We all know The Women’s March, which has put Dana Loesch and the NRA in its crosshairs, will do and say anything to advance the gun control agenda. But one of their co-founders is masquerading her personal connection to criminal behavior as a tragic brush with gun violence.

Tamika Mallory frequently cites the shooting death of her son’s father, Jason Ryans, when she speaks on a national level in support of gun control.

An article in the NY Daily News titled Tamika Mallory, who lost son’s father to fatal shooting 12 years ago, takes gun control fight personally attempts to pull at readers’ heartstrings:

Yet, she is, first and foremost, a mother made into a single mother by a gunshot — the one that claimed the life of her son’s father, Jason Ryans. It was 12 years ago, but she still weeps when she recalls the moment her mother called her that day as she drove home from work.

“It was a flash before my eyes. I managed to pull the car over. I realized I was indeed a real single mom, and that my son would never know his father,” she said.

“Over the years, there were so many times when my son has yearned for a father,” she continued. “He needed a male when he was winning games, accomplishing goals … even when he was confused. That’s the most painful part.”

In an article featuring The Ones to Watch during Black History Month 2017, Black America Web wrote:

Tamika Mallory entered the social justice arena in a heartbreaking way. She has firsthand experience with the scourge of gun violence. The New York City native, now 36, lost her son’s father, Jason Ryans, to gun violence. Her son was a toddler at the time.

On her Wikipedia page, the death of her son’s father is again referenced in conjunction with her activism with gun control:

Mallory is a single mother to her son Tarique. Sixteen years ago, her son’s father, Jason Ryans, was shot and killed. Mallory explains that her experience with NAN taught her to react to this tragedy with activism. Her son is now 18 and an active member of NAN.

In an article on PopSugar titled Why a Women’s March Cofounder Says Every Feminist Should Care About Gun Control, guest writer Chelsea Handler referenced Mallory’s drive to “change the policy and discussion around guns” since Ryans’ death:

Mallory is just getting started. Her next project, #NRA2DOJ, will take her to Washington on July 14 to protest the NRA. The effort is a direct response to a viral — and frankly, despicable — marketing campaign from the gun rights advocacy group, but gun control has been an issue close to Mallory’s heart for a long time. She’s been active in changing the policy and discussion around guns since the death of her son’s father by shooting in 2001, and this new project seeks to bring even more national attention to an issue which has reached a crisis point.

But after a friend pointed out a lack of elaboration of the incident, I started noticing that Mallory never expands on Ryans’ death, only referencing it as her personal connection to gun violence and the contributing drive behind her push for gun control.

So why does Mallory fail to elaborate on the “gun violence” that caused Ryans’ death? 

Well, the answer to what lead to his death lies with how Ryans chose to live his life.

In 2001, police said Jason Ryans and the men who beat and shot him were known to be dealing drugs in the Wilkes-Barre, PA. area.

According to an arrest affidavit, Ryans was beaten after Kenny Watson of Mocanaqua and James Watson of Wilkes-Barre discovered two guns and a safe containing seven pounds of marijuana had been stolen from the home Ryans was sharing with Kenny Watson and his girlfriend Tiffany Greco.

Kenny had given his girlfriend two handguns – an H&R .22 caliber and a .380 semi-automatic pistol – to hold for safe keeping after they discovered the missing safe when they returned from the Bronx for Easter (April 15, 2001). Greco told police she had placed both firearms in her bedroom dresser.

Both guns were discovered missing on April 17, 2001, and when Kenny and James Watson, along with their friend Mike Robinson, found the stolen .22 caliber in Ryans’ coat, they began to beat him for stealing it.

At some point during the beating, Ryans pulled out the other stolen gun and James Watson grabbed a steak knife. James stabbed Ryans in the hands, causing him to drop the .380.

James called his girlfriend Jennifer Lynn Barr and told her to come home from work, then instructed her to drive him in a white Ford Explorer to lead a caravan to a “hospital far away”. Transporting a badly beaten and “cut up” Jason Ryans were Kenny Watson and his nephew Rodney Watson, who followed Barr in Greco’s maroon Ford Explorer.

But when Barr passed the Tyler Memorial Hospital on Route 6 near Tunkhannock, James informed her they weren’t taking Ryans to a hospital and instructed her to pull into a secluded area near Camptown where police say she observed Ryans smoking something and holding a vehicle ashtray when he exited the Explorer.

At that point, Kenny, James, Robinson, and Ryans walked into the woods and James ordered Kenny to slit Ryans’ throat. When Kenny told James he couldn’t, police say James shot Ryans – once in the chest, twice in the head – before fleeing the area.

In 2011, a jury convicted James Watson of Ryans’ murder. His brother Kenny Watson was acquitted of murder and kidnapping charges, but was convicted on several charges relating to Ryans’ death.

Now that you know the whole story, what do you think?

When an individual who is known by police to be “dealing drugs in the Wilkes-Barre area” steals guns and possibly seven pounds of marijuana from another known drug dealer, does the ensuing retaliation and subsequent murder fit the mold of “the scourge of gun violence”?

Ryans most certainly didn’t deserve to die, but would the policy changes Mallory aims to make have altered the outcome of her son’s father’s life and prevented his death?

Drugs are illegal.
Possession of an unlawful controlled substance is illegal.
Possession of an unlawful controlled substance with the intent to distribute is illegal.
Distribution of an unlawful controlled substance is illegal.
Theft is illegal.
Theft of a firearm is illegal.
Unlawful carry of a firearm is illegal.
Assault and battery are illegal.
Assault with a deadly weapon is illegal.
Kidnapping is illegal.
Homicide is illegal.
Murder is illegal.

If a person chooses to break the law, they are committing a crime and are, therefore, a criminal. You can add 1,000 more laws, but criminals don’t care – whether they’re breaking 1 law or 1,000 laws –  they’re going to commit that crime.

So let’s get real here: it appears that not only was the father of Tamika Mallory’s son a known drug dealer, he also allegedly stole firearms and possibly seven pounds of (illegal) drugs from his (fellow drug dealer) friends. That’s upsetting, because while there are many very real, extremely sad stories of individuals losing their lives to gun violence, James Ryans’ is not one of them – and by continuing to align him with thousands of innocent victims, Mallory is devaluing the truth.

If Ms. Mallory truly wants to “bring even more national attention to an issue which has reached a crisis point”, perhaps she should focus on the criminal use of drugs, robbery, stricter sentencing for repeat offenders and felons in possession of a firearm, or consider using another example of gun violence that more appropriately fits her agenda.