Making headlines yesterday was a news story about a major leader in the BLM movement getting hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the head. But don’t expect the press to talk about it for long.
In a world of sane reporting, this would be exactly as newsworthy a story no matter who it was that pulled the trigger because the woman’s life has value as an INDIVIDUAL, not as a NARRATIVE.
There was a lot of buzz about the event, initially. But if the latest reporting holds up, we can expect this is a story that will be quietly shelved.
Sasha Johnson, who dubbed herself the Black Panther of Oxford, is among the leaders of the BLM movement in the UK, and she was shot.
First, here are the details.
She was shot in the head while at a party.
The self-styled ‘Black Panther of Oxford’, 27, who called for the police to be defunded after the murder of George Floyd in the US last summer, needed emergency surgery following the attack in south-east London. The Met said that Ms Johnson was among around 30 guests at a party in the back garden of a house in Consort Road early on Sunday morning.
The group of men got into the garden through a side entrance shortly before 3am and in the ‘ensuing melee’ Ms Johnson was shot, it added. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard said: ‘We know there was an organised party taking place in the back garden of an address in Consort Road.
‘Sasha was among around 30 guests at the party. Shortly before 3am, four black males wearing dark clothing have gained entry into the garden through a side entrance and in the ensuing melee a firearm has been discharged, injuring Sasha. The suspects have then fled the garden.’
Scotland Yard said that a man, believed to be in his 20s, who also suffered a ‘superficial’ knife injury during the incident, has been discharged from hospital. —DailyMail
People immediately jumped to the predictable conclusions about who to blame. Including an elected official:
On Monday morning, Ms Abbott had tweeted: ‘Black activist Sasha Johnson is in hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head.
‘Nobody should have to potentially pay with their life because they stood up for racial justice #BlackLivesMatter.’
LBC Host Iain Dale pointed out that Ms Abbott had linked the shooting to racial justice, despite witnesses claiming otherwise and there being no evidence at this time that this was a targeted attack on the self-styled ‘Black Panther of Oxford’. — DailyMail
She couldn’t possibly have been more wrong in her assumptions. Witnesses didn’t point to some kind of a white supremacy, quite the opposite. Police have specifically said that there was nothing to tie the shooting to her activism. In fact, early evidence actually points to non-white gang activity.
One neighbour in south-east London earlier told MailOnline that she heard ‘two shots’ and then the sound of ‘screeching’ tyres at around 3am on Sunday. Forensics teams have sealed off the property and are searching the area for bullet casings and the weapon.
Ms Ayton told the BBC: ‘As far as we’re aware she [Sasha] was at a party and there was a rival gang that may have heard about a person being there that they didn’t feel comfortable with, or trusted, so they resorted to driving past and shooting into a garden. And one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson. But I don’t believe she was the intended target’.
She added: ‘This incident is more related to rival gangs than to her activism’, adding she believed there was ‘some kind of dispute between two different groups’. — DailyMail
Because it is a point that is so desperately overlooked in this situation, and in the difference between how officer-involved deaths are reported, while gangland-related deaths are down played, let us repeat an earlier point.
In a world of sane reporting, this would be a story of exactly the same newsworthiness no matter who it was that pulled the trigger, because her life has value as an INDIVIDUAL, not as a NARRATIVE.
But we do not live in a world of sane reporting.
If they can find evidence that someone opposed to Sasha’s political message shot her because they hate her message, the attack will be used to elevate Sasha’s cultural importance still further, giving her a secular patina equivalent to martyrdom or sainthood.
On the other hand, if it turns out that some black guys in a gang shot her, the attack has no political usefulness, even though her injuries are unchanged.
And heaven help us if we were to later learn that some aspect of her anti-law enforcement message actually contributed to her attacker being free to do so. Retribution on any messenger delivering THAT message will be swift and sure. But no amount of political activism does anything to help a victim of a criminal act recover from her injuries.
In the end, this extreme activism dehumanizes not just the enemies of the cause — but ultimately the activists themselves as well. How tragically ironic will it be if the attack on her life is dismissed because it doesn’t serve the narrative of ‘Black Lives Matter’?