This is the tale of a fiend, a true murdering devil. Not only did he ruthlessly kill Michael "Mike" McClelland, 63, the the Prosecutor of Kaufmann County and his wife Cynthia, 65, but also the assistant prosecutor, Mark Hasse. Hasse was ruthlessly gunned in the street in January, 2013, while walking home. The McClellands were callously shot down like dogs in their home in March of the same year.
All three, were viciously butchered by a large, ugly brute who calls himself Eric Williams. It goes without saying he was a felon who had a prior record of burglary and theft. Yet somehow he had amassed a veritable arsenal of weapons as prosecutors during the penalty phase of his trial revealed:
On Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors assembled the arsenal of weapons found in Williams’ storage unit in the courtroom. The guns were displayed on three wooden racks in the middle of the courtroom, 42 handguns in the middle and 22 long guns flanking each side.
In front of the racks were boxes of ammunition — thousands of rounds were recovered — and a crossbow. Bullets were loose in bags, as well as still packaged in boxes.
By the way, this is the face of the killer of these three upstanding citizens, a true animal (if I may say so) with no sense of morality and little if any respect for human life:
Yeah, he's a white guy.
Still, he got a trial. He wasn't shot by the police when they went to arrest him. Sure he didn't steal "cigars" (allegedly) or sell loose cigarettes in public. Williams wasn't caught carrying a toy air rifle around Walmart (John Crawford) or playing with a BB gun in a park (Tamir Rice) or dressing up like his favorite Anime character (Darrien Hunt). He only stole county equipment and hoarded enough guns to arm a small militia.
Unlike the young men and boys listed above, no one had to gin up evidence of his wicked character, or post facto justifications for why he should be killed by officers of the state. I'll bet I'm the first person to label him a "thug" or a "brute" or an "animal." That's because the use of those terms have been reserved for young African American males of late. These terms, such as thug, are acceptable code words for a certain racial slur that starts with the letter N. They are used to reinforce racial stereotypes among whites regarding African Americans - that they are criminals, a brutish, dangerous, amoral, drug infested people who represent a threat to civil society.
So while Eric Williams is one sick, evil SOB, he does have the color of his skin going for him. You won't hear of any Fox News host or right wing radio jocks calling him a thug. They probably won't mention him at all, and if they do, there won't be any discussion of white on white crime. They sure as hell won't touch the subject of his gun collection, which is every white American's God given right under the second amendment.
White people with strong political agenda can walk around the street and in stores carrying their semiautomatic "long guns" and nothing happens to them. A drunken, angry white man stand outs in the street pointing a loaded rifle at passersby, and law enforcement treats him with respect and spend as much time as they need to "de-escalate the situation." Black boys play in an empty park with a fake gun, or carry a fake samurai sword and get shot shortly after police arrive on the scene.
And let's not forget the masses of white men who took their guns to Cliven Bundy's Ranch in Nevada to protect the rights of a common criminal. They threatened and intimidated local law enforcement, Federal officials and the people of Clark County, but not one of Bundy's numerous supporters who endangered the lives of everyone withing the range of their high powered rifles was arrested or charged with a crime, much less fired upon by law enforcement - with the possible exception for Jerad and Amanda Miller who were kicked out of the Bundy compound and then went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas, killing two police officers and an armed civilian at a local Walmart before killing themselves.
So, my friends, who are the real thugs? The armed white people who shoot to kill, such as Mr. Eric Williams, or the unarmed black men and boys killed by police and left to die? Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Darrien Hunt, Tamir Rice and so many more have been labeled "thugs," their reputations smeared in the National news media. In the case of 12 year-old Tamir Rice, his parents' past history and their alleged bad parenting were blamed for his death by cop. Protestors in Ferguson and elsewhere these past few months have been described as looters, rioters, criminals, et cetera, who deserved the massive militarized police response to what were primarily peaceful protests.
Words matter. They define how we interpret events, and how we judge the character and actions of individuals. They reinforce existing bias, prejudice and stereotypes. They justify violence against innocent people when those people are labeled with words that have negative and sinister connotations. Native Americans were constantly called savages in the 19th century. European Jews in the 20th century were labeled cockroaches and vermin. African Americans, especially males, in the 21st Century are now called "thugs." Words that dehumanize their subjects. Words that lead to fear and loathing. Words that make it easier to kill and/or tolerate, and in some quarters of our society celebrate, the deaths of those so named.
Words like "Thug."