From five feet away, he missed the headshot.
But you can’t say he wasn’t trying.
There were many people he could have shot.
He could have shot no one; in fact, after he fired his shot, the crowd dispersed in a manner that suggests it would have done so just as readily had he fired into the ceiling.
Instead, he made a single incompetent attempted headshot that struck Ashli Babbitt in the neck. You can hear her trying to breathe in the video. She’s alive for minutes. There is a single tear rolling from her left eye as it glazes over.
Ashli Babbitt served her country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates — but it took an American to kill her, inside the building paid for and maintained with her tax dollars.
Shortly after her death, a blizzard of corporations — Chase, Bank of America, Chevron, Citigroup, American Express, Coca-Cola, Axe Body Spray — released statements condemning her murder in the same passionate terms they’d used to condemn the deaths of Jacob Blake, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin.
They’re totally cool with it, and they want to make sure you know that.
I want to start by saying something personal: Prior to this week, I had thought that most, if not all, of the people who had stood up and spoken out about the various police killings in the past year or so were motivated by genuine concerns about American society. I had thought that they were as troubled by the idea of a militarized police force as I have often personally been, that they had latched on to these often nebulous or “problematic” heroes and heroines not in spite of the many extenuating circumstances but because of them. In other words — if you can get killed for selling loose cigarettes or passing counterfeit money while hopped up on fentanyl, maybe that’s a case of unbalanced force at work. I don’t know anybody who will deny that Vicki Weaver’s husband cut a shotgun barrel a full quarter-inch short of the legal limit, but I know plenty of people who will agree that she didn’t agree to be executed by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi as a result.
In other words: I thought we could all agree that there is a problem with administering the death penalty ad hoc for non-death-penalty crimes.
I was wrong about that. It turns out that this was a straight Blue Tribe vs. Red Tribe issue. The only time any lives at all “matter” is when they can be used to make an appropriate political point. The joke was on me, and on people like me who tried to have a moral or centrist view of the matter, the whole time.
Arthur Chu isn’t a terribly important person — he was on Jeopardy! a while back, I think that’s the extent of his fame — but his sentiments have been widely echoed across the Internet. It’s worth noting that he felt perfectly comfortable expressing these sentiments in public; we all know that America’s “cancel culture” only really works in one direction. There’s also been a lot of hilarity expressed about the fact that a rural woman carrying a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag was trampled to death in a crowd panic.
And why not laugh about it? These people aren’t people. Can’t you read what Chu wrote? Trump’s supporters — this 34-year-old woman who ran her own pool supply business and who spent her youth standing with a rifle in front of a military base instead of partying through five years of an Ivy League education — they’re not human. You can kill them without remorse. They don’t deserve to live. Armed, unarmed, leaning against a window or not leaning against a window, it doesn’t matter. In Chu’s words, “A pile of meat… was made to stop moving”.
Behold the glory of Man! He starts as a “clump of cells” and eventually becomes a “pile of meat”!
It’s worth noting that never on the Internet, and I mean not once, have I ever read any suggestion that Breonna Taylor was a “pile of meat” impersonating a human being. Yes, she might have sold a lot of drugs, and yes she might have let someone use her car to hide and move a dead body, but nobody’s claiming that she was an animal, for God’s sake. We reserve descriptions like “pile of meat” for female Air Force veterans and small-business owners.
One autowriter-adjacent person, no need to name and shame him here, told his followers that the Capitol protestors weren’t “real Americans” because they probably don’t hold a passport or speak a second language. This post received hundreds of Likes, because he’s obviously right. Imagine thinking you’re a real American because you live here and speak English, when everybody knows that real Americans are global, polyglot nonentities. About Ashli Babbitt, who was well-traveled and bilingual, our fancy photographer said nothing.
Similarly, the occupation of the Capitol is being described as an “insurrection”, language that was noticeably absent back when Sunrise Movement took over Nancy Pelosi’s office or when the Women’s March knocked the Capitol cops off the steps. They don’t even use the word “insurrection” for the 1954 attack in which Puerto Rican nationalists shot five Congressmen from the balcony! (The eventual fate of the shooters? Jimmy Carter pardoned them!) It’s worth nothing that this “insurrection” had no obvious purpose, contained no replacement shadow government people, and indeed may have been largely the result of Capitol Police moving the barriers apart and waving people through… but since when have we let truth, or reality, influence our major media coverage of an event?
Ashli Babbitt’s body wasn’t cold before our Uniparty spoke with a single voice on this MOST HORRIFYING EVENT TO EVER HAPPEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVENTS. The same people who told us that “it’s not wrong to damage property” now rhapsodized about the unforgivable crime of sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s sacred chair. The talking heads who babbled about police violence and cops wearing fatigues saw no problem in expressing OUTRAGE that the the police didn’t have a line of M2 Machine Guns, .50 Caliber, standing by to yeet these clumps of meat into the Baby Jesus Afterlife.
The most surprising part of it, for me, was seeing the road-to-Damascus conversion that appeared to strike many leading left-wing figures. Four years ago, they were all “God DAMN America” and “America Was Never Great” and “America is a Fascist Nation Built On Slavery”. This week, they fairly sobbed with love and reverence for the white dome of the Capitol. I’ve worn out my corneas reading all these heartfelt paeans to the beauty and righteousness of American government by people who just months ago firmly held the opinion that the whole institution was a literal reincarnation of the National Socialist Party. It was even more touching than all the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez types who have Tweeted lovingly about civil unrest and burning buildings far away from where they live but whose immediate response to seeing unwashed Americans in the rotunda was SHOOT THEM SHOOT THEM ALL FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) January 7, 2021
Is there anything we can learn from this? A few things come to mind:
- Not all protests, victims, or martyrs are created equal. You can expect that Ashli Babbitt will disappear from news coverage in this cycle. In the future, when they refer to her, it will be something along the lines of “White Nationalist And Criminal, Ashli Babbitt”. There’s already a report that she had an altercation a while back with her husband’s ex-girlfriend. You can expect that sort of thing to define her.
- We have finally reached the era of total unity, meaning zero public dissent. The totally-not-fraudulent-despite-the-appearance-of-the-same-weird-F-shape-vote-count-graph Georgia runoff, presided over by Stacy Abrams with some help from her federal judge sister, has unified the American government under the rule of
Kamala HarrisJoe Biden and the Democratic Party. They have the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. They also have every social media company, every major corporation, every credit card payment processor, every webhost, every telcom provider. The most prominent conservative voice left in America is either Jon Voight or the MyPillow guy, I’m not sure which. They are going to pass a new Patriot Act. This one will do to outspoken American white people what the original Patriot Act did to outspoken overseas brown people, namely provide an excuse to attack, kill, and rendition them without trial. Some wag has already said it should be called “The Prevention Of Patriots Act”.
- Don’t expect that any sense of unity or humanity will restrain anyone’s actions. You read what Arthur Chu wrote, right? If you disagree with him, you’re a pile of meat. Last time I checked, there were no particular rules about what you could do to a pile of meat, unless you were preparing it to sell in a hamburger.
The most critical lesson of all, however, is this: If you can bring yourself to do it, stop thinking about politics and focus on your family, yourself, your future. I don’t care if you’re an Antifa soldier in Portland or the grandmother of a Proud Boy. These violent delights have violent ends. We are going to see some nasty stuff in the future. Try not to be part of it. You think that you’ll become famous, or at least notorious. You won’t. You’ll end up like the fellow hit in the head by a falling statue, who will be living with the consequences of that long after everyone forgets the incident. Or you’ll end up like Ashli Babbitt, mis-shot at point blank by a murderer in a $300 suit. Take that energy and put it into the people you love, instead of directing it at the people you hate. It will have a greater effect.
Last but not least, I’d like to ask that we all keep our personal lines of communication open, even with the people who disagree with us about this incident and others. If you think this really was an insurrection, don’t stop loving your cousin or neighbor who thinks it was the Boston Tea Party — and vice versa. If we let this news media, this social media, and this “pandemic” atomize us, then I guarantee The Bad Guys Will Win. It doesn’t even matter who you think the Bad Guys are.
For Hagerty, I wrote about the perception gap of exotic cars.