Shaun King: White Privilege Protected The Texas Shooter In Life & In Death


On this past Sunday morning, Devin Kelley walked into a small country church in the rural south Texas town of Sutherland Springs and shot nearly every single person in the building – brutally slaughtering 26 innocent men, women, and children and critically injuring at least 20 others.

Armed with an indefensible AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, he sprayed the congregation with bullets, reloaded, then continued, reloaded, then continued some more, then reloaded one last time, and continued until it appeared every single person in the church was shot.

It’s awful.

It immediately became the deadliest church shooting in the history of the United States and one of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history. Mind you, just a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, another man, Stephen Paddock, armed with a nearly unstoppable arsenal of semi-automatic weapons, shot an unthinkable 546 people – and killed 58 of them.

Soon after that shooting, I wrote a column stating that white privilege in America is so strong that even Stephen Paddock, the deadliest single mass shooter in American history, was getting preferential treatment in death that virtually any shooter other than a white man would ever receive had they done something similar.

Well, it’s happening again in Texas, but this time I actually think it’s worse. Devin Kelley shot and killed multiple children. He shot and killed a pregnant woman. He killed senior citizens. The man had absolutely no regard for human life when he strapped on black tactical gear, loaded up rounds and rounds of ammunition, and walked straight into that church and rained down horror on that close-knit congregation.

We had warning signs galore.

He beat his first wife. While in the military he assaulted his infant stepson so badly that he fractured the boy’s skull and the Air Force described it as “a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.” The chief prosecutor in the case said that Devin Kelley openly admitted to doing it on purpose.

He served 12 only months in a military prison for what he did. To give that perspective, the rapper Meek Mill was just sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for violating his parole when he was ticketing for riding a dirt bike. I have a friend in prison right now serving several years for selling small amounts of weed to his friends. But Devin Kelley fractured a child’s skull and got out in a year.

After he was released, white privilege continued to protect him in case after case.

Police were called on him multiple times for abusing women. In 2013 he was investigated for rape and sexual assault. Each time he was given the benefit of the doubt.

After moving to Colorado, the police were again called on Devin Kelley – this time for cruelty to animals after he was seen punching his dog in the head.

Again, Kelley was given break after break in life. And we must investigate why that is. For the past six months I’ve spent nearly every waking moment of my life either in The Bronx or studying it. I’ve taken a deep dive into neighborhoods where families and children never get a break. If you break the law, you go to jail, then you go to prison, normally for a very long time. If you are even suspected of breaking the law, it doesn’t matter if you are a child or a grown man, you go to Rikers, where you may wait for months or even years just to see a judge. In The Bronx, I’ve uncovered case after case of people, always black or brown mind you, who’ve spent years in jail or prison for crimes they never committed.

Somehow though, the harsh judgment and punishment of America’s justice system never really visited Devin Kelley. He should’ve served hard time for fracturing a child’s skull, but he didn’t. He could and likely should have served hard time for domestic violence and sexual assault and animal cruelty, but he lives in a universe altogether different than black and brown families in The Bronx – one in which he gets a perpetual pass for violence and intimidation.

So much so, that all the way back in 2012, when he fractured his stepson’s skull, he was supposed to never be able to purchase a firearm again, but the Air Force claims they basically forgot to file the federal paperwork that would’ve flagged Devin Kelley in the system – ultimately allowing him to purchase the assault rifle and ammunition that allowed him to murder so many people on Sunday.

It was that same white privilege that allowed Devin Kelley to post pictures of his AR-15 on Facebook, bragging about how awesome it was, without even a hint of fear of the ramifications of such a post on social media. The United States had already taught Devin Kelley that he could pretty much say or do whatever the hell he felt like doing, and pretty much get away with it.

Had any Muslim man in America, particularly a Muslim man with a history of violence, posted pictures of himself on social media with an AR-15, best believe the feds would be knocking on his door.

Like Stephen Paddock, white privilege not only protected Devin Kelley in life, it is protecting his name and his actions even in death.

Last week in New York, when a man was arrested in Manhattan for deliberately driving a rented Home Depot pickup truck over unsuspecting pedestrians, killing 8 of them, Donald Trump called the man a “degenerate animal.”

Trump also called on the government to completely terminate an immigration plan that allowed the man to enter the country in the first place.

He then called the man a terrorist.

And said he should get the death penalty.

Day after day, Trump railed on this man – not because he caused more harm than Devin Kelley – he didn’t. From all indications, this man also didn’t have a history of violent crime that we know of. Yet he was derided for days on end by Trump. Trump called for “extreme vetting” of all immigrants, the cancellation of government programs, and more – all because of what this man did.

Yet when Donald Trump was asked if the same type of “extreme vetting” he was calling for in response to the New York attack could’ve stopped the Texas attack or future attacks like it, he flatly said no and that it would’ve made “no difference” whatsoever. He then quickly went straight for the mental health excuse – which is a tired trope for conservatives who refuse to address the crisis of mass shootings in America.

If anyone was a monster, it was Devin Kelley. He was brutal and cruel everywhere he called home – yet the President of the United States finds himself treating this man with kid gloves.

Extreme vetting absolutely could’ve stopped this. Had Devin Kelley been banned from purchasing weapons the way he was supposed to be banned it would’ve stopped it. Had the justice system taken his repeated violent acts seriously it could’ve stopped this. A ban on assault rifles could’ve stopped this.

But here we are – more horror and violence – in a country determined to protect the white men causing it in life and in death.

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20 thoughts on “Shaun King: White Privilege Protected The Texas Shooter In Life & In Death

  1. Tony R Johnson on said:

    White privilege since the first immigrants…i mean settlers landed on Plymouth rock. A black man gets killed just because and its justified.because we look threatening…how many mass shootings have we done….just something to wave your flag to

  2. leadjustone on said:

    Shaun King is absolutely, 100% on point with his commentary. As much as some on this website would like to exclude race from this discussion, it can’t be ignored. Do you really think a black service man who intentionally fractured a baby’s skull, would have received only a 12 month sentence? Not to mention, this idiot didn’t even receive a dishonorable discharge. Maybe those in charge of sentencing him should have been instructed to imagine they were dealing with a black man. His butt would still be sitting in prison where he belonged , and all of those lives would have been spared.

  3. Race not an issue in this? Oh please, if this was a black person doing this, he/she would be called a THUG and every other name in the book and NOT mental illness even if that was the case. If a black person went into a shop to get a gun like this, he/she would have everything checked from the day they were born. That is what frustrate blacks and people on this board. Do not call that racist (which it is not, racist is a position of POWER/SUPPRESSION of another race while thinking you are superior to that race due to your race,NOT when someone (black) is upset over the different treatment between the races when a crime happens.

  4. African American Woman on said:

    Plus, reading these comments; most of the folks on here are just as hateful and racist as the white people you hate so much. As soon as someone says boo about black folks, y’all get your panties in a bunch, but will spew the same hateful garbage that you are so against…hypocritical and backwards…that explains the majority of people on this board.

    • What!!! on said:

      Well, that includes you as well. I have seen some of your comments. You are full of it as well at times and can be a hypocrite too AAW.

    • Tony R Johnson on said:

      Lol that talk doesnt work anymore …There was a short time ago when blacks didnt say anything….oh yeah…thats what u would prefer….wrong answer…no more pissing on me and telling me its raining….#thesunisout….remember justice4all what a joke

  5. Roberta on said:

    If you are going to troll as an African American Woman you need to do your research on our culture and how we communicate! You are an idiot! Go Troll somewhere else!

  6. Zerkeise on said:

    Nobody cares. Black, White, foreign, domestic, human, media. All seem to be driven to “15 Minutes” of fame. Whether its murder, celebrity babies (for Money), “Cat Fish, whatever. Its sad that havening this kind of attention is what is important to most. Can we please stop blaming race….how about we just stop killing, disgracing, maiming, being ugly to each other. This is deeper than race.

  7. Sue the agency for wrongful death that “failed” to keep the shooter from obtaining the assault weapon. Start holding those agencies responsible, the Air Force for their role or the lack thereof. Black people are held back at every avenue we have open to succeed but it only makes us a stronger “breed” of a race! We know how to persevere and nobody can take that from us. One thing slavery taught us! It will eventually pay off! Keep the faith!

    • americanize on said:

      They think we stupid Tmoe,you know this is a fu*kin troll and she says she,s black.If she,s black the kartrasions hate black di*k.

    • African American Woman on said:

      You and that uneducated americanize can kiss my black ass and, yes, its black. Both of you dumb sheep will never amount to anything in life because you’re too dumb and scared of being a victim of the white man, you can’t think for yourself. You claim to not care what the “white man” thinks of you, but you can’t stop talking about him. Stop being dumb sheep, go get your GEDs and start a life of your own. BTW, slavery ended in 1863, so the white man doesn’t own you anymore…so you don’t have to be scared anymore…its ok, there’s no chains on your body, but damn, your minds are chained up tighter than Fort Knox.

      • americanize on said:

        Ok white supremacist troll or African American Coon,you,re one or the other.Don,t you have better things to do than come on a black site and try to cause confusion we on this site can see right through you.Why don,t you go on fox they love negros like you,if you are a negro.Now what you really are is a coon,or maybe a bedwench.If you keep coming on this site with the bullshit,we are going to let you have it no holds barred.Now if ur a glut for punishment keep on posting that coon shit or racist bullshit and we coming back hard.

  8. americanize on said:

    White males total degenerates,they just loved to kill in mass.But the earth is ridding the planet of these devils,thats why their numbers are dwindling.

  9. African American Woman on said:

    Meek Mill???? Seriously, dude? Lol…we hear these kind of things all the time ( not mass shootings) but of people (usually men) committing acts of violence after being identified as having violent pasts. Nice try but this is not a black or white thing, but a failure of processes that are supposed to track people like this.

  10. Whenever some white Nut picks up an assault weapon and goes on a KILLING SPREE-that person is never called a “terrorist.”

    There is enuff HOME-GROWN terror right here at home.
    One only has to look at the White Supremacists in the WH, the KKK, the Alt-Right,
    Neo Nazi’s and all the other Rednecks who simply luv Chump!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m not scared of ISIS-I fear these NUTS right here in Amerykah!!!!!!!!!!

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