The quickest way to tell that the Black Lives Matter version of the Charlotte shooting is disintegrating is that the most basic facts of the case are now being declared irrelevant. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, told CNN’s Carol Costello that “In my mind, and in most of the community’s mind, it doesn’t matter if he [Keith Scott] had a gun.”
It doesn’t matter if he had a gun? Actually, yes it does. The gun is the sticking point of the entire debate, the hinge upon which so many judgements turn. Take, for example, the cell phone video released by Scott’s widow, Rakeyia Scott, in which she pleads with the police not to shoot because, in her words, “He has no weapon.” Her statement is oddly incongruous with the police’s shouted commands to “Drop the gun!” If he did in fact have a gun, the officers’ actions appear justifiable. If he was only holding a book, as the Black Lives Matters movement contends, then the incident appears to be a coordinated attack on an innocuous citizen. So did he have a gun or didn’t he? It makes a difference.
The fact that the police were ordering Scott to drop his weapon demonstrates at least that they thought he had a gun. Purveyors of the book theory are implying that a book looks like a gun to racist southern cops when a black man is holding it. But this wasn’t a case of misperception—the police did recover a pistol at the scene, a possibility that Corine Mack almost certainly dreaded, hence her clever hedging. The pistol was covered with Scott’s fingerprints and blood, and it was apparently stolen property. Scott’s supporters are now resorting to outlandish conspiracy theories to explain away the gun. Not only did the cops shout “drop the gun” for the benefit of the camera, but apparently they also planted the gun afterward, laced with fingerprints and DNA, all so they could shoot an unthreatening, unarmed black man while he read a book and waited for his son to get off the school bus.
Rakeyia Scott’s shrieking pleas to the cops seem criminal in light of the fact that her husband was in fact armed with a pistol. The police were caught up in a tense situation with an armed suspect and she was interfering with their duties. Worse yet, she was attempting to persuade them that her husband posed no danger when she knew well that he was an armed felon with a history of violence, having been convicted in 2005 of firing ten shots at an acquaintance and then evading arrest. She was even the target of Keith Scott’s violence in the recent past. In October of last year she received a restraining order against him after he kicked her, threatened her with a gun, and punched her 8-year old son three times in the face. It seems that his only punishment was to turn in his gun which, as a convicted felon, he was not legally permitted to own. He did not go back to jail, a testament to how lenient the legal system is with criminals in this country. After the restraining order had been in place just eleven days, Mrs. Scott relented and asked the court to remove it. She is the classic case of a woman who returns to, and even defends, her abuser.
Is it possible that Mrs. Scott didn’t know that her husband was carrying a gun on the day he was killed? That seems unlikely in that he was wearing a holster around his ankle in plain view. It’s very likely that she knew he was armed and she certainly knew that he was dangerous and yet she encouraged the police to let down their guard. I’m no lawyer but there has to be something illegal about that. Rakeyia Scott was not naïve about her bad boy husband. She lied to the cops, a lie that might have cost them their lives if they had been dumb enough to believe it.
Rakeyia Scott doesn’t see anything wrong with her lie because the facts of her husband’s violent history and criminal gun ownership are irrelevant to her. Nor do they matter to the NAACP and, if their chapter president’s statement is accurate, they don’t matter to Charlotte’s black community. Facts never seem to matter when a black criminal gets shot. Take for example the unnamed neighbors who claimed that they also saw a book in Scott’s hand, thus corroborating the widow’s story and painting the cops as liars. It’s Ferguson 2014 all over again, with the black community saying whatever they have to say to indict the cops. I wouldn’t be surprise if some of the “witnesses” weren’t even there.
Black Lives Matter really ought to start calling themselves Facts Don’t Matter because that’s what they believe. What’s important to them is the narrative—the story that gets told through the media. Luckily for them, the media is predisposed to tell their story for them, regardless of its veracity. The narrative is so well-rehearsed that reporters no longer wait for the facts to come in before dashing off ill-informed pieces filled with factual errors. The vaunted New York Times, for example, tweeted that Charlotte police had killed an “unarmed black man.” Just a mistake? If so, why do these mistakes always seem to portray the cops in the worst light? The Times later “corrected” itself, tweeting that it was still undetermined whether Keith Scott was armed. No, it isn’t undetermined, it’s merely disputed by a few halfwits who cannot and never will accept that a gun was recovered at the scene. The Associated Press ran a story that claimed Scott had been killed by a white police officer. False. Keith Scott was killed by Officer Brentley Vinson, who is black, and by all accounts a great cop.
This shooting should really be a 30-second story on the 11 o’clock local news, and it should go something like this—a violent convicted felon nearly killed a few police officers with a pistol he illegally owned but the officers defended themselves and, unfortunately, the felon died. That’s the no-nonsense version of what happened and it’s exactly how it would have been reported if Keith Scott had been white. The fact that the dead guy was black really shouldn’t be mentioned at all because it implies that he was only killed for being black. There’s zero evidence of that. If they must mention his race they should also mention, over and over again, that the cop who shot him is also black.
But of course histrionics ruled the day and this minor local story became national news. The media merely updated their template with a few details pertaining to this particular case and went to press with the same old story—racist cops murder innocent black man in cold blood for no other reason than his race. To my knowledge, there has never been a police shooting that actually went down this way—at least not in my lifetime. That’s not to say that in every case the police were blameless, though in some they were. In other cases, the cops were too quick to use force, and in others they showed indiscipline, but in no instance that I can think of did police officers gun down a completely innocent black person for no other reason than racial animosity.
But if the facts of the case won’t fit the narrative, it’s the facts not the narrative that Black Lives Matter alter. From “hands up, don’t shoot” to Sandra Bland’s supposed murder, the movement thrives on enormous lies. They seem almost incapable of telling the truth, hamstrung by some kind of mental or emotional roadblock that simply won’t allow an honest accounting of what happened. Charlotte is being terrorized over a lie, just like Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Ferguson before it. No, we don’t need to “understand” the rioters’ grievances because their grievances are bunk. We need to stand up for the truth and good cops.