There’s no excuse for what happened in Jacksonville. Absolutely no excuse for that kind of hate even approaches rationality.
Regardless, it happened and three innocent people are dead.
Now, we’re supposed to be at the point of picking up the pieces. Instead, we’re debating all kinds of things like gun control. Sure, we’re also talking about how to address white supremacy–which, in this case, was the likely cause of the shooting–which is a novel change of pace, but we’re also talking about a lot of things that don’t matter.
So that brings me to the AP.
You see, they’re blaming DeSantis.
That’s not overly surprising, but they’re also citing the NAACP travel warning as “proof” that this was coming.
Ron DeSantis scoffed when the NAACP issued a travel advisory this spring warning Black people to use “extreme care” if traveling to Florida.
The leading civil rights group argued that the state’s loose gun laws and the Republican governor’s “anti-woke” campaign to deny the existence of systemic racism created a culture of “open hostility towards African Americans and people of color.”
Just three months later, DeSantis is leading his state through the aftermath of a racist attack that left three African Americans dead. Black leaders in Florida — and across the nation — say they’re outraged by his actions and rhetoric ahead of the shooting.
Now, what does one have to do with the other?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
The “open hostility toward African Americans and people of color” actually had nothing to do with any evidence of impending violence but because DeSantis addressed what he saw as problems with the state’s school curriculum.
While it’s fine to criticize that, it doesn’t somehow give cover to the violent act of another.
Moreover, the NAACP travel advisory was widely mocked by folks on the right explicitly because it was about changes in the state’s curriculum and had nothing to do with any evidence of potential physical violence.
“But what about now?” someone might ask.
If they were, I’d point to Buffalo as a counterpoint. New York did none of what people decried about DeSantis and his efforts, yet we had an even more bloody, racially motivated attack on black Americans there.
The truth is that one had nothing to do with the other.
That’s because changes to high school curriculums don’t really have an impact on a 21-year-old racist dirtball who decided to shoot up a Dollar General in Jacksonville.
In addition to all this nonsense, though, there’s also criticism of DeSantis for not using the right words when talking about the shooting.
Rumlin criticized DeSantis for not explicitly describing the killer as a racist at a Sunday vigil in Jacksonville. DeSantis was booed at the vigil, where he called the shooter “a major-league scumbag” and said, “We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race.”
Ever defiant, DeSantis’ team rejected suggestions that he did not adequately condemn the weekend shooting and has more broadly ignored the concerns of the state’s African American community. The Republican governor scored an overwhelming reelection last fall that included flipping the traditional Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade County, which has a majority Latino population. He made modest gains among Black voters.
“This shooting was a terrible tragedy, and it is reprehensible that The Associated Press has decided to collect and amplify false talking points as ‘reporting’ on this horrific event,” said DeSantis campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin. “Ron DeSantis has condemned these racially motivated murders repeatedly in the strongest language possible. … He will not tolerate racial hatred or violence in Florida, and we reject your politicization of this horrible event.”
Unfortunately, politicization of this was inevitable because the killer had political motives. This makes this domestic terrorism, in my book.
Regardless, no one is pretending the (alleged) Jacksonville shooter is anything but a racist scumbag. That’s not even a topic of debate so far as I’ve been able to see.
But blaming DeSantis because he made a change in education that had no impact on a shooting just months later in Jacksonville, by an alleged shooter who never had to deal with the changes, is beyond bonkers to me.