That the latest black shooting victim being used to justify rioting in Minneapolis had the same name as the doomed protagonist in “1984” supports a friend’s theory that a Supreme Being is just using us for his own amusement. But the latest set of reflex rioting—the rule is that if a black suspect/criminal/alleged criminal is killed by police under any circumstances, there must be riots—tells us more than that. It confirms what should have been evident quite a while ago: this process is social extortion, or, if you prefer, domestic terrorism. The aim is to threaten and punish innocent citizens and vilify police using the presumption of racism as an excuse, so that there can be virtually no enforcement of the law against African-Americans at all. “Black Lives Matter,” always a deceitful bit of rhetorical dishonesty, has now completely morphed into Facts Don’t Matter for anyone to see who is bold enough to accept the ugly truth.
Who was Winston Smith? He was convicted in 2017 in the assault and robbery of his ex-girlfriend and sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was suspended for three years, on the condition that “Boogie” didn’t break more laws. Of course, he did. As a convicted felon, Smith was prohibited from owning or having a firearm. He was charged with illegally possessing a gun in 2019. The U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement that its task force was trying to arrest Smith on a state warrant for illegal possession of a firearm last week. When law enforcement tried to take him into custody from a parked car on the top level of a parking ramp, he “failed to comply with officers’ commands” and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.” Task force members took life-saving measures, but Winston Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
A woman who was also in the car was treated for minor injuries from broken glass. “Evidence at the scene indicates that the man fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun as well as spent cartridge cases from inside the driver’s compartment,” the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.
The big problem here is that was no video. For some reason the U.S. Marshals Service does not allow body cameras for officers on the task force. An investigation is ongoing; at this point, everything is based on what we have been told. Maybe Smith didn’t have a gun. Maybe the gun the investigators found had “Hasbro” on it; maybe they planted it. Maybe he had his hands up, and shouted “Don’t shoot!” or “I can’t breathe!” I don’t know, and neither do the rioters. The difference is that they are rioting and I’m not. All that matters to them is that the police killed a black man, and they want to make sure that officers never do that again, which will be a great help to black criminals. Smith’s conduct doesn’t matter; whether he shot at the marshals doesn’t matter. If police end up killing a black man, they are at fault, the system is at fault, white America is at fault, and people have to be hurt. That’s the script now. After all, it’s worked so far.
The shooting occurred on June 3. As word spread, a crowd of protesters gathered, shouted expletives at police, and then began to get down to business, vandalizing buildings and looting businesses. A dumpster was also set on fire. Nine people were arrested on charges that ranged from arson, assault and damage to property. The next day, the violence continued. Fireworks were launched at police guarding a gas station. More fires were set; at least 27 people were arrested on riot charges. Last night, the protests really were “mostly peaceful,” though the rhetoric was not.
Protesters marched through the city chanting anti-police slogans, like “I smell bacon! Oink! Oink! Motherfuckers!” “Black Lives Matter” flags were flying among other threatening chants, like “No good cops in a racist system!” and “If Winston don’t get it – burn it down! Who shut this down? We shut this down! Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!,” “ACAB(All Cops Are Bastards),” “Cops = Terrorists,” and “This will continue until the police are abolished.”
That certainly appears to be the goal. As in the cases of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Jacob Blake in Kenosha Wisconsin (among others), there is no evidence that race was a factor in Smith’s shooting, just as race was apparently not a factor in George Floyd’s death. The news media has an obligation to make this clear as soon as possible, but it never does. Reporters don’t want to be called racists.
Meanwhile, the familiar pattern is being followed by the victim’s family, which is describing Smith as a wonderful human being. This is a cognitive dissonance game that the media also encourages. What matters in determining misconduct, if any, by police is how Smith behaved in his encounter with law enforcement and why he was being arrested. Never mind: the family wants us to know that he was a 32-year-old father of three whose main goal in this world “was making people happy and being there for his kids.” Winston never missed a birthday party! He was, the family said, a comedian who wrote comedy skits for social media… “a character,” his mother, Tijuana Wilson, said at a news conference. “A fun person.” Maybe he was just shooting at the marshals as a joke! OK, they all can’t be hilarious…comedy is hard.
Smith’s sister, Tieshia Floyd (no relation to George Floyd, I hope) joined in the gaslighting. She said her brother’s reputation had been smeared and any past mistakes he made did not justify his death. No, but if he was shooting at police while resisting arrest, that would justify his death. “No, he wasn’t perfect. None of us are,” she continued. “He was trying to turn over a new leaf but they took that away from him.”
Why is a statement like that publicized without an immediate note that it is per se absurd? Engaging in assault and robbery and breaking probation, followed by resisting a lawful arrest and shooting at police is a long, long way from “perfect.” I’m not perfect, but don’t compare my paying my taxes late to this guy. And if he was trying to “turn over a new leaf” by getting in a shootout with U.S. Marshals, he was doing it wrong.
Minnesota House of Delegates Rep. John Thompson then proved himself to be an irresponsible, race-baiting opportunist by saying that he was “tired of black men in his state being killed by police.” I bet police are tired of black men resisting arrest too; he might have mentioned that, but he’s pandering, not trying to solve a problem. Of course he called for “police reform” and the “reinvestment of resources into community organizations,” because this has worked so well over the last year in his state, which has seen crime rates erupt. “There’ll be another dead black man here in the state of Minnesota this year unless our legislators take it upon themselves … to pass some meaningful legislation here in this state when it comes to police reform,” Thompson continued shamelessly
How would “police reform” have saved Winston Smith once he started shooting?
Again, facts don’t matter. Either society will finally stop accepting this increasingly obvious effort to intimidate police out of enforcing the law against one part of society based on its skin-shades, or they will allow domestic terrorism to work. So far, our elected officials and institutions are doing the latter. Doing the right and responsible thing and refusing to be extorted is a bit harder. That will require courage.