Was this tragedy caused by anti-black racism?

I just stumbled across an article about a tragedy which recently took place in the United States.
(There is  a short video to be watched there).
Ryan_Descha

(By Shaun King)

White man runs red light, causes accident, shoots and kills black woman with her hands up

Early Saturday morning, Deborah Pearl, a 53-year-old African-American mother and employee of a Cleveland area Harley Davidson Diner in Northeast Ohio, was on her to way work.

At 7:20 a.m., as she was driving her Ford Taurus, she had no idea that she was living her very last moments on this earth. Matthew Ryan Desha, a 29-year-old white man, ran a red light at an intersection and hit Pearl’s car with his Jeep.

After his car flipped many times and hers was pushed into the intersection, what happened next was like something out of a horror movie.

As Deborah Pearl got out of her car to assess the situation, Matthew Desha did as well. Except he also grabbed his 5.56-millimeter high powered assault rifle. According to witnesses, Pearl then proceeded to put her hands in the air in attempt to save her life from the armed stranger who had narrowly avoided killing them both in the crash just seconds earlier.

It mattered not to Matthew Desha. A witness who called 911 reported hearing him fire off at least 12 shots. At first, the appeared to be random. The 911 caller heard Deborah Pearl, who was a sitting duck at that point, begin screaming. Desha then began aiming and firing at her. While it has not yet been released how many times she was hit, when police arrived the scene, Deborah Pearl was found there on pavement mortally wounded and bleeding out.

Devastated and shocked, her husband and other family members came to the scene, and, understandably so, could not even muster up the words to explain how they were feeling.

Matthew Desha was arrested near the scene. Early Monday morning he was charged with the murder of Deborah Pearl. Police have not mentioned a motive for the brutal murder, but the entire scene is riddled with awful implications.

Just this past June, “police charged 29-year-old Matthew R. Desha with one felony count of carrying a concealed weapon and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. A search of the North Ridgeville, Ohio, man’s car turned up a loaded 9 mm handgun and three additional loaded magazines, along with straws with suspected drug residue and other contraband.”

Clearly, that arrest wasn’t enough to have this man fully disarmed.

My mind immediately goes to Kalief Browder, who was arrested on suspicion of stealing a backpack. Kalief spent three years in jail awaiting trial for that charge before simply being released when the case was dismissed.

Desha, though, was arrested on a felony gun charge and was suspected of having drugs in his car as well, but was released in plenty of time to murder Deborah Pearl in cold blood.

I don’t know Matthew Desha, but I know cold-blooded bigotry and violence. I know that what Matthew Desha did to Deborah Pearl reminds me a great deal of what Dylann Roof, another heavily armed white man who had been previously arrested multiple times for drug and other charges, did to a group of unarmed African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina.

Either way, a family just lost their wife and mother in a senseless act of American violence and we don’t have a single sign that anybody in power is close to doing a thing about it.

*************************
I cannot imagine either what her family must have felt.
 
But I have several remarks concerning the article itself.
 
1) Was this really motivated by racial hatred? Could it be that under the same circumstances, the man would have killed a white woman standing in his way?
We need to know more about his background before concluding this hideous crime was driven by anti-black racism.
 
For all we know, he might as well be a psychopath or suffer from delusions.
 
So at the moment, we cannot positively assert that he murdered her for the same reason Dylann Roof cowardly killed black Christian ministers.
 
2) What about situations where the role are reversed and it is a black man who kills a white woman?
 
Would it be right to title an article “Black man causes car crash, shoots and kills white woman”?
If a black man did that to a black woman, would it be right to write “Black man causes car crash, shoots and kills black woman”?
 
I think not, because this would unjustly stigmatise all black men.
 
But the same can be said about the stigmatisation of “white” men which is so widespread among the wealthy liberal establishment.
If it turns out his crime was truly driven by bigotry, an appropriate title would be “Racist white man causes car crash, shoots and kills black woman”.
 
3) Given the absence of evidence this act was motivated by racial hatred, all we can say is that a human being committed an atrocity against another human being.
In such a situation, we should sympathise with the afflicted family and pray for them if we are religious believers.
4) This article shows one of the main problems I have with “Black Lives Matter”, namely their failure to consider alternative explanations before concluding something was due to anti-black racism.
To his credit, Shaun King did not draw this conclusion but he strongly suggested this is the case.
If we are really interested in truth, we should only conclude something was caused by racism if we have concrete evidence pointing in that direction.
To give you an example, it is entirely true that there are disproportionately more Africo-Americans in prison than whites.
But before shouting that this huge disparity is due to racism occurring in the here and now, you must show that poverty plays no significant role.
Don’t get me wrong.
Besides, the appalling rise of Donald Trump makes it abundantly clear that there are still many Americans of Europeans descent who hate, resent or disdain Afro-Americans.
So a significant part of the problem is caused by racism.
But another significant part is caused by an unjust economical system plaguing poor blacks AND poor whites alike.
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
Martin Luther King on the “curse of poverty”.
“Black Lives Matter” activists almost always ignore this and pretend that everything is a consequence of skin colour.
It is a divisive movement which despises the rules of rationality and evidence-based thinking.
5) I wrote what I honestly believe at the moment.
If you think that makes me a “racist”, then so be it.
My thoughts are constantly evolving and I am ready to reconsider my opinion if you can identify flaws in my reasoning.
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3 thoughts on “Was this tragedy caused by anti-black racism?

  1. You know what ever the racial tensions are, their is a fix that can reduce the death rate , its not perfect but it works, remove the guns from the general population. The death rate from violent acts will just go down.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree that forbidding weapons to the general public might greatly reduce the death rate. But people are likely to remain as violent as they are.

  2. I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill here.
    Mr. King did not claim that this was indeed a racially motivated crime, he said that the police has not yet mentioned anything regarding a motive and then said “…what Matthew Desha did to Deborah Pearl reminds me a great deal of what Dylann Roof, another heavily armed white man who had been previously arrested multiple times for drug and other charges, did…”
    Your conclusion based on this:
    ““Black Lives Matter” activists almost always ignore this and pretend that everything is a consequence of skin colour.
    It is a divisive movement which despises the rules of rationality and evidence-based thinking.”
    – strikes me as both uncharitable, because, again, King didn’t actually make the claim that this definitely was a racially motivated crime, and as an unfair generalization.
    What I don’t understand is that you yourself seem to realize it because you also point out “To his credit, Shaun King did not draw this conclusion but he strongly suggested this is the case”, given that you realized that, I’m baffled that you reached the conclusion mentioned above.

    Regarding:

    To give you an example, it is entirely true that there are disproportionately more Africo-Americans in prison than whites.
    But before shouting that this huge disparity is due to racism occurring in the here and now, you must show that poverty plays no significant role.

    Why does that need to be shown? No complex phenomenon has a single cause and wrt the overrepresentation of African-Americans among the prison population, it would be a priori expected that both poverty and racism (and other factors) contribute to it, and that is indeed what studies show.

    So a significant part of the problem is caused by racism.
    But another significant part is caused by an unjust economical system plaguing poor blacks AND poor whites alike.

    I don’t understand what your problem here is exactly. Are you criticizing BLM for having a focus? If so, that would strike me as an unfair and unproductive criticism, because every effective orgnization / movement has a focus. Amnesty International for example does not deal with environmentalism, although global warming has arguably become a human rights issue (see for example: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/global-warming-helped-cause-syrian-war/ ), I think it would be unfair to criticize AI for not dealing with such issues because you can’t reasonably expect them to deal with literally every single contributing factor to human rights violations.
    Have you ever asked anyone who identifies as a BLM supporter if they would agree with your statement here: “But another significant part is caused by an unjust economical system plaguing poor blacks AND poor whites alike.”? And what exactly makes you believe that they would disagree with it?

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