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Breonna Taylor#

It is stated that Breonna Taylor was killed in her bed or while asleep almost ubiquitously across social media ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 ) despite this not being the truth. What happened to Breonna Taylor was wrong, and the police conduct that day deserves to be called into question. However, starting that discussion with an incorrect description of what happened weakens our arguments against those on the right that disagree with us. This is because we now have to begin by making concessions about lies or misrepresentations from people who purport to agree with us. Furthermore, it casts doubt about the truth of the rest of the argument for those in the middle who are unsure of where the fault lies.

A user in my community, "DaSkrubKing," provides a detailed breakdown of what happened the night of Breonna Taylor's death. The key takeaways for what happened are:

  1. Louisville police were serving a "knock and announce" warrant at Breonna Taylor's apartment thinking she would be the only one present.
  2. Police officers knocked on Breonna's door, awakening her and causing her to answer through the door asking who was there, though the police deny hearing anything.
  3. Breonna returns to her bedroom and wakes up her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and they both get dressed. Walker and Taylor believe that the ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover (a suspected drug trafficker), is at the door.
  4. Walker and Taylor exit the bedroom, police knock the door in, then Walker fires a single shot hitting one officer in the leg.
  5. Walker drops his gun and crawls into a bedroom, Taylor is struck multiple times by police returning fire, and the injured officer is rushed off to the hospital.

Breonna Taylor was neither asleep nor was she in bed when she was killed by police officers. This does not excuse their actions or make her death any less tragic, but stating that she was killed while she was asleep in her bed is simply incorrect.

The claims we should be making about Breonna Taylor's death, which are grounded in the reality of the situation, are as follows:

  • It seems obvious that insufficient notice was given before the door was broken in. Only one neighbor reported hearing anything at all before police broke in the door.
  • Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in the raid, was rightfully fired and charged for exiting the building and blindly firing 10 rounds into the apartment complex through a window and a patio, penetrating the apartment into the next unit where another occupant and their child slept.
  • Even if they aren't used for every single interaction, this incident shows the value of having police body cameras in specific, high-risk scenarios.

The GameStop short squeeze#

I've written extensively on my view of the wallstreetbets "fight" with Melvin Capital over the GameStop stock. The summary of my position is essentially the following:

  • There was never any reason to believe a massive short squeeze was coming.
  • The big winners were not "little retail traders."
  • Robinhood did not halt trading to "protect hedge funds."
  • Most alternative media figures/outlets got many fundamental facts of the case wrong.

For a longer and more formal write-up of my view on the GME situation, see my write-up here: BrainStop. I've also done a video review of said document on my YouTube channel.

Kyle Rittenhouse ("mowing down protestors")#

Also see: protesting & rioting, defense of property

In general, I do not support vigilantism. I think Kyle Rittenhouse was clearly misguided in his attempts to cross state borders and should have stayed home. I also think there are steps he could have taken to minimize the risk of him needing to discharge a firearm.

Of a larger 20+ minute debate with someone, a short 16 second clip was cut to make it sound as though I support violence against Black Lives Matter protesters when this couldn't be further from the truth. I am incredibly heated in this clip, but I am clear when I state that my main frustration is with the few rioters burning down private businesses and the idea that Trump's only path to victory was with continued arson and destruction of privately owned businesses across the US (full conversation in August of 2020 with context part clipped).

I have always defended the existence of BLM and its purpose, sometimes in front of live audiences as the only liberal member on a panel. (Jesse Lee Peterson panel in October of 2020 | Conversation with call-in defending the existence and effectiveness of BLM's protests | Panel debate in August of 2020 | Support in November of 2018 of Kaepernick kneeling in the NFL | Attacking Dave Rubin's criticisms of Kaepernick's protests in September 2017)

I've consistently pushed back against "white lives matter" and similar types of irresponsible rhetoric from the right. (Jesse Lee Peterson panel in October of 2020)

I have continually defended protesting, and even rioting against public institutions while condemning the rioting/looting of private businesses, as I believe the latter feeds into Republican tactics to draw attention away from the overwhelmingly positive protests. (Discussion about Minneapolis protesting/looting in May of 2020 | Debate with conservative/Neo-Nazi(?) Ethan Ralph in June 2020 | Discussion on my stream in September of 2020)

My specific issue in this debate was that I didn't believe it was morally acceptable to defend rioters destroying private businesses, regardless of their legitimate grievances with the local police. When I think of rioters attacking and destroying private property, I generally support citizens' rights to defend that property. I think back to the Korean-Americans that were defending their property in the '92 LA Riots, the Black Panthers in California defending their communities, or the tragedy of the "Black Wall Street" Tulsa massacre in 1921. I was especially moved by the frustrated, black local business owner who was screaming out in frustration about looters and rioters destroying his business in the '92 LA Riots.

It's incredibly frustrating that people have intentionally and maliciously misconstrued a 16 second cut from a larger conversation to make it sound as though I don't support the BLM protests or somehow approve of racist white people indiscriminately killing protesters when this is an issue that I have been ruthlessly consistent on throughout the years. I unequivocally support BLM's right to both protest and riot against the public institutions that they view as oppressive. I have not changed or wavered on this stance in years.