Recall the killing of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man. In July 2016, two police officers pulled him over in a Saint Paul, Minnesota, suburb. When Castile, buckled into his seat, reached for his ID, he informed one of the officers, Jeronimo Yanez, that he had a gun — one that he was legally permitted to carry. Presumably familiar with the horrors that the police tend to visit on Black Americans, Castile just wanted to ward off any trouble. But Yanez lost control
, hitting Castile with five of the seven shots he fired. Castile died later that night.
Instead of hurrying to condemn the shooting, as it had done when police officers killed White gun owners, the National Rifle Association initially sought refuge in saying nothing.