The Trial of Theodore Wafer: “I shot in fear, I shot on purpose, I didn’t want to be a victim”
Some things that middle-aged white Detroit shooter Theodore Wafer has said at his trial for the murder of unarmed black 19-year-old Renisha McBride: “I shot in fear,” “I shot on purpose,” “It was a threat, a threat that was coming in my house,” “I needed to find out what was going on,” “I didn’t want to cower in my house,” “I didn’t want to be a victim.” His only possible defense against the murder charge requires him to prove that the presence of a drunk, distressed teenager made him legitimately fear for his life.
At the Guardian, Syreeta McFadden goes over this sickening old story:
The loud music trial. The hoodie trial. The porch shooting trial. In all of them, a familiar narrative surfaces. The accused killers are white, and insist that they feared for their lives; the dead are black, and were all unarmed. The killing of a black teen is justified first, and only questioned after. It took 46 days for Zimmerman to be arrested. It took 13 days for Wafer to be arrested. Spooner, at least, was arrested on the spot — but it was broad daylight, there were multiple witnesses and he calmly admitted what he’d done.
There’s more to the argument that the shooters feared for their lives than just that it’s the only plausible defense. There’s a belief by the shooters — and a wider acceptance — that, because the people that they supposedly feared were black, that their fear is plausible … even reasonable.
“The vulnerability of black women in this context gets exacerbated: our womanhood gets eclipsed by our blackness,” writes McFadden. “A black woman in distress is more easily seen as a threat than a victim, and no one rushes to her defense.” [Guardian]