A new Pew Research Center analysis of media coverage of the event and subsequent protests finds that the story emerged on Twitter before cable, but the trajectory of attention quickly rose in tandem, peaking on both mediums the day after two journalists were arrested and protests turned more violent.
Also of note:
MSNBC devoted far more time to the story than its top competitors Fox News and CNN
The Twitter conversation about Ferguson popped much more quickly than the conversation about Trayvon Martin
On August 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Eyewitnesses to the shooting report that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender, but police say that Brown assaulted the officer before the shooting.
The incident provoked immediate anger and frustration in the community and around the country. The killing of Eric Garner, also an unarmed black man, by New York City police last month revived a public conversation about the history of police violence against black men, and the killing of Brown has inflamed it.
Protests began in the neighborhood immediately after Brown was shot, and continued throughout the weekend. On Sunday night, Ferguson erupted into civil unrest, withreports of looting, arson, and gunshots.
Here’s what’s known, what’s being disputed, and what happens next.
What we know about Michael Brown
— Brown was an 18-year-old student.
— He graduated from Normandy High School in St. Louis in the spring of 2014. He was scheduled to start classes at Vatterott College, a Missouri trade college, on Monday, August 11.
— On the day of his death, Brown was visiting his grandmother, Desuirea Harris, who lives in Ferguson, a working-class suburb of St. Louis.
— At least one shot was fired from the police car. Brown was killed while he was standing about 35 feet away from the car.
— The name of the police officer has not been released. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters on Sunday morning that the officer had been in the Ferguson police department for six years, and that Belmar was not aware of any problems the officer had during that time.
— Multiple eyewitness accounts say that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender.
— Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time, says that the two of them were walking in the middle of the street when a police car approached, and the officer told them to get on the sidewalk.
— Eyewitness Piaget Crenshaw says that Johnson, Brown and the officer got into a verbal confrontation, and the officer attempted to put Brown in the police car. When Brown began to flee, with his hands in the air, she says, the officer got out of the car and started shooting at Brown. (Crenshaw has photos of the shooting, which have been turned over to the police.)
— Another eyewitness told the press that the officer was in his car when he started shooting at the boys. (At least one shot was fired from the police car.)
— Johnson says that he and Brown started running when they heard the first shot. He told local news station KMOV that the officer “shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air. He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
— Meanwhile, St. Louis County police, who have been called in to investigate Brown’s death, say that Brown assaulted the officer before he was killed. St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar told reporters on Sunday that Brown shoved the officer back into the police car, “physically assaulted” him, and attempted to grab the officer’s gun. According to Belmar, the officer only began firing at Brown after the assault.
— According to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson during a briefing on Wednesday, the officer who shot Johnson was injured during the encounter. One side of the officer’s face was swollen, Jackson said.
How many times Brown was shot
— On Sunday, Belmar told reporters that Brown was shot “more than just a couple [times], but I don’t think it was many more than that.”
— Johnson’s eyewitness account indicates that four shots were fired. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, says she was told that Brown was shot eight times.
— A crowd gathered at the scene soon after Brown was shot, and their protestextended through much of Saturday afternoon. A subsequent protest at the Ferguson Police Department headquarters happened Saturday evening. The number of demonstrators varied: a CNN report says that there were up to 1,000 protesters at the peak of the demonstrations, while other reports say there were about 200.
— Brown’s body was left at the scene for several hours after the shooting. Police said that they needed the time to conduct “due diligence,” saying that the crowd made it difficult for them to process evidence properly. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson later told reporters that he was “uncomfortable” with the amount of time the body had been in the street.
— Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters that Saturday’s protest at the crime scene “probably bordered on riot conditions.” Police say that the shots that were heard in the area during the protest were “warning shots” fired by protesters, and that protesters were heard shouting, “Kill the police.” According to the police, the purpose of the 60 reinforcements from other police departments was to protect public safety in a dangerous atmosphere.
— However, other accounts from Saturday’s protest don’t indicate that anyone shouted “kill the police,” and several eyewitnesses say that the police misheard or misinterpreted what protesters were shouting: “Killer cops have got to go” and “No justice, no peace.”
— There’s no confirmation as to the context of the gunshots fired during Saturday’s protest.
— Reports also differed about the tone of Sunday’s protests prior to the rioting. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that protesters were “taunting” the police officers, but did not quote any protesters engaging in taunts.
What we know about the unrest on Sunday, August 10
— As protests continued on Sunday night, others in Ferguson began to engage in looting and violence. St. Louis alderman Antonio French has said on Twitter that looting began at a local QuikTrip convenience store. This was captured on video by the St. Louis Evening-Whirl:
— A staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that when the looting began, there were no police at or around the QuikTrip. As looting continued, police helicopters moved into the area. A SWAT team moved in and used tear gas to disperse the looters.
— As of Thursday morning, the total amount of damage caused Sunday night hadn’t been calculated. The Ferguson Police Department told Los Angeles station KTLA that at least 20 police cars were damaged. Police did not tell the Washington Post how many people were arrested, but reports indicate “dozens” of arrests:
Via @FOX2now, K Mart, Ross store looted. Cars pull up to front, occupants filled them w/loot. Shots fired. StL County cops arrest dozens.
Continued protests — and police dispersals — on Monday, August 11
— After Sunday night’s unrest, a protest and rally scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday morning was canceled, and the mayor of Ferguson said that anyone who attempted to show up to the rally would be arrested.
— Regardless, people still turned up at police headquarters to protest. Police officers were there with riot gear:
— Police also attempted to disperse these protests, moving down W. Florissant, the main street in the neighborhood. This time, they used tear gas and explosives to clear crowds and fired rubber bullets. One report indicates that police cocked their rifles at protesters. Police told protesters to “go home,” but several residents protested that they were trapped in cul-de-sacs while the main road was closed off. Police also threatened press with arrest if they didn’t leave the scene.
Police shooting tear gas directly at journalists now. Flashing lights so cameras can’t record. #Ferguson#MikeBrown
— The evening ended with a standoff between police and about two dozen residents who were trying to get home. Wesley Lowrey, a Washington Post reporter, was at the scene:
The final standoff came just before 11 p.m. Officers backed up their formation almost all the way to the housing complex where Brown was shot.
As they regrouped, the two dozen residents who remained outside approached with hands in the air.
"Can we go home? Do we need our hands up? Are you going to shoot us?"
The police, weapons at the ready, responded by telling them to stop asking questions and “just go home.”
Moments later, the cops pressed forward and cleared the street for good. As they passed, some remaining protesters threw rocks, and residents shouted from their windows: “This is our home. Leave us alone.”
— In all, police made several arrests on Monday. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that around eight people had been arrested for unlawful assembly over the course of the last several days of protests.
— Police said no injuries were reported, and on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that “nobody got hurt” in the police response to protests. However,pictures circulated on social media of protesters with bruises and injuries from rubber and wooden bullets, and of one resident being loaded into an ambulance.
Police saying no injuries, which is nonsense. Watched one guy - hit with rubber bullets - be carried up W. Florissant by two friends
— On Tuesday, August 12, the FAA issued a no-fly zone over Ferguson through Monday, August 18. The purpose of the no-fly zone, the agency said, is “to provide a safe haven for law enforcement activities” — i.e. to clear the airspace for police helicopters. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that he did not know anything about the no-fly zone and had not requested it.
— On Tuesday evening, there was a brief standoff between protesters and police at the QuikTrip that had been looted on Sunday. Protesters became upset when police arrived in armored vehicles.
— Protesters amassed in downtown Ferguson again on Tuesday night. Police were again there in force, blocking streets to downtown, and reporters were again told they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that he didn’t know reporters had been threatened, and said, “No, I want free access.”
Arrests and police aggression on Wednesday, August 13
— On Wednesday, August 13, the Ferguson Police Department released its first official statement since the shooting. The statement read, in part:
We only ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of the community.
This statement didn’t set an official curfew, which would have justified arresting residents who were out after a certain hour. Instead, the police appeared to be hoping to set an unofficial, voluntary curfew.
Asked about the statement on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that there was no curfew, and that protesters who remained out after dark would not be arrested “as long as they’re peaceful and not blocking the roads.”
— The situation was then calm until around 8:30 p.m. Central Time, when cops began attempting to push protesters back another 25 feet. Protesters threw bottles and rocks; police and reporters say that one protester threw a Molotov cocktail, and police also say one officer was hit with a brick and broke his ankle. In response, police almost immediately started firing tear gas at the crowd. After telling them that this was no longer a peaceful protest and ordering them to leave the area, police used sound cannons to disperse the crowd and fired tear gas canisters into the area — including into neighborhood backyards.
Police just got back on loudspeaker, asking protesters to back up 25 feet. Crowd getting anxious #ferguson
— One news crew had tear gas fired at them while they were setting up for a shoot:
— Earlier in the evening, two reporters, Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were arrested in a McDonald’s after a SWAT team ordered residents to clear it out. Watch the arrest play out in this video:
— Other arrestees were treated even more harshly:
Was waiting to be taken away, large black man SCREAMING for help in back of police truck
"Reframing" the chain of command on Thursday, August 14
— On Thursday, August 14, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told voters he would be “reframing” the chain of command among police in Ferguson. The office of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri confirmed that the St. Louis County Police Department, which had been in charge during Wednesday night’s protests, would be removed from Ferguson. The chief of the St. Louis city police department also announced that his department would not be participating in Ferguson on Thursday night:
— On Thursday afternoon, Governor Nixon formally announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would be taking over police response to protesters in Ferguson. However, he said, the St. Louis County Police Department would remain in charge of the criminal investigation into Brown’s death.
— On midday Thursday, protesters in Ferguson went into Fire Department headquarters:
— There’s a history of police violence against young black men, and the shooting takes place at a time when this perennial topic was already being widely discussed. New Yorker Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was killed in July after police put him in a chokehold by police. The incident, which was caught on video, caused an outcry against the New York Police Department — especially after Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide. Mayor Bill de Blasio eventually agreed to a review of the department’s training procedures.
— The frustration and anger in Ferguson likely goes beyond the killing of Brown. Ferguson is like many cities in America: police disproportionately stop and arrest black residents. While 67 percent of Ferguson is black, 86 percent of all traffic stops and 92 percent of all arrests are of black residents, according to state report on racial profiling obtained by Buzzfeed. But black residents of Ferguson who are stopped by police are less likely to be carrying contraband than white residents are.
—The city’s government is predominately white as well: there is one black person on the Ferguson city council and one Latino on the school board. Just three out of the city’s 53 commissioned police officers are black.
People that aren’t from here don’t understand…this ain’t JUST about Mike Brown. It’s a LITANY of things. The powder keg just exploded.
— There’s also a lot of anger around how the media portrays young men who are killed. Over the weekend, the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which was trending on Twitter on Sunday night, captured the divide between how young black men see themselves and how the media sees them:
— The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation to see if the officer who shot Brown was justified. St. Louis Police Chief Belmar seemed sympathetic to the Ferguson police; Belmar told reporters on Sunday, "I would not think anybody would [ask for an investigation] if they had anything to hide."
—Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson is a former St. Louis County police officer, which also raises concerns about the investigation’s objectivity. Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that he had asked the St. Louis County police to keep him “out of the loop.”
— The Ferguson Police Department received a grant this year to purchase several dashboard cameras for police vehicles and two to three body cameras for officers, the Ferguson police chief told reporters Wednesday, but doesn’t have the money to install them yet — so no known video of the shooting exists.
— Eyewitness Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend who was also stopped by the officer, is testifying to police Wednesday, after several days during which he said he was not contacted to testify.
— The officer who killed Brown has been put on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted. The officer has not been identified. Police originally planned to release his name on the morning of August 12, but changed their minds out of concern for his safety.
— On Tuesday, August 12, the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office announced that they would not be releasing the results of the autopsy of Michael Brown’s body. On Wednesday, August 13, the body was released to Brown’s family. The family’s lawyer said they would seek a second investigation of the body.
— Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday, August 13, that the 911 tapes from witnesses to Brown’s shooting would be released to the public but did not say when that would happen.
Efforts to rebuild race and community relations in Ferguson
— On Wednesday, August 13, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that the police department has been working with the community relations division of the Department of Justice to improve race and community relations. “That’s a top priority,” he said.
— On Thursday, August 14, the Department of Justice is coordinating a meeting between Chief Jackson and community leaders, including the head of the local NAACP.
A protester raises his hands in front of of a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday night.
In a statement Wednesday, Ferguson police suggested that the decision to ban the protests after dark was due to violence by the demonstrators:
“We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community. Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours. These events are not indicative of the City of Ferguson and its residents.”
The statement put out Wednesday from the Ferguson Police Department is the first official release by the department since Michael Brown was killed Saturday — more than 90 hours ago.
FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) -Much has been said about how Mike Brown, died at the hand of a Ferguson police officer in the past four days.
We found out more about how he lived Tuesday night.
Friends and family knew him best as “Big Mike”.
He was big in more ways than one, he said.
It was a calm night at the Ferguson Police Department: a handful of demonstrators as opposed to hundreds.
Those who knew Brown saw it as more of a reflection of the quiet, but outgoing 18-year-old, with plans to start a business and dreams of becoming a star.
It is their heartbreaking nightly ritual, Michael Brown’s sisters, cousins and aunt, relit candles on the very spot he died on Canfield Drive, Tuesday night.
“For my nephew,” his aunt said.
Big Mike was a big brother to two little sisters and a brother.
He had a big smile and at close to 6’4” he seemed bigger than life to those who knew him.
“Just a sweet kid. Big guy, yes, you know I had to look up,” said Markita Davis, whose cousin lived a few doors from Brown.
“A great kid, a great kid… he gave one of those smiles like big mike always did,” said neighbor Markese Mull, recalling when he last saw Brown: Brown was walking to a Quick Trip store.
A few minutes later, Mull saw Brown’s distraught mother and Brown’s body in the street.
It was the same kid who would help unload Mull’s work truck.
“I started a janitorial floor-tech business and he was like, ‘when you going to hire me?’” Mull laughed.
Brown also was like a big brother to the two sons of Markita Davis’ cousin.
“She’s a single mom. She has two boys. He’d take them to the store; just do little things with him. He was just a sweet kid, who didn’t deserve this,” Davis said.
Just before his death he’d begun recording rap music at his grandmother’s house.
True, there were songs that including profanity laced lyrics common in rap.
But he also recorded music about his family.
Mull remembered challenging Brown to “bust a rhyme” about getting young people to vote – on the spot.
“Doing something, see something positive. ‘Can you bust something positive?’ He’s like, ‘yeah, I got you.’ On the drop of a dime he did it,” Mull beamed. “The thing is he made a mark in history and not just a mark on the street.”
Brown would be in his first week at Vatterott College, looking to learn the heating and cooling trade while also working on his music.
A young man who Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown called “severely mentally disturbed” drove by various student hangouts to commit an act of “premeditated mass murder” apparently—according to videos posted to YouTube and threats made to women on campus—due to his anger at being “rejected” by women on campus.
The NRA wants less information and more Santa Barbaras.
Of course, this is all too familiar: a young aggrieved male, mentally disturbed, threatening others—especially women—but still able to get his hands on a high-capacity magazine of the variety used in so many other mass murders. This doesn’t happen in any other high income country with the regularity it does here; in fact, it almost never happens in any of them.
But here, in the good ole US of A, we’ve allowed a group of rich, entitled thugs who run an operation fronting for arms dealers—guys who represent a minority position on pretty much every issue having to do with reasonable regulation of firearms even among gun owners—to dictate our policies to cowardly, careerist politicians.
I already hear the outrage from the right: how can you blame the NRA? We need good guys to have guns, we have to stop the “haters” and “knockout gamers” and … I can’t even bear to repeat the infantile and inane talking points coming from cynical and callous people like the NRA’s Executive Vice President and foaming mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre.
We know how to stop these incidents, or at least greatly reduce them. We’ve seen other countries do it, such as Australia, which was averaging one of these massacres a year until their infamous Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. After which they completely overhauled their gun laws. Since then, a country with the same frontier history as the United States has not experienced one mass shooting. Not one. Their homicides and suicides have also precipitously dropped.
We, of course, could learn even more about how to stop these mass killings, as well as the everyday homicides, suicides and accidental killings that rob this nation of our youth, and everything they could have ever been. But this past week we’ve had numerous examples of how the NRA does their best to block this from happening, because they will gladly accept mass murder in Santa Barbara and Newtown, as well as an accidental bystander shooting in a neighborhood near you, if it keeps the dollars floating into their pockets from the ultimate blood-drenched 1%ers who own various staples of the gun industry
After attending the NRA’s Convention in Indianapolis, I wrote recently in these pages about all the NRA does to encourage paranoia and hatred while selling the weaponry not of self protection or hunting, but war, to anyone with a stack of bills and a glint in their eye.
But this past week we’ve seen the other side of the coin. How the NRA works to suppress information that would lead to treating a public health catastrophe that claims over 30,000 lives per year and injures over 100,000 as that very thing, while fighting to ensure we have as little access to information as possible that might help save lives.
The simple fact is, much like with their friends on the right from the tobacco industry to the oil industry to the megachurch, science and information are the enemies of the NRA. They have proven they will do whatever it takes to make sure we have less of it, and more Santa Barbaras.
Because anyone who does statistically significant research on a public health problem from the angle of helping people and not profiting from misery, and again and again finds obvious truths such as owning guns makes you more likely to get shot, is not someone the NRA and its allies will countenance without smearing. I debated one of these types from the Second Amendment Foundation on NPR recently regarding the CDC. It is amazing how tongue-tied they get when you present them with irrefutable information.
As for the “unethical” attack, mind you, this comes from an organization that promotes the “work” of well-traveled right-wing welfare recipient John Lott, a clown and a fraud who has created studies lacking any statistical validity, has “lost” his research when asked to produce it, and actually got busted for creating a fake online persona—Mary Rosh—to show up in comments sections where he wrote articles to say how swell and dreamy he was as a professor. Unethical (and embarrassing), indeed.
As Rep. Maloney rightly put it, “In America, gun violence kills twice as many children as cancer, and yet political grandstanding has halted funding for public health research to understand this crisis.”
The NRA’s fight to suppress information couldn’t be more apparent than it is in a rather pathetically titled column in Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller this past Friday. (Side note: As the NRA usually shuts up for at least 72 hours after a shooting, lest they remind people of their position as an accessory, having their views aired mere hours before this latest tragedy is enlightening).
The reason for this, as he points out in his piece, is that he and his fellow street-war profiteers are fighting to block President Obama’s U.S. Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, from being appointed. What was his crime? He has been honest about guns being a public health problem, and has made the common sense recommendation that civilians not be allowed to own military weaponry.
The NRA is worried that, like with smoking in the past, if we have a Surgeon General who tells the truth, they will see their profits plummet. In fact, they’re not even trying to hide this fact (or doing a really, really bad job), as reported by Politico:
[Murthy’s] strongly backed by several health constituencies, such as public health advocates, research organizations and physician groups. Yet the NRA, as well as some Republicans, say past Murthy statements in support of gun control indicate that he could use the surgeon general job to promote anti-gun policies. Murthy has stated that he would not focus on gun violence in the position.
Cox attacks Moms Demand Action in this piece too, because Shannon Watts and her group have also used available information in the age of social media—in this case photos of lunatics open-carrying long guns in family establishments and intimidating customers—to get Chipotle to tell the gun fondlers they don’t want them bringing their weapons in their stores. And now Chili’s and other eateries are considering taking similar action.
Also this past week, the House’s answer to untreated rabies, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), attempted to force more guns on military institutions that don’t want them. Once again, we were forced to look at the NRA’s enemy: actual information—some of it bravely provided by top military brass both active and retired,standing up to the lies of the NRA and its allies.
Retired Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., even took the step of authoring a strongly worded letter to Congress, which laid out his thinking as follows:
As someone who has had to make the tough decisions about how best to manage service members under my command, I urge you to oppose Mr. Gohmert’s Amendment. This amendment will only cause more stress, confusion, and danger on military bases.
Later that night, Gohmert went to the House floor, defeated, and pulled his amendment.
Sadly for the NRA, we are in the Information Age, and the truth is starting to regularly get past their efforts to thwart it. But sadly for the rest of us—and at this moment, most tragically, the victims at Santa Barbara—the NRA have been so successful at bullying, threatening and obfuscating for so long, that we likely have too many more UC Santa Barbaras to come.
Conservative radio host and commentator Erik Rush claimed on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s “anti-Israel sentiment” is to blame for the shooting rampage in Kansas City, KS that left three dead over the weekend. Right Wing Watch reported…
The suspect in the shootings at a Jewish community center and retirement center voiced his extreme views in a 2010 syndicated radio interview.
In a 2010 radio interview, Frazier Glenn Miller, the man suspected of killing three people on Sunday at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement center in Kansas, said he was interested in the tea party, voiced support for then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and spoke approvingly of Ron Paul, the Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate. In late April 2010, Miller, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon, was a guest on The David Pakman Show, a nationally syndicated left-of-center radio and television program. At the time, Miller was running for US Senate as an independent in his home state of Missouri with the slogan, “It’s the Jews, Stupid,” and Pakman pressed Miller on his extreme views.
During the interview, Miller was unabashed about his anti-Semitic positions. When asked whether he thought the United States would be better off if Hitler had succeeded, Miller responded, “Absolutely, the whole world would… Hitler would have created a paradise on Earth, particularly for white people. But he would have been fair to other people as well.” He added, “Germans are blamed collectively because of the alleged so-called Holocaust.”
Not surprisingly, Miller denigrated most American politicians, but cited one positively: “If I had my way [all US Senators] would be in jail right now for treason, if not hung from a sturdy oak tree… Ron Paul is the only independent politician, representative in Washington.” He also spoke highly of another conservative: “Patrick Buchanan, he’s a great man, he’s a great historian, he’s one of the very few journalists who has the courage to speak out against Jewish domination in the country.” Miller called Howard Stern ”a Jew liar.” When asked whether he supported the tea party, Miller replied, “The school’s still out on them. They’re a new movement. I’m watching them closely. I suspect, however, they’ll be infiltrated by the Jews and therefore led into defeat.”
During the interview, Pakman asked Miller whom he would “elect, deport, and waterboard”—given the choices of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former Fed chair Alan Greenspan. Miller answered, “I like Obama more than the other two, by far.” He chose to elect Obama, deport Greenspan, and waterboard Biden. Miller said, “I have a great deal of admiration [for] Louis Farrakhan,” and he called Ahmadinejad “a great man” because he “has guts and he tells the truth about the Jews.”
"I’m a convicted felon and I’m proud of it," Miller boasted, noting that he "was convicted of declaring war on the federal government and possession of illegal weapons." He added that Jews "were responsible for my conviction that prompted me to go underground and declare war… Morris Dees mainly, he’s a Jew that runs the Southern Poverty Law Center." (The SPLC monitors hate groups.)
In November 2013, Pakman had an exchange of emails with Miller in which Miller noted that he was “close friends” with Craig Cobb, a white supremacist who had attempted to form an all-white town in Leith, North Dakota. According to Miller, the two had worked together “on several White Nationalist projects, including the Aryan Alternative newspaper.” Referring to the recent news that a DNA test indicated that Cobb had African ancestry, Miller told Pakman, “I can’t believe a man as intelligent as you, actually believes Craig Cobb is an octoroon. Surely, you know it’s just another jewsmedia fraud.”
On VCY America’s Crosstalk last week, Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt agreed with a caller who said that unarmed teachers who protect students during school shootings aren’t heroes.
“When you see these stories on the news about teachers, and they’re saying they’re heroes because they’re running and hiding and locking doors and everything, and that’s supposed to be a heroic act. I think it’s sheer terror,” the caller complained.
“I’d rather they be a hero with a good shot,” Pratt agreed.
Earlier in the program, Pratt said that gun laws are only rational “if you want to be a dictator.”
“For those who are not thinking as totalitarians, gun control otherwise is not rational,” he said. “Now, if you want to be dictator, gun control is very rational. Like Hitler said, we’d have to be crazy to let the conquered people have guns. And crazy is one thing I don’t think he was. So, he understood that, but we apparently can’t think even as clearly as that monster.”
When a mass shooting occurs, conservative media rush to blame mental health, video games, a lack of armed people present, and even liberal values — anything but the fact that the shooter was able to get a gun.
But the single proximate factor in all mass shootings, and in all gun violence really, is that it is easy for dangerous people to access high-powered firearms. Lack of access to firearms typically makes it difficult for would-be mass murderers to carry out their plans. For instance, experts say mass stabbings are extremely rare in the United States. To the contrary, 69 percent of all homicides are committed with a gun. Of 37 public mass killings since 2006, 33 involved firearms, while the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident involving a car, and two cases of arson accounted for the other four incidents.
Furthermore, academic research has linked the easy availability of firearms to homicide. According tonumerous studies, “where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.” Compared to other high income nations which typically more strongly regulate the availability of firearms, the United States’ gun homicide rate is 19.5 times higher, leading to an overall homicide rate that is 6.9 times higher. Research has also shown, “across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.”
Following the April 2 shooting at Fort Hood that left three victims dead and 16 others wounded, conservative media have refused to acknowledge the role of easy access to firearms in shootings and have instead claimed mass shootings are caused by video games, mental health problems, the “culture war,” and by a deficiency in the number of firearms carried by the general public.
Below are examples taken from past mass shootings that show conservative media dishonestly exonerating the role of easy firearm access in gun violence:
After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox Military Analyst Ralph Peters Cited Video Games As A Reason Mass Shootings Are “Semi-Approved In Society.” While appearing on The O’Reilly Factor on April 3, Ralph Peters expressed the belief that because of video games and the Internet, mass shootings have “become almost an act of self-actualization that is semi-approved by society,” before adding, “I’m exaggerating.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 4/3/14]
Fox News Segment Linked Video Games To Recent Mass Shootings In Connecticut, Colorado, And Arizona. During a September 2013 segment, Fox News “Medical A-Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow compared video games to a drug that makes people violent and added, “Guns are irrelevant to this problem.” Days later in a column following the September 2013 mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard, Ablow wrote that the shooter “was also reportedly addicted to a drug — violent video games (which are no different than heroin or cocaine, but potentially more of a public health threat).” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 9/13/13, FoxNews.com, 9/17/13]
After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Linked Seven Mass Killers To Video Games. Fox News host Steve Doocy claimed that the gunmen responsible for six well-known mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Columbine, are “all described as essentially being addicted to video games” while a graphic asked, “Link Between Teen Killers & Video Games?”
Fox News Graphic Bizarrely Suggested The “Motive” In The Fort Hood Shootings Was “Mental Illness.” The April 4 edition of Fox & Friends made the claim that the military was eyeing “mental illness as motive,” but hours later Fort Hood’s commanding general said the shooter’s “underlying medical conditions are not a direct precipitating factor. We believe that the immediate precipitating factor was more likely an escalating argument in his unit area.”
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, The Washington Post, 4/4/14]
After Navy Yard Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Scapegoated People With Mental Health Conditions. While discussing the Navy Yard shooting,America’s Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum claimed that we have “become so PC that we do not understand that there are categories of people” who need to be institutionalized. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 9/19/13]
After Columbia, Maryland Mall Shooting, Fox News Psychiatrist Said “It Isn’t The Gun” Before Baselessly Speculating About Shooter’s Mental State. When discussing the motive of the shooter at the Columbia mall on Fox News, Keith Ablow said, “It isn’t the gun. We have a crisis in terms of mental health care.” [Fox News, America’s News HQ, 1/27/14 via Media Matters]
One Year After Newtown, Frequent Fox Guest Ann Coulter Claimed That Mass Shootings “Correlate With Not Locking Up Crazy People.” In a December 2013 column on her website, Coulter wrote that mass shootings “correlate with not locking up crazy people,” then added, “Fixating on guns after a crazy person commits mass murder is like draining the ocean to find a ring you dropped.” [Ann Coulter, 12/18/13]
LIBERALS AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Graphic Linked Attack To “Culture War.” During a discussion of the Fort Hood shooting, a Fox & Friends graphic linked the shooting to the “culture war” and asked, “Are Mass Shootings Result Of Changed Society?”
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/4/14]
After Navy Yard Shooting, Conservative Media Falsely Blamed Shooting On Clinton-Era Policy. Even though the policy regulating when and where guns can be carried on military bases was created during the George H.W. Bush administration, Rush Limbaugh and other members of the conservative media used their mistaken belief about when the policy was created to attack President Clinton after the Navy Yard shooting. [Media Matters, 9/17/13]
After Sandy Hook Shooting, Rush Limbaugh Claimed That Mass Shooters Are All Liberals Before Saying, “I Take That Back.” Before taking it back, radio host Rush Limbaugh said of mass shooters, “[t]hey all are liberals. If they’re mentally disturbed,” when discussing the Sandy Hook shooting. Additionally, Fox News host Mike Huckabee said the shooting happened because “we have systematically removed God from our schools,” NRA board member Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on “politically correct culture,” and a National Review Online writer said the attack was caused by a “feminized setting.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/21/12, Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 12/14/12, Media Matters, 12/19/12]
After Virginia Tech Shooting, Conservative Commentators Blamed Mass Shooting On “The Wussification Of America” And “A General Culture Of Passivity.” On Fox News, conservative writer Mark Steyn said “part of the problem” that led to the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 “is a general culture of passivity.” Then-conservative talk radio host Neal Boortz invoked “the wussification of America” when discussing the behavior of the victims of the shooting. [Fox News, Your World, 4/19/07 via Media Matters, Media Matters,4/18/07]
NOT ENOUGH GUNS
After Fort Hood Shooting, Fox News Host Martha MacCallum Suggested That “Lives Could Have Been Saved” With More Armed Individuals. On the April 3 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum claimed, “in every one of these cases, what stops these shooters, is another person with a gun who stops them. I mean, we know that. So in this case, if other people had been armed on that base … it’s highly possible that some of these lives could have been saved.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 4/3/14]
After Navy Yard Shooting Conservative Commentators Falsely Characterized Facility As A “Gun-Free Zone” That Invited Attack. Even though guns can be carried on military bases by authorized persons, MacCallum, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, and CNN host S.E. Cupp all suggested that easier availability of guns in the Navy Yard facility could have prevented the shooting. [Media Matters,9/16/13]
After Aurora Movie Theater Shooting, Glenn Beck Claimed Shooter “Wouldn’t Have Gotten Off More Than Four Shots” If Armed Individuals Present. Talk radio host Glenn Beck claimed of the movie theater shooting in Colorado, “If people had a gun in their back and they were — and they were licensed to carry it, that guy wouldn’t have gotten off more than four shots.” His guest Ted Nugent added, “But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.” [The Blaze, The Glenn Beck Program, 7/26/12, via Media Matters]
Fort Hood’s official Twitter account tweeted at 6:01 p.m. ET that all personnel on the Army base had been instructed to shelter in place. According to central Texas TV station KCEN, there are reports of possible injuries at the base. Local law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed that they could not confirm or deny an incident was happening at the base. There are also reports of police on the base.
As reported by KCEN, an ongoing Active Shooter Emergency at Fort Hood requires all CTC personnel and students to immediately evacuate CTC Central Campus. All evening and night classes for Central and Fort Hood Campuses are cancelled for Wednesday April 2, 2014.
In 2009, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30 at the base. It was one of the worst mass shootings ever at a military base in the United States.
Hasan, Army psychiatrist, never denied his role in the 2009 shootings. He was sentenced to death in 2013.