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TYRRELL: The price of threatening the powerful
So far, the telephone has not rung. Last week, I suggested a way for the left and the right to get together constructively. I suggested that the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton might give me a call, and we might unite in demanding an investigation of the death of Miriam Carey.
You may have forgotten who Miss Carey is. After all, it has been two weeks since her death. Two weeks of thunderous silence, after she rammed a White House barricade with her car. Then she drove off down Pennsylvania Avenue with a posse of police speeding after her. Finally, she was fatally shot in a hail of gunfire at the end of the avenue two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The House of Representatives gave the police a standing ovation.
I am not sure if that ovation came before or after word leaked out that Miss Carey was a law-abiding dental hygienist from Connecticut. Eventually, it was divulged that she was also mentally ill. She suffered postpartum depression with psychosis after the birth of her child, a child who was a year old and in the back seat of her black Infiniti when the police penetrated it with bullets. How many we do not know, but the child was unhurt. Miss Carey was dead at the scene.
Think of all the bizarre cases Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton have agitated for, the Tawana Brawley case, the Atlanta killings of long ago, and just recently, the case of Trayvon Martin. Martin was fatally shot during an altercation with George Zimmerman. That was indeed a tragedy, though not exactly an unavoidable tragedy. Young men get into fights all the time. Occasionally one side or the other resorts to weapons. Surely in the Martin-Zimmerman altercation one side could have simply walked away. Miss Carey did not get a chance to walk away. She was unarmed and clearly in distress. When the police surrounded her stopped vehicle, they could have waited her out. They could have shot out her tires. Surely, some other means of restraining her could have been employed. Instead, they apparently shot to kill.
Of course, the silence of the police is not the only silence. Thus far, not a peep has been heard from Capitol Hill, not even from the Congressional Black Caucus. Nor has the White House weighed in. When Martin was killed in Florida, President Obama had quite a lot to say. Rather famously he remarked, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Why is the president not leading the call for justice for Miriam? Why did he not attend the wake for her in New York? It was Monday night.
When one compares the outpouring of recriminations and grief for Trayvon Martin’s death with the few voices of protest surrounding Miriam Carey’s death, it is astounding. When police are engaged in a shootout with an unarmed person, as they were with Miss Carey, there is usually talk of negligent homicide or manslaughter. Thus far, there has been little talk of the woman’s death, let alone of filing charges.
People — usually on the right — tell me that this is because the “ruling class” felt threatened. The ruling class lives in Washington and feels entrenched, though recently they have felt embattled. So am I to believe this is the reason no calls for an inquiry have been heard? Are Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton siding with the ruling class?
Frankly, I had thought that by now we would have heard from them. I guess I was not really expecting them to call me, but rather to call a news conference and call us all to our duty. This is a country that prides itself in the rule of law. Why the silence for Miriam? Why the silence of Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton?
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of the American Spectator and the author of “The Death of Liberalism” (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
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