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The wit of Bill Russell, the wisdom of black gun owners, the absurdity of Trump's "Eric" endorsement
Bill Russell wasn’t just a great basketball player and a pretty good coach. He was also a great story teller. My favorite example is the one he told about what happened when he advised his father he didn’t have to work any longer, thanks to the son’s new $100,000 contract.
The senior Russell responded that he still wanted to remain in his job at the foundry. When Russell asked why, his father explained: “I’ve given that foundry the best 35 years of my life. Now I want to give it a few of the worst ones.”
I was amused by this report in the Washington Post about how black women in D.C. are getting gun permits and learning how to shoot. According to the Post, black women represent “a fast-growing group of gun owners.” A black woman who trains some of them to shoot says the increase in females who want her instruction is “over 1,000 percent recently.”
The Post spins this development as a reaction to church shootings, the shooting at that Illinois parade, the one at the Buffalo grocery store, Trayvon Martin, and even “the insurrection.”
But the odds of these women being shot in any of those contexts are miniscule compared to the odds of being attacked in one’s neighborhood by an ordinary criminal who, in all likelihood, is black.
Towards the end of its report, the Post gets to the point:
Black women are unsafe. . .Violence against Black women and girls shot up nearly 34 percent in 2020 amid an overall spike in homicides, to about 8 deaths per 100,000 — a rate more than twice that for White women, at about 3 per 100,000, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Five Black females — women and girls — were killed every day in 2020.
The handful of mass shootings, the shooting of Trayvon Martin (a male), and the “insurrection” (in which no black women were killed) contributed essentially nothing to these statistics.
The Post blames “America,” saying it has let black women down. A more realistic view is that the left-liberals who run cities like D.C., most of whom are black, have let blacks down by abandoning common sense measures that in the past curbed violent crime — proactive policing, serious anti-crime prosecutors, stiff sentences, etc.
These leaders have willfully failed to keep city streets even moderately safe. Black women are responding sensibly. They are engaging in self help by arming themselves.
What can one say about Donald Trump’s endorsement of “Eric” in a Senate primary where the two leading candidates are both named Eric? I’m referring to the race for the GOP nomination in Missouri between Eric Schmitt and Eric Greitens. (Apparently, there’s a third Eric running, as well. A guy with by the last of McElroy.)
Greitens resigned as governor amid criminal charges and legislative investigations relating, among other things, to Greitens sexually abusing his hair stylist. Josh Hawley, then Missouri’s attorney general, was among those who called for Greitens’ resignation.
There’s also the reality that Greitens is considerably less likely than Schmitt to hold this Senate seat for the GOP. Recent polling shows Schmitt six points ahead of his likely Democrat opponent. Greitens is dead even with her.
These factors plus the fact that Trump clearly is fine with Schmitt (he just co-endorsed him), should have caused the former president to endorse Schmitt unequivocally some time ago.
Schmitt has been leading Greitens in the polls for more than a month. An unequivocal Trump endorsement last month would have lengthened Schmitt’s lead and enabled Trump to claim some credit if/when the guy wins.
Why, then, did Trump delay and delay, and finally issue an absurd, meaningless endorsement of “Eric”? Because he couldn’t bring himself to reject Greitens.
The former governor is highly regarded by some of Trump’s core supporters (his “people”). I say “some,” because other, more sensible members of that large cohort aren’t for Greitens. That’s why he’s only at around 20 percent in the polls among Missouri Republicans. It’s why Sen. Hawley, among Trump’s most ardent supporters in the Senate, endorsed Schmitt. [Correction: he endorsed Vicki Hartzler.]
Trump’s unwillingness to take a stand that his core backers might not like isn’t new. It probably drove his less than satisfactory initial response to the Charlottesville strife, which I believe hurt him significantly with swing and suburban voters. It may help explain why he was so reluctant to tell those who stormed the Capitol to go home.
Trump also has a long record of hedging his bets. He did so, for example, on the issue of going to war with Iraq prior to the invasion. Arguably, he did so in his initial pronouncement about Charlottesville and in his speech to the January 6 protesters, when he used inflammatory language but added that they should march “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol.
Trump likes to have it both ways. Thus, as odd as Trump’s endorsement[s] in Missouri are, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that he backed “Eric.”