of the gunman. It’s disgusting, but it should be expected.

There was a very similar case in 2010 when another black shooter murdered eight of his co-workers at a Connecticut beer distillery. Before killing himself, this shooter called his family to tell them he “killed the five racists.” His family blamed the racism the black gunman allegedly faced at his job for the mass shooting. It turned out that the killer’s claims were completely bogus. As it turned out, the gunman had been fired for stealing beer and was angry about it. Before the truth came out, the media aired the racism claims uncritically and portrayed the man in a more sympathetic light than most mass shooters.

In 1993, a Jamaican immigrant also tried to blame racism for his mass shooting aboard a Long Island train. That shooter killed six people in what his lawyers claimed was a case of “black rage.” Black rage, according to his lawyers, was a result of the alleged racism he suffered in New York on a daily basis. Therefore, his lawyers contended, the shooter could not be held criminally liable. Happily, the justice system disagreed and sentenced the Long Island Railroad shooter to 315 years in prison.

The sympathetic coverage of black mass shooters lashing out at racism encourages other offenders to justify their behavior with similar excuses. When a white boy was brutally beaten on a school bus last year by black youths, the parents of the youths claimed the white victim used racial slurs. That claim managed to convince some, including the conservative blog Red State, that the assault wasn’t just a brutal mob beating.

Former Florida State football player De’Andre Johnson tried to wiggle out of a 2015 assault charge by claiming his female victim called him a racial slur. Surveillance footage showed Johnson slugging a white woman in the face at a bar. His only defense was that she called him a name. The justice system didn’t buy his defense and he was sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Unfortunately, not every instance of this defense is disregarded and prosecuted like Johnson’s. It has worked in a few cases.

Florida prosecutors dropped murder charges against a black man who beat a white man to death in a parking lot brawl. The black man said he beat the white man after hearing his victim call him the “n”-word. Even though the man admitted to the killing, authorities dropped the charges due to “insufficient evidence.”

People kill for different reasons. The victim may have angered the killer. It’s possible a shooter had a bad day at work and broke down. Maybe some killers even do experience legitimate and contemptible racism. But none of these things excuse the senseless slaughter of innocent people.

There’s a clear double standard when the media asks all white Americans to take responsibility for one maniac’s mass shooting, yet we’re supposed to sympathize with black mass shooters whenever there is even a dubious accusation of racism.

The most troubling part about the press coverage of such crimes is that insinuates it’s OK to murder people if you feel you have suffered racism. Any maniac can now expect similarly muted coverage if he has the right skin color and the right storyline. We didn’t have to listen to heartfelt reports about the bullying suffered by the Parkland shooter or the misfortunes of the Charleston, S.C. church shooter.

We shouldn’t have to hear them about other mass shooters just because they happen to be black.

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About Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford is a Capitol Hill refugee now earning an honest living.

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

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