After this summer’s protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, “there was definitely a sense that this could be the moment of systemic change”, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday’s Daily Show, in which he addressed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by two police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “But as we’ve been reminded of yet again, there is still a long way to go.”
“Why was Jacob Blake seen as a deadly threat for a theoretical gun, while this gunman, who had already shot people, was arrested the next day and treated like a human being whose life matters?”
More on the police shooting of Jacob Blake & protests in Kenosha: pic.twitter.com/cQAU5fkDsg
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 27, 2020
The two officers shot Blake seven times in the back, in front of his children, paralyzing him. In horrific cellphone footage of the incident, Blake appears to calmly walk away from the officers, who follow with their guns pointed; they open fire into his back as he opens his car door.
“I’ll never get used to how quickly police go from issuing commands to using deadly force,” Noah said. “Whatever happened to warning shots? Or tackling a suspect? Like are we really meant to believe that the only two options a cop has is do nothing or shoot somebody in the back seven times?”
In the wake of the shooting, people have again taken to the streets in protest, which makes sense, said Noah. “Black people are tired of hearing ‘I’m sorry’ and then nothing happening. Because essentially what they’re really hearing is, ‘I’m sorry this is happening, and I’m sorry that it’s going to happen again.’”
Noah also addressed the racist double standard in treatment and coverage of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old white, self-styled “militia” member who is suspected of involvement in shooting three protesters on Tuesday night, killing two. Despite carrying his assault weapon down the street afterwards, three cop cars passed him by; he wasn’t arrested until the next morning.
Rittenhouse claimed on Facebook to be “defending a business” but “that’s some bullshit”, said Noah. “No one has ever thought, ‘Oh, it’s my solemn duty to pick up a rifle and protect that TJ Maxx.’ They do it because they’re hoping to shoot someone.
“Enough with this ‘militia’ bullshit,” he added. “This isn’t the battle of Yorktown. It’s a bunch of dudes threatening people with guns.”
The police treatment of Rittenhouse was “illuminating”, Noah continued, in that it “really made me wonder why some people get shot seven times in the back, while other people are treated like human beings and reasoned with and taken into custody with no bullets in their bodies”.
“How come Jacob Blake was seen as a deadly threat for a theoretical gun that he might have and might try to commit a crime with, but this gunman who was armed and had already shot people – who had shown that he was a threat – was arrested the next day, given full due process of the law and generally treated like a human being whose life matters?
“Why is it that the police decide that some threats must be extinguished immediately while other threats get the privilege of being defused?” The answer, Noah concluded was clear: “The gun doesn’t matter as much as who is holding the gun, because to some people, black skin is the most threatening weapon of all.”
“We hate to give these people attention,” Bee continued of the numerous “walking human memes” given airtime at the convention, such Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St Louis couple and “midlife crisis Bonnie and Clyde” who went viral for brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters. “But we also can’t write them off because – funny story – the Republicans have shown a willingness to let fringe lunatics take over their party.”
This is already happening, Bee continued, with the primary elections of about 50 QAnon believers in races across the US. While Bee did not want to give the QAnon conspiracy any more attention, “we should be worried”, she said.
“I know it’s easy to focus our attention on the fact that the future of the world will be decided by one of the two people you’d least want to sit between on a plane,” she concluded, “but voting in November is more than just the presidency. Down-ballot races are our only change to right the wrongs of the far right.”
Stephen Colbert aired live after the third night of the Republican national convention, which he has recapped all week. But on Wednesday, the Late Show host abstained from watching the spectacle. “Why should we pay attention to what they’re saying if none of what they’re saying tonight is about what’s happening in America right now?” he asked. “Why should we watch their reality show if it doesn’t reflect our reality? Why subject ourselves to their lies, which stick to your soul like hot tar? Lies like: Donald Trump cares whether you live or die.”
On Wednesday afternoon, it was reported that the CDC downgraded coronavirus testing guidelines – those who were in contact with infected persons may no longer need to be tested if they’re asymptomatic, despite repeated evidence that half of transmissions occur before symptoms appear. The CDC was pressured to make the changes by Trump administration officials, which means “we’ve reached the point where Donald Trump is dictating our health regulations”, said Colbert.
“Hey, CDC!” he added, snapping his fingers. “This is our lives! Either grow a pair and stand up to this clown or at least be honest and change the Hippocratic oath to: ‘First, do no harm, unless it makes the president look bad, in that case, bag ’em and tag ’em.’
“Once again, we are watching a basic function of our government, that has always been apolitical, die in front of our eyes,” Colbert said. “We are one news cycle away from the CDC warning that mail-in ballots give you chlamydia.”
Originally published: 2020-08-27 11:27:48