Ringing Doorbells While Black

Update: Fox settled. No trial, damnit. Details not yet released. 

16-year-old Ralph Yarl is alive and has been released from the hospital, which is remarkable considering he was shot in the head a few days ago. Yarl is the Kansas City teenager who was shot by a homeowner for the crime of ringing a doorbell. He’d been sent by his parents to pick up his younger brothers but went to the wrong house. Let us hope young Mr. Yarl, an honors student, completely recovers.

The shooter was an 84-year-old White man named Andrew Lester, and Ralph Yarl is Black. Lester said that he feared Yarl was trying to break into his house, never mind that burglars rarely ring doorbells. We know Yarl was never inside Lester’s house, because the first shot Lester fired was through a glass door. Obviously, Lester fired without bothering to speak to Yarl to find out why Yarl was ringing his doorbell.

Yarl, bleeding from his head and elsewhere, had to run to a number of other homes in the area before someone finally helped him. Lester has been charged with assault in the first degree, which carries a possible life sentence.

I’d personally like to know if Andrew Lester had a criminal record, since we are perpetually being told that America’s gun violence problems are caused by “criminals,” and that “law-abiding citizens” can be trusted to own firearms. I’d like to know the same thing about 65-year-old Kevin D. Monahan of Washington County, New York. Last night Monahan shot and killed 20-year-old Kaylin A. Gillis, who had mistakenly driven into Monahan’s driveway.

Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said Monday that Kaylin A. Gillis was in a car with three other people Saturday night looking for a friend’s house. The rural section of Washington County where the shooting took place is dark at night and many of the properties are only accessible by unpaved driveways.

Murphy said the group mistakenly drove up to a house on Patterson Hill Road, 19 miles northeast of Gillis’ residence in  Schuylerville. As they attempted to turn the car around, the sheriff said, Kevin D. Monahan came out on his porch and fired two shots, one of which hit Gillis while she was seated in the car.No one from the group had left the car or tried to enter Monahan’s house before he came out and opened fire, Murphy said.

For the record, Ms. Gillis was White. One assumes somebody named Kevin Monahan is White also. The police said that Monahan was not drunk and did not appear to be mentally ill.

This sort of thing happens from time to time in the U.S. Back in 1992 a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student named Yoshihiro Hattori was shot and killed by a homeowner in Baton Rouge because Hattori rang his doorbell. He and another teenager from his host family were going to a Halloween party and had the wrong address. Hattori was dressed as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, so he couldn’t have been mistaken for a werewolf. In any event, the two young men were walking back to their car when Peairs emerged from his house with a gun.

At first the Baton Rouge police declined to charge the shooter, Rodney Peairs. But the case became international news. Japan was outraged. Probably the State Department applied some pressure. Peairs eventually was charged with manslaughter. At the trial, the defense portrayed the 130-pound Hattori as scary and Rodney Peairs as just a regular guy defending his family. Peairs was acquitted.

And then in 2013 22-year-old Rodrigo Abad Diaz, an immigrant from either Colombia or Cuba (sources vary), was shot and killed for being in the wrong driveway. Diaz and some friends were looking for another friend. They planned to go ice skating. The GPS took them to the wrong address. The young people were sitting in the car in the driveway when the homeowner, 70-year-old Phillip Sailors of Lilburn, Georgia, came out of his house and fired a warning shot. Diaz, the driver, immediately began to turn around to leave, when Sailors shot again and struck Diaz in the head. Then he held the young people at gunpoint until police arrived.

The police handcuffed the surviving young people and kept them in a cell overnight. Initially Sailors wasn’t charged with anything. The eventual outcome of the case was that Sailors reached an undisclosed settlement with the Diaz family and was sentenced to a $500 fine and one year probation in a plea agreement. The prosecutors were not eager to go to trial, saying that Sailors had no criminal record and they thought he’d be “sympathetic” to a jury.

We’ll see what happens with Andrew Lester of Kansas City. At his age it’s possible he could claim dementia. And of course Missouri has stand-your-ground laws that excuse a lot of shootings. Kevin Monahan is probably screwed though. It’s New York, not some yahoo red state, and he killed a small White woman who probably was not all that intimidating.

But yeah, it’s not criminals. It’s the guns. People have a right to protect their property, we are told, but the gun cult has these law-abiding citizens so whipped up in fear of scary alien people invading their homes they are a menace to anyone who gets bad GPS directions. And Girl Scouts will need body armor to sell cookies. These crimes need big penalties, not fines and probation.

In other news — The Dominion trial is going forward, and I understand a jury has been selected.

A trial has been scheduled for May 9 in the suit filed by Wandrea Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, the Georgia election workers, against the right-wing cesspool site Gateway Pundit. I’m looking forward to that one.

In other other news — If you were watching Rachel Maddow last night you heard the tape of Republican officials of McCurtain County, Oklahoma, longing for the good old days when you could just take Black people “down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a damn rope. But you can’t do that anymore. They got more rights than we got.” If you missed it, you can read about it here.

In more other news — Ron DeSantis’s war with the Mouse is escalating. From Crooks and Liars–

This is just the latest episode of DeSantis’ weenie-wagging at Disney. Round One began after the company dared to criticize his “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. The governor planned to retaliate by taking over the governing board for the property that Disney controlled. But the plan failed when the company outsmarted him.

Now, DeSantis thinks he’s going to look good with bigger threats of bigger punishments. He plans to introduce a bill in the legislature essentially overturning the Disney-controlled board. And he plans to give the state new power to inspect rides at Disney World. 

That’s just for starters. From the New York Times —

Mr. DeSantis also suggested a variety of potential punitive actions against Disney — the state’s largest private employer and corporate taxpayer — including reappraising the value of Walt Disney World for property tax levies and developing land near the entrances to the resort.

“Maybe create a state park, maybe try to do more amusement parks — someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison,” Mr. DeSantis said at a news conference near Disney World.

Two weeks ago, Mr. DeSantis — a leading Republican presidential contender although he has not officially declared that he is running — floated the idea of raising taxes on Disney hotels and imposing tolls on roads that lead to its theme parks. He has also requested an investigation by Florida’s chief inspector general into Disney’s efforts to circumvent his authority.

That last sentence is my favorite. How dare anyone not bow down to Florida’s Mussolini? This must be investigated! See also DeSantis suggests building prison near Disney World, touts bill to assert Disney control at USA Today.

Disney retaliated by announcing an LGBTQ Pride night at its California property, which is outside DeSantis’s jurisdiction.

To me, Ol’ Ron is looking like a character from another company’s cartoons. And I am not talking about the Rabbit.