Another Casualty in America’s Growing Police State.
South Florida media have been abuzz over the past week concerning the shooting death of 31-year old Corey Jones by a plainclothes police officer who reportedly did not show his badge during their encounter.
Yet there’s an especially disturbing wrinkle for major news media, who have expressed reluctance to cover the story because Jones was a licensed gun owner who had a handgun on his person at the time of the shooting.
“The tenor of the coverage has been wait and see,” the Palm Beach Post observed on October 22.
One national producer … who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the network had not authorized her to discuss the story, said her network lost some of its appetite after Jones was found to have been carrying a weapon.
As of last week Al Sharpton was headed to town, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office has summoned the FBI for a more “objective” evaluation of the crime scene. “Reverend Al’s” plane has yet to touch down in Palm Beach, even though vigils and peaceful protests have been held, and Jones’ family attracted the legal services of Benjamin Crump, the attorney who gained significant notoriety for his representation of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown families.
A professional drummer, Jones’ SUV broke down on a highway exit ramp in the early morning hours of Sunday October 18 while he was returning from a performance. He was reluctant to leave the vehicle given the expensive musical instruments in his possession. At 3:15AM, as Jones waited for a tow truck, Palm Beach Gardens police officer Norman Raja, who was reportedly working a robbery surveillance beat, drove up in an unmarked white van, and exited his vehicle dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a baseball cap.
According to Crump, who was briefed by a state attorney, Raja never showed his badge to Jones. “It’s unclear what Raja said to Jones,” the Post reports,
but he said he saw a gun and fired six times. Jones, 31, who had a legal concealed carry permit, never got off a shot. He ran from the scene before collapsing 80 to 100 feet away. His gun was found somewhere between his body and the SUV.
Crump asserts that Jones likely died without every knowing that Raja was a police officer and experts agree that this is a possibility.
Crump carried a gun because he often played late night gigs and had to transport expensive equipment to and from performance spots. Yet he also encouraged family members to legally obtain a firearm for protection if they felt it necessary.
There’s indeed the strong probability that Jones’ race was a factor in the slaying. (Incidentally, Officer Raja is of Pakistani descent.) Yet there’s an argument to be made that Jones’ choice of self protection has likewise disqualified him as an ideal victim for the nation’s corporate news media and the “Black Lives Matter” movement to rally around. In fact, Jones brother, a professional football player, more than subtly chastised Black Lives Matter in the wake of the tragedy by declaring that “all lives matter.”
Along these lines, what is almost entirely beyond the realm of mainstream discussion is the fact that police throughout the country are being trained with military-style weaponry and tactics. There is thus a predisposition to assume the mindset that accompanies such training, making law enforcement increasingly poised to recognize the citizenry at large as an enemy–particularly if such a citizenry chooses to exercise its Second Amendment right.
Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.