Miriam Carey

That’s a name everyone in the United States should know.  We here at Lawyers on Strike wrote about her six months ago wondering what, if anything, would be done to follow up on a tragic story that would seem to warrant a lot of serious questions.

I mean, the woman was shot to death in the nation’s capital by police while she drove in her car and apparently made a wrong turn.  She had her one year old child strapped in the back seat.

First, let’s connect a face with the name:

mimcar

 

Very pretty.  Very young.  Seemingly happy.  And productive.

Then, do you remember the saturation coverage the incident received at the time?  That is, as long as an approved, feeding-frenzy type narrative was in play – our institutions under attack by young women in cars with their toddlers strapped in the back seat terrorists or extremists.  When the narrative failed, the story disappeared.  The media lost interest.

This post is not about the police, who do dumb things sometimes just like the rest of us.  This is about the media.  And the elected officials who mindlessly seek political advantage out of tragic circumstances, oblivious to the grim, human reality underneath.  And then the indulgence of them by a media that has no interest when a story doesn’t fit into an approved narrative.

Read the only follow up news coverage, from the online WorldNetDaily.  The fatal wound was apparently to the back of the head.  The “investigation” has taken six months so far and no conclusions have been reached.  No one, other than a lawyer named Sanders, is pressing for any answers.  No one, other than WND showed up at a news conference dealing with the case.

The whole episode is instructive.  The police, of course, are the initial sources of all “information”.  It turns out all of the information was wrong.  She wasn’t trying to crash into the capitol building; she wasn’t “mentally ill”; perhaps most importantly, she wasn’t a threat to anyone.  She was apparently shot to death for no good reason.

A tragic fuck up by the police.

It is to be hoped that the police will be held accountable civilly, not criminally, since this really doesn’t seem to be a case of criminality on their part.  This part is lawyer’s work.  And it’s important work, because maybe after it costs officials a few million dollars they won’t be so quick to pull the trigger. 

But it would also be nice if the media and the elected officials could be held accountable for their inexcusable negligence in applauding a beautiful young mother being shot to death and then for doing their best to smear her, adding cruel insult to even crueler injury.  Not sure how that could be done, but an article or two on WND and a little opinion piece over here at Lawyers on Strike doesn’t cut it.

Even so, John Boehner, Steny Hoyer and Eric Cantor all owe the Carey family an abject and very public apology.

15 Comments

Filed under Media incompetence/bias

15 responses to “Miriam Carey

  1. Interested Reader

    Oh my, what an absolutely dreadful story. I read the WND piece as well. I find it interesting that no one details why she drove from Connecticut though or why she made that particular turn in the first place. Still, shooting her seems like a very drastic “remedy” without more knowledge.

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    • People go to DC from CT as tourists, right? I don’t know why that would need any explanation other than that. Then she makes a wrong turn in an unfamiliar place, I suppose. We can’t ask her now about any of that, though, can we?

      There were lots of rumors floating around six months ago, like she was “on medication”, or “post partum depression” or “obsessed with Obama” I don’t know if any of them have any truth to them and our bull dog media is nowhere to be seen. It was such a big, big story when it was all about “terrorists” or “extremists” and our heroic DC Metro and Secret Service officers. Ever since it’s been a big, big non-story.

      If the police and the media got it all and tragically wrong they should own up to it. And that’s one thing that makes it an important story.

      And let’s remember it’s a story that wouldn’t have any chance of being told at all were it not for a lawyer named Sanders.

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      • Interested Reader

        I’m sure people do drive as tourists, but one would expect it to be planned — with a stay in a hotel, for example, tagged onto the trip. I think it’s curious that she drove that far with such a young child without specific plans. My mind wonders if there was some type of domestic violence involved where she had to “escape.” I guess that’s what I was getting at. I find it interesting that no one is reporting on that aspect of it. Sorry if my comment bothered you, JMRJ.

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        • Interested Reader

          And, by the way, I totally agree that if the police/media/whomever got it wrong, it’s time to state as such. But … alas … they never own up when they are wrong anymore, do they?

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        • Jessie

          DC and Connecticut are only 300 miles apart. That’s only a four-hour drive, so not unusual with an infant at all and not surprising that she wouldn’t have had need for a hotel.

          Besides, what evidence is there that she didn’t stay in a hotel? And even if it exists, the police would have had no way of knowing that when they opened fire on her.

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  2. Jessie

    I don’t think calling this “a tragic fuck up” or a “dumb move” by police really cuts it, John. (And I often think you’re a little too pro-defendant or pro-acquittal.) This doesn’t sound stupid or negligent at all; it sounds intentionally cruel and mindlessly violent.

    With regards to the first comment, I’m not even sure why we NEED the details of why she drove from Connecticut or why she made a left turn. Those aren’t suspicious behaviors. When you’re white, those are called “taking a vacation” and “making a wrong turn.”

    What’s particularly striking to me about this is that, when I was about her age, I did almost the exact same thing — AT 3 A.M.! I was on my way from Baltimore to Virginia and arrived, for the first time in my life, in our nation’s capitol. Never having seen the White House, I decided to drive by, but this was shortly after September 11 and the streets around the White House were closed off.

    So, being blithely accustomed to my white privilege, I parked my rental car and took off on foot. For the White House. Mere weeks after September 11. At 3 o’clock in the fucking morning.

    I was met swiftly by a swarm of Capitol Police and Secret Service. Was I scared? Not in the least! I’m white. “Police officers are my friends.” They didn’t shoot me. They didn’t order me to the ground. All they did was ask…..y’know….what the hell I was doing there — a not-unreasonable question under the circumstances. I told them and what did they do? Gave me a personalized tour of the whole area surrounding the White House!

    There was one, and only one, relevant difference between these two stories as far as I can tell. I’m white and Miriam Carey was black. (Well, that and she probably wasn’t stupid enough to show up there in the wee-smalls and toodle around on foot.)

    You’re right to blame the press, but I think you’re missing the reason they’re ignoring this. When something happens all the time, it stops being news. Cars kill more people than rare medical procedures, therefore not news. Medical error and hospital infections kill more people than illicit drugs, therefore not news. Alcohol kills more people than bath salts, therefore the face-chewer guy was news. Anomalies are certainly more interesting, but it gives people a false sense of what to be afraid of.

    It’s also instructive: The reason the press ignored this is because cops killing young black people is PERFECTLY NORMAL. And therefore not news.

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    • Jessie, I fear that you are right. We have a lot of race problems in the US. Still.

      On the other hand, I’ve always maintained that once the train gets rolling -that is, once someone is formally charged – race doesn’t matter at all. The system tries to screw the Defendant just the same no matter what the race.

      But race makes it far more likely that you’ll be in that position in the first place. So in that sense race was very, very relevant here because this was about who was being suspected by police, before anyone was charged with anything.

      I didn’t mean to give a pass to the police here. I agree it’s more than “dumb”, but I recall everyone was on edge in DC because of the Navy Yard shooting a couple of weeks before (12 dead)

      Now, of course the media traffic in the unusual, but the thing that rankles me is that they made a big deal out if this themselves at the beginning. And then when it turns out they were all wrong the whole thing disappears as if it never existed. I think it has to do not only with having egg on their face, but the reason they have egg on their face: their uncritical acceptance and routine amplification – megaphone like – of police spin. This is something they are guilty of all the time, but they aren’t usually so swiftly, forcefully and dramatically proven wrong. So what this points out, to me, is that their approach in such a situation is disturbingly Orwellian: the 30 second hate being over, we don’t acknowledge that it was all a big error because we need to maintain our ability to incite 30 second hates.

      That’s why I’d like to see some way to hold them accountable. They’re certainly not of a mind to do that themselves.

      Great to see you. Wouldn’t have believed you were so young, which probably just means I am now getting really old. Ugh.

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      • I also think there are lessons here in the “power” of the internet. I can post something here and anyone in the world can read it, but there haven’t been too many visitors about this. But when I posted about Jodi Arias or Casey Anthony during their trials I got lots of visitors, but only because those stories were being “saturate-covered” by the MSM at the time. I can post something about them now and it wouldn’t generate any significant numbers of readers. But then even when a comparatively large number of people visit over here because of a current event like JA or CA, overall this blog just gets lost in all the noise.

        I get a little traffic when I try to spread the word on twitter, but the idea you can hashtag something over there and watch it “go viral” doesn’t seem to work for anything I am interested in.

        I’m not complaining, just noting the phenomenon. I don’t care much about how many readers I have here. I’ve always thought of this blog as being sort of specifically focused, not a general news and opinion outlet.

        I think that of the legal blogs I link to Simple Justice is probably the most widely read, but even in internet terms it’s just off in some cyber-ghetto. At least that’s the way it seems to me.

        Then again, what sort of confirmation am I looking for? I guess I would want to see a legal blog become prominent by having it noticed in ….. the MSM. That’s ironic, right?

        In any event, Miriam Carey’s case should be all over the internet. But it isn’t. Seems the internet, dynamic though it may be, can’t overcome a media blackout. At least not usually.

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        • Interested Reader

          Quite fascinating thoughts, JMRJ. One has to wonder exactly how your little piece of cyberspace became so noticeable during the JA or CA cases. But why was it not found (or noticed/followed) during subsequent blogs?

          I admit that I found your blog during one of those cases and would probably never have happened upon this blog otherwise. However, I have read each and every one of your blogs since then with great interest. I subscribe and receive notification by email. I haven’t had time to comment, unfortunately, although I have often intended to. Because my life has been so busy, it’s often been a couple of weeks after the post by the time I read it and want to comment, but I’ve thought that was untimely, so remained silent. This was the first time I’ve read something in a timely fashion and felt I *could* comment.

          I have an interest in the law, so perhaps that’s why I continue to read your blogs and others don’t. But you are absolutely correct: this case should be be the talk of cyberspace and it isn’t. Why is that? Why is no one curious — even from the perspective that I found interesting: was it domestic violence that drove this woman to DC? Or, why was she here making a wrong turn? Was she simply a tourist? What really happened that she was shot and killed? Why does no one care?

          Things to ponder … no doubt!

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      • Jessie

        I partially agree, partially disagree. Of course black and Latinos are more likely to wind up in the defendant’s chair, but I don’t believe once they get there, the race factor disappears — not even close. Prosecutors and juries live in the same world the cops do and have the same biases the cops do. (In that sense, you’re not giving the cops a pass, but acting like the police are somehow more racist than everyone else. Yet good, well-trained cops have been trained MORE than prosecutors and juries to examine their biases.)

        And a lot of times these biases aren’t conscious. In fact, I would say in our day and age, most white people try to sublimate them. Most don’t want to be racist, which is progress of a sort, except the denial of racism IS the new racism. And that denial tries to wipe history away and act like we live in an age where we should just all be colorblind. So to even mention race is then racist, because you’re “seeing” it.

        Sure, people were on edge from the latest shooting (although these shootings have become so common, I don’t know that anyone really is on edge anymore). But….then why didn’t I get shot when I turned up at the White House in the middle of the night weeks after September 11? Certainly the cops were more edgy then and my behavior was much, much more suspicious than this woman’s. Not only the middle of the night, but I was in a rental car and I’d sent my bags on ahead, so I was on vacation with no luggage. Surely that’s worth a death sentence, isn’t it? Oh, wait….only if you’re black.

        I totally agree that the press in general is far too eager to accept the statements of authority without enough — sometimes without ANY — question, but the one sense in which I will justify their behavior (and I admit it’s weak, but it’s still a significant factor) is they give their audience what it wants. The press has forgotten that it’s their job to set the conversation (hence, this is a weak defense), but if we wanted real news, they would give it to us. Same as if voters demanded substance from politicians, we would get substance. We don’t demand those things, so we don’t get them.

        I’d love to think I’m that young :-) But, remember, I was close to this woman’s age back in 2001. That was 13 years ago. Of course, depending on how old you are, that may still make me a spring chicken.

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        • Interested Reader

          I was actually about the same age as Ms. Carey in 2001 so I guess you and I are about the same age. Sure, 2001 had to be an edgy time, but there was a white president in office and the Iraq war and all of his many controversial decisions (which made him a more serious target) had not yet occurred. In fact, from what I understand, even in the months post-911, White House tours were still allowed. They have not been allowed in a very long time — without special dispensation, anyway, which involves incredible background scrutiny — from what I understand. And again, we now have a black president who has become a far more serious target even than Bush in the height of controversy. I do not proclaim to be absolutely correct in what I say. I am just relating what I have heard from others in this area — many who have worked for the current administration and often, for former administrations, even in the White House itself. That doesn’t make them right, of course. But they have a little more knowledge perhaps than the average Joe on the street. From what they have said, there is intense security surrounding this president — more than ever before. That still doesn’t make the occurrences surrounding Ms. Carey’s murder “right,” of course.

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    • Interested Reader

      I think it would be perfectly reasonable for anyone of a young age to drive so far on a whim. But it’s not typical for a mother WITH a young baby to do so.

      Also, Jessie, while I would agree with your sentiments in ANY other city, I happen to live in the DC area, and have worked in DC. It’s not called the “Chocolate City” because the majority of its inhabitants are white. Of all the places I’ve ever lived in this world, I cannot even begin to state how incredibly “unracist” (is that even a word?) this area is. Personally, it’s one of the reasons I love living here. We truly don’t see colour (and I guess my spelling of the world “colour” divulges that I’m not an American by birth).

      In this area, above any other area in the US especially, I just can NOT see a woman making a wrong turn into the White House area being unfairly discriminated against because of the colour of her skin. In fact, it may well be deemed *more* suspicious if a white person performed such a deed. But you’d have to live in this area for a few years to fully comprehend that. I just cannot emphasize enough how race is NOT an issue in this area at all. And I’ve lived in a couple of other states where I would have thought as you do.

      On the other hand, I see this as more likely to have been (a) a total breakdown in communications (due to a faulty radio or something else??? who knows?) and (b) a completely unnecessary over-the-top preemptive measure where a young woman was killed, quite possibly for nothing other than making a wrong turn.

      Then again, where race *does* potentially play into this issue is that our president is a black man and there are, unfortunately, many in this country who despise him for *NO* other reason. And, because of that, his “protectors” have had to be more diligent than they would be if he was a white man. (Of course, we could then get into the fact that he’s bi-racial, but let’s not go there or we’ll never stop.)

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      • Jessie

        I find it odd that you live in DC and don’t seem to realize Connecticut is only four hours away, tops.

        I find it delusional that you think DC is “un-racist” just because it has a high black population. Detroit? New Orleans? Chicago? Oh, yeah, in all those places, a white person’s behavior is way more suspicious….

        I think I just stopped taking you the least bit seriously, sorry.

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        • Interested Reader

          I’ve never lived in Detroit or New Orleans, so I can’t speak at all for those areas. But I have lived in Chicago for a very long time and it’s one of the most racist cities I’ve ever been in. At least, it was then. But I haven’t lived there since 2002 and things may have changed. When I lived there, the only somewhat integrated area was the “near north.”

          DC is very very integrated and apparently, has been for a long time. It’s not just about the percentage of the population; it’s about the way people integrate and live with one another. This area (the DMV area, as they call it) people are just people. I wish I could say the same about Chicago, but I couldn’t when I lived there.

          Here in the DC area, it’s not at all uncommon to see a person of Asian heritage hanging out with an African American, a white person and an Hispanic person. You would literally have to spend some time here to know what I mean by this. One of the teams at work has an extremely high percentage of African Americans. Yet, when an African American was promoted to be their supervisor and didn’t do his job well, they did not side with him just because of the colour of his skin. On the contrary, the African Americans actually fought to get him demoted. In Chicago, for contrast, I remember very clearly when an African American woman was asked to provide names of co-workers who might wish to join her for a prize she won. Instead of naming people on her team — with whom she worked most closely and knew very well — she chose the other African Americans that worked for the firm, even though she knew absolutely nothing about them.

          If you haven’t lived or spent time in the DC area, you don’t have to take me seriously — nor would I expect you to. Living here was a pleasant surprise for me and I can only compare it to London. It’s just not like other parts of the US in which I’ve lived. There are some here who will tell you that racism is alive and thriving — however, those are mostly the older generation (55+) who apparently lived here when there was still a problem. Most people of colour who have lived here all their lives or moved here will be happy to discuss race with you and how incredible this area is compared to the rest of the country. But again, if you haven’t spent time here, you could not know that. I certainly wouldn’t have.

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          • Interested Reader

            As for the 4 hours away comment, I don’t drive at all, so that may put things in perspective for you somewhat. However, most people who do live here would consider driving 4 hours quite an ordeal. Driving from suburban Maryland to suburban Virginia — all within the DMV area (DC-MD-VA) is considered a considerable amount of driving. Traffic is very heavy here and people do not like to commute. From what I understand, those who live in the NY area and its outlying areas (including CT and NJ) feel the same way. You didn’t say where you lived, but I recall when I lived in other parts of the country, driving 4 hours was not an ordeal — but then again, those drivers did not have to contend with intense traffic situations, as one would have to do here.

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