I hate the phrase “gun violence prevention,” because in my view, we should looking at ways to reduce violence in general. If we’re trying to save lives, does it matter if the killer used a gun, a knife, or a bowling ball?
Apparently so, at least on the Left. While “gun violence” is a scourge that can only be treated by turning the right to keep and bear arms into a criminal offense, knife violence is just one of those things. Oh, it’s not that it’s completely unserious, but it’s certainly nothing that would require lethal force to be used to prevent someone from being stabbed.
A Black teenage girl named Ma’Khia Bryant was killed because a police officer immediately decided to shoot her multiple times in order to break up a knife fight. Demand accountability. Fight for justice. #BlackLivesMatter.
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) April 21, 2021
Of course, the incident in Columbus, Ohio that led to police fatally shooting a 16-year old girl wasn’t exactly a “knife fight” to begin with. From what we know so far, the only person who had a knife was the 16-year old who was shot, and the officer fired as she was preparing to stab another teenager.
None of that seems to matter to folks like President Obama’s national security advisor Valerie Jarrett, however.
On Thursday afternoon the Columbus Police released more information about the incident that led to Bryant’s death, including the fact that a 911 call had been made from someone (we don’t yet know who) screaming that she was about to be stabbed. That was the information that the first officers on scene had to go on; someone was trying to stab someone.
A second 911 call, placed around 4:48 p.m., resulted in the caller hanging up after seeing a police cruiser on the scene.
Columbus police Officer Nicholas Reardon, hired in December 2019, was the first officer on scene and was identified Wednesday as the officer who shot Bryant.
Reardon’s body camera showed what played out when he arrived on the scene.
There were multiple people in the driveway of the home and the video shows Bryant with a knife in hand and making movement toward another young woman, who falls backwards to the ground at the officer’s feet.
Bryant then turns and moves toward another young woman, who is up against the hood of a sedan parked in the driveway. The video shows Bryant holding the knife and moving it in a motion that appears to be an attempt to swing the knife at the young woman’s upper body.
Reardon is heard saying “Get down” multiple times and then fires his weapon.
Four shots are heard — but police have not confirmed whether additional shots were fired — and Bryant falls to the ground. Officers provided medical aid to Bryant at the scene until paramedics arrived. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died at 5:21 p.m.
What Jarrett and others on the Left are completely ignoring is the fact that if Bryant had not been shot by Reardon, then someone else may very well have died at Bryant’s hand. This wasn’t a situation where non-lethal force should have been used, because Bryant herself was using lethal force. What would the reaction from the Left have been if Bryant’s intended victim had been stabbed or died because officers didn’t intervene, or tried to use a stun gun instead of lethal force? Likely they would be accused of willfully ignoring the threat and allowing a young black woman to die because of their callous indifference and racial bias. The change in circumstances wouldn’t change their argument either way.
Because of their refusal to acknowledge the fact that other lives were at risk because of Bryant’s actions, they’re left with arguments like this.
Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons. We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon against one of the teenagers. Y’all need help. I mean that sincerely.
— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@BreeNewsome) April 21, 2021
A knife can kill you just like a gun can. In fact, as the Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer pointed out, knives are used in far more homicides than rifles of any kind, including the AR-15.
(1) Roughly 4x as many people are stabbed to death every year than are shot to death with a rifle of any kind. Knives are lethal. Period.
(2) This wasn't a "knife fight." It was attempted murder.
(3) Why are we ignoring the Black girl whose life was likely saved? https://t.co/hOFWMNHkJW
— Amy Swearer (@AmySwearer) April 21, 2021
Again, I’ll ask: is the Left interested in reducing violence, or just reducing gun violence through gun control? Those focused on preventing violence might look for ways that the initial fight could have been avoided in the first place, which also would have prevented officers from shooting Bryant. If your focus is on “gun violence prevention,” then you’re probably myopically focused on the fact that Bryant was shot and killed by police, while ignoring a lot of other pertinent information.
It is a terrible thing that Ma’Khia Bryant was killed, but she was killed because she was seconds away from doing a terrible thing. That fact can’t be avoided or ignored. It’s the fundamental reason why she lost her life, and for those of us who believe that we should be addressing violence and not just “gun violence”, its bizarre to see people who would ordinarily be calling for knife control laws to instead try to minimize a specific act of attempted murder in order to attack the idea of policing in general.