The Austin-American Statesman, a former newspaper, goes rogue

When I lived in Austin, Texas, roughly 35 years ago, despite the massive University of Texas (44,000 students at the time) and a relatively large population, the city still had a funky, small-town feel. The local paper, The Austin-American Statesman, had the same feel. It wasn’t a very polished paper, but it did try its best to relay the news intelligently. Now, though, Austin’s a big, hard-left city, and the Statesman has given up any pretense of being a “news” paper. Otherwise, how can one explain the fact that it refused to reprint the police description of the man who shot up Austin’s storied Sixth Street on Friday night?

The story was pretty straightforward: At 1:30 a.m. on Friday, two men tried to shoot each other on Sixth Street when it was filled with Friday night revelers. In the process, they managed to shoot 14 people, two of whom were seriously wounded. The police arrested one person and put out an APB for the other person. They were pretty specific, too, about that other person: “They described him as ‘a black male, with dread locks [sic], wearing a black shirt and a skinny build’.”

That’s a specific enough description to rule out all women, all fat Black men, and all White, Asian, and Hispanic men. In other words, while it’s not a terrifically detailed description, for those on the lookout for someone willing to commit mass murder on a busy city street, it does narrow the search down significantly.

But that’s not how the Statesman felt about it. Rather than informing the public about a dangerous criminal, the Statesman felt that it was much more important to show off its social justice chops and its deep commitment to Critical Race Theory principles. No way was the Gannett-owned paper going to help catch a Black man. Instead, it published this nonsense:

Editor's note: Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning. The Austin American-Statesman is not including the description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes. If more detailed information is released, we will update our reporting.

As noted, above, the alleged “vague description” was significantly detailed enough to narrow the list of suspects to something much smaller than 7% of the general population in America. Thus, Blacks are 14% of the population, so Black men comprise roughly half that. Moreover, given that the suspect is skinny, he’s going to be a subset of that 7% cohort of Black men.

Indeed, in Austin, the description narrows the suspect base even more, because as of 2010, Blacks were only 8.1% of the population. The trend for the 60 years preceding that was that Blacks were a diminishing share of the population, so the likelihood is that, if the suspect is an Austin resident, the description probably fits less than 4% of Austin’s population. That’s not vague at all.

Moreover, the Statesman, with its self-righteous claim that it was not going to be part of “perpetuating stereotypes” pretty much drew an arrow to the suspect’s race by implying as clearly as if it had said it out loud that the suspect was Black. If the police had no idea what race the suspect was, and the Statesman had said, “He’s probably Black,” that would have been perpetuating a stereotype. Accurately reporting facts, even unpleasant ones, about a newsworthy story that concerns public safety is not perpetuating stereotypes.

What’s becoming horrifyingly clear is that wokeness and Critical Race Theory have spread through the population as fast as COVID did – and they’re proving to be more dangerous. COVID came, did its damage, and now will just join the flu as another disease the annually mows down the old and the sick.

Critical Race Theory, however, has the potential to destroy the fragile bonds that hold America together. As I’ve said before, America is not held together by race, millennia of history, religion, or a passionate historic connection to a small plot of land.

Instead, the only thing that binds us as a nation is our fealty to a unique, groundbreaking American idea: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As part of that ideology, we subscribe to the Constitution, which is a contract between the people and their government.

The Founders created the best form of government they could. While many foolish early Americans attempted to deny this best form of government to people because of superficial differences such as race or faith, by the second half of the 20th century, we finally figured out that the best belongs to all of us, regardless of race, creed, sex, country of national origin, etc.

That’s what binds us, but the left, through Critical Race Theory, seems determined to tear it all apart. Fight back. Resisting Critical Race Theory may ultimately be all that separates us from Syria, the Balkans, Rwanda, or any other modern nation or region torn apart by tribalism.

IMAGE: Austin’s Sixth Street by Larry D. Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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