August 30, 2023

Jacksonville Shooting

A white man armed with a high-powered rifle and a handgun killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, before shooting himself, in what local law enforcement described as a racially motivated crime…

“[Jacksonville Sheriff T.K.] Waters said authorities believed the shooter acted alone, and that before the shooting he had authored ‘several manifestos’ for media, his parents and law enforcement detailing his hatred for Black people.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left calls for additional gun control and argues that the shooting was fueled by anti-Black rhetoric.

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said the right things, albeit awkwardly, at a vigil for the dead on Sunday night, calling the 21-year-old killer a ‘major league scumbag’ and vowing that ‘we are not going to let people be targeted based on their race.’…

“But the crowd was also right to boo him. DeSantis has weakened gun laws in Florida rather than take steps that might have kept a weapon of war out of the hands of an unbalanced, homicidal young racist. DeSantis has crusaded incessantly against ‘wokeness,’ a term whose original meaning was awareness of the systemic racism that fuels anti-Black discrimination and violence…  

“And DeSantis has instituted a new curriculum in Florida schools that downplays the long history of African Americans being ‘targeted’ precisely because of their race. When studying the Jim Crow era, students are to be taught about ‘acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans’ — as if White people and Black people were equally to blame.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“It was perfectly legal for the racist killer of three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday to buy and possess the Glock handgun and AR-15-style rifle he used in the shootings, officials said. A laptop belonging to Ryan Christopher Palmeter, the white 21-year-old killer, was filled with racist screeds. Officials said he had been briefly held for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation in 2017…

Firearms are the leading cause of death of juveniles in the U.S. Biden recently unveiled a plan to increase access to mental health care, including in schools, in part to address the causes of gun violence. The far-right organization called Moms for Liberty said, in effect, don’t you dare. Mental health care ‘has NO place in public schools,’ the group said in a social media post earlier this month.”

Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

“Florida saw 3,142 deaths involving a firearm, the third most in the nation, in 2021… Florida has also seen an alarming uptick in White supremacist extremism… [A recent] report detailed that several extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, are operating in Florida…

DeSantis must do more than simply denounce this hate-fueled shooting as ‘unacceptable.’… When DeSantis is passionate about issues — such as his anti-’woke’ agenda that has led to restrictions on the teaching of Black history in Florida — he is outspoken and demands legislation be enacted. It’s time that he shows the same passion for both saving lives from gun violence and combating the poison of White supremacy.”

Dean Obeidallah, CNN

From the Right

The right is skeptical of additional gun control measures, and pushes back against the idea that Ron Desantis is culpable for the shooting.

The right is skeptical of additional gun control measures, and pushes back against the idea that Ron Desantis is culpable for the shooting.

“We could use more elected officials like [Jacksonville] Sheriff [T.K.] Waters. He didn’t sensationalize the tragedy. He showed respect to the victims and their loved ones. And he didn’t call for gun-grabbing in the aftermath… Millions of people are gun owners in America and the guns are not used in murders or other crimes…

“The shooter (I am not using his name) had a history of troubling behavior. He was involved in a domestic violence incident in 2016. He was once voluntarily committed to a mental hospital for examination.”

Karen Townsend, Hot Air

Regarding claims that DeSantis is culpable for the shooting, “The idea is utterly ridiculous. The three Americans who were murdered in Jacksonville on Saturday were killed by a white supremacist who hated black people — and had for a long time

“What, exactly, is [DeSantis’s critics’] implication? That the killer had normal views on race until Florida banned DEI in public universities? That the killer was most of the way there in his ideological fervor, but that a contrived dispute over a single word in a single line from the public school curriculum pushed him over the edge?…

“The aim was to get DeSantis’s name into the same sentence as a neo-Nazi; as if the two men have anything whatsoever to do with one another, as if DeSantis didn’t call the guy a ‘scumbag’ and a ‘coward’ at the first possible opportunity, as if disagreements as to how schools can best foster universalism are really disagreements over whether or not racial hatred is acceptable.”

Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review

“Steve Blizzard. Ronald Jeffers. Scott and Shirley Leavitt. All were killed by a random man suffering from mental issues in Hampton, GA. You probably have not heard about them… Unlike the situation in Jacksonville, FL, those four individuals were white, and the shooter was black. It did not make the national press…

“It reminds me of the dozens shot and six killed at a birthday party in Alabama. The shooters were black, and the victims were black. No AR-15 was used. The same weekend, a white girl was shot and killed [when she] turned around in a man’s driveway in New York. The press and President, though, focused on a black boy shot by a senior citizen in Missouri. The boy, thankfully, survived…

“Now, we turn to Jacksonville… It is a tragedy. It is senseless. It is part of the ongoing national spiritual collapse. But it is also deeply relevant to note which stories get the coverage and which manifestos get rapidly revealed.”
Erick-Woods Erickson, Substack

A libertarian's take

“When you find yourself in a situation where a young man wakes up one day and decides to kill people because of their race, the absence of certain firearms—or even all firearms—wouldn't actually solve the problem or prevent tragedy… A gun is simply a tool. People can use it to do great evil, as we've witnessed in this case. But they can also use it to do good, as it's estimated that guns are used in self-defense somewhere between 500,000 and 2 million times every year in America.”
Brad Polumbo, Newsweek

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.