Michael Brown and Kate Steinle: A tale of two shootings

Race largely determines whether Obama comments on pending criminal cases such as those of Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown or keeps silent about such cases as the murder of Kate Steinle. If Professor Henry Louis Gates had been white and the arresting officer black, there would have been no beer summit. Obama would have kept mum if Trayvon Martin had been white or had successfully killed George Zimmerman and survived their fight — or had been shot in a fight by another African-American. A typical weekend bloodbath in Chicago, Baltimore, or Detroit earns no presidential editorialization.

Race and politics were the drivers of the president’s interest. Had Michael Brown been white, and Wilson black — and in absolute numbers more whites are shot by police each year than are blacks — there would likely have been no rioting and no presidential commentary. Showing solidarity with black protests and general claims of racism was consistent with the president’s electoral strategy of galvanizing historic black turnout and Democratic bloc voting on the basis of amplifying racial grievances.

In contrast, the Steinle shooting offers no occasion for political opportunism. San Francisco is a liberal city in a liberal state. Hispanic voters are seen as critical to Democratic strategy and assumed (on supposition rather than evidence) to support sanctuary city ordinances, even when they lead to something like the Steinle murder (which the open-borders activist, Rep. Luis Gutierrez [D-Illinois], dismissed as “a little thing”).

In contrast, had, for example, a white South African seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported criminal illegal alien been released and then shot in the back a young woman, here illegally from Mexico, San Francisco authorities would have been outraged at immigration authorities and their own sheriff’s department.