San Diego, CA — Everything about the events this past Wednesday is a tragedy. Legislative decorum was spat on, the name of conservatism was tarnished, and worst of all, courageous and duty-focused police officers were casualties of a frenzied mob. As of today at least one is dead. Several rioters are dead as well.
One of those deceased rioters has been identified as a former Air Force veteran by the name of Ashli Babbit. She was thirty-five and is survived by both an ex-husband and current husband. If decency were a standard in journalism, she might be remembered for her heroism during four separate tours in the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. Her life would be remembered for what she accomplished and how she served her country. Instead, her death is grotesquely connected with her political beliefs, entirely absent remorse, and bloated with shaming. News outlets are saying her death is simply the result of her support for Donald Trump. It is disgusting.
One news article, in particular, exemplifies the subhuman regard for conservatives and indeed conservatives’ lives. Coming out of the San Francisco Gate, there is a shortage of regret and an excess of victim-blaming in its story. This contradicts news stories about blacks killed by police. In those cases, readers and listeners are expected to feel guilt, pain, and shame about whiteness and assign blame only to external factors like white supremacist institutions and norms. It is taboo, and essentially racist, to question whether or not the deceased would be alive had they simply made better life choices. Ms. Babbit is nonetheless facing these expectations.
The article frequently cites Babbit’s use of “Twitter to amplify her views, including false allegations that November’s election was riddled with fraud.” It goes on to note that she referenced the “QAnon conspiracy theory, which centers on the baseless belief that Trump had been secretly fighting deep state enemies.” Of the many posts focused on ideas ranging from second-amendment rights, illegal immigration, and government policies toward coronavirus, the article notes some of those messages were “profane.” None of this is relevant to her passing, but at least now we know that because she said all these things, profanely no less, that her life should not be missed.
Most disgusting is a quote in the story from Brian Levin, who identifies as the director of the Center of the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. He is quoted as saying that “Babbit will be remembered as a martyr by people with a range of grievances spanning from disbelief in the seriousness of the pandemic to beliefs in QAnon conspiracy theories. When you have people in an alternate universe, they will take a catalytic event and spin it in a way that is most appealing to their emotions and fears, irrespective of what the facts may end up showing.”
One would think that a director of programming around hate and extremism, of all things, would show more empathy toward the recently deceased. Instead, he is unironically propagating the very hate and extremism he no doubts fights so valiantly for every day off a government salary. Brian Levin is not just a moral fool, he is evil. A woman was shot and killed, and the best he can do is say she didn’t have her facts straight.
Aside from reprehensible, these remarks are also curious insofar as that Levin’s description of her passing could be utilized verbatim to describe the suspension of reality that Black Lives Matter has endorsed in order to pretend that the police are the problem, not the suspects. Does BLM not take a “catalytic event and spin it in a way that is most appealing to their [the Black community] emotions and fears, irrespective of what the facts may end up showing”?
If the likes of Black Lives Matter want to be morally fair and message a consistent narrative, they could at least speak out on the fact that Ashli Babbit was unarmed and not posing any immediate threat (so far as we can tell) when she was killed. Isn’t that how these things go? Or did she just have the wrong skin color and political persuasion?
In the not-so-distant past, the likes of Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and George Floyd were beatified by the media establishment and cultural institutions. Each of the officer-involved shootings in which they were involved sparked massive protests, outrage, and riots. The individuals were remembered by the press and Democrats as wholesome individuals who just wanted to be their best selves, but who ran up against the black-hunting police. Most significantly, each case is turning out to be non-prosecutable based on evidence. Evidence which, of course, comes out well after the damage has been done and the narrative of police brutality furthered.
George Floyd’s funeral included singing by Ne-Yo, remarks by Al Sharpton, various Congresspeople, and President-elect Joe Biden. Over 500 guests were in attendance during a period when every other American was forbidden from celebrating the lives of loved ones lost. George Floyd had previously been arrested multiple times and even held a pregnant woman at gunpoint during a robbery.
Breonna Taylor’s accidental shooting death sparked two series of riots and lootings. Timelines are important, and it’s important to note that she was shot and killed in March, but riots only took place once the George Floyd riots proved so successful. Either way, growing awareness of her death sparkled the first wave, and the decision not to have charges pressed resulted in the second. Taylor’s face became a symbol of oppression for blacks and women, and so she held a unique stature. Less reported was the fact that she was involved in illicit narcotics dealings. The officers were not prosecuted for her death based on facts.
Jacob Blake was another black life interrupted by police intervention after he — once again — chose to violate laws and court orders. As with the other two cases, breaking the law shouldn’t result in a death sentence. But, and this is important, breaking the law does increase the likelihood of police interactions going badly. Here was a person who had digitally raped a woman and whose father was a raging anti-Semite. Nevertheless, his life was celebrated and recognized as tragically altered. Kamala Harris personally visited the family. The officer was not prosecuted based on facts.
In the four cases mentioned in this article, I am sorry they all ended in death and pain. I wish each outcome had been different. I wish George Floyd had truly turned his life around and hadn’t passed a fake $20, ingested lethal amounts of mind-altering fentanyl, or repeatedly resisted lawful and basic commands. I wish Breonna Taylor hadn’t associated with dangerous and criminal elements, or at the very least had deterred her boyfriend from firing at police. I wish Jacob Blake hadn’t tried to steal a car with children in it or wielded a knife despite repeated commands from officers to drop it and lawfully comply. I wish Ashli Babbit hadn’t stormed the U.S. Capitol or been associated with nefarious elements inside the building.
At any rate, thank you for your service to the United States, Ashli Babbit. You certainly contributed more to this society than some people whose names are forever and forcibly etched into our collective memories.