Is Killing Blacks a Growth Industry?

Six African-American men lynched in Lee County, Georgia, on January 20, 1916. Photo: Crisis magazine, April 1916.

A growth industry is a sector of an economy that experiences a higher-than-average growth rate compared to other sectors. Growth industries are often new or pioneer industries that did not exist in the past.

Well, lynching Black men is nothing new, except in the past, the lynchers didn’t get paid. Maybe the local economy thrived when families attended lynchings in a carnival atmosphere. Souvenirs were sold. The taverns were filled. Perhaps a piano player playing Theodore A. Metz’s “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.” Photographers who snapped photos of tourists posing next to the lynched got paid. But the average lyncher in those days did it for kicks. You see white men and women often in the company of their children, leering, grinning, and smirking up a storm as a smoking Black corpse is swinging above them.

Contrast those who in the old days lynched for free with Kyle Rittenhouse, who raised 2 million for a defense fund. He killed two demonstrators. Daniel Penny, the killer of Jordan Neely, has broken that record. As of May 19, Penny had raised $2,668,372. He’s pleading self-defense even though he grabbed Jordan Neely from behind. Ron DeSantis, who has been poking about looking for something Black to run against, like a desperate Las Vegas gambler traveling from slot machine to slot machine hoping for an avalanche of quarters, raised two million for Daniel Penny, the right’s new matinee idol.

The old Southern Demagogues of lore used the N-worth to win elections. They were true populists. At one time, George Wallace and his wife lived in a converted chicken coop.

Using the N-word is too uncouth for DeSantis. He prefers to signify Blacks by using code words like Woke, an idea attributed to Black novelist William Melvin Kelley who used the term in 1962. That’s because DeSantis went to Harvard and Yale, which also graduated Steve Bannon and a member of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted for his manic antics on January 6.

Bret Stephens also has an excellent education. University of Chicago, the London School of Economics. He uses his Times column to vent his rage about Black people without fear of rebuttal. To him, we’re all anti-Semites who live in San Francisco. Yet, I don’t know of a single Synagogue shot up by Black people, nor did I see Blacks among the marchers shouting the Jews Will Not Replace Us.

So it was no surprise that he would side with a vigilante. He defended Penny. About the victim, Jordan Neely, he wrote:

“Very scary. He was a person who had been arrested more than 30 times. He had punched an elderly woman in the face. He had exposed himself and peed inside a subway car. He had walked out of a residential treatment program. There was a warrant for his arrest at the time of his death — but cops probably wouldn’t have found out about it because a group sued to stop the police from detaining people solely to check for arrest warrants. He was the sort of guy who made the subway frightening for a lot of passengers, particularly women. People ought to know these facts before rushing to judgment.”

It doesn’t occur to Stephens that antipsychotic medication and residential treatment centers are useless when treating some people with schizophrenia and that there is a difference between the way middle-class white schizophrenics are treated and the Black and the poor, who are loaded up with medication, some of which is toxic. As for the mentally ill unable to fulfill their commitments, they don’t have a receptionist to remind them of their appointments or a car service to drive them there.

For CounterPunch, I wrote about how one drug company with full knowledge of toxic side effects put a drug with dangerous side effects on the market. They paid $6000 to every victim as a result of a class action suit. My daughter used this drug, Zyprexa. It led to her acquiring a bad case of diabetes. I am sure this drug contributed to my daughter’s death, even though she had a five-star support system, unlike most Black and poor people. Nothing worked. The voices never ceased. She died at 60, leaving behind a novel and two novellas in which she would describe her condition. Stephens hasn’t studied the disease that I was required to review.

I found Stephen’s old Black Boogeyman trope about Jordan Neely as a threat to women to be hypocritical. The Times rehired a writer named Glenn Thrush, who was fired from coming on too strong to women. Is Stephens going to write a column about it?

Deceived by William Barr’s spin on the Mueller report Stephens said the Democrats should apologize to Trump, whose assault on women is well known. Moreover, when will the Times identify the complete list of 999 guests at Jeffrey Epstein’s townhouse, among the most powerful men in the world, including Bill Gates?

Danny Cevallos, CNN’s legal analyst, is smart, too. Danny is a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Notre Dame Law School graduate. He just about delivered pro bono services to Penny’s defense team, advising them about how the vigilante can get off. Nikki Haley praised the vigilante’s actions. Under pressure after having dismissed the confederate flag as no big deal, she changed her mind after the killing of nine church members by a “replacement” nut. But she hasn’t abandoned her support for one of the Confederate’s favorite past times: Lynching Black men.

In the old days, lynchers were paid very little. In his 1756 Declaration of War against the Lenni Lenape people, Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Hunter Morris said, “For the scalp of every male Indian enemy above the age of 12 years, produced as evidence of their being killed, the sum of 130 pieces of eight . . . for the scalp of every Indian woman produced as evidence of their being killed, the sum of 50 pieces of eight.” But expect more to sign up for Vigilante services now that big bucks can be made. Some of them might be former bounty hunters. They’re only making about $50,000 per year. Why should they risk their lives when they all have to sneak up from behind a Black man and squeeze out his life? Only 15 minutes of work.

Penny’s defense lawyers say that $50,000 was his client’s amount from small donations alone, revealing the cruel sludge in the heart of segments of the settler population, which Donald Trump tapped. Penny has the looks that might land him a movie role or a job with the new CNN News. The media introduces him as “a Marine and college student.” For the media, Jordan Neely is a homeless bum who danced and talked loud on the subways. Of course, Jordan Neely was beautiful, but given Hollywood’s lack of diversity, his moonwalks would never have been accepted there.

Copycats are lining up to make their fortunes in a Gold Rush of killing, or should we call it A Black Rush? But now, donors to Rittenhouse and Penny face a dilemma. The latest vigilante is a Chinese American. Rick Chow. He killed 14-year-old Carmack -Belton, mistaking him for a shoplifter. Shot him in the back. Will the right make him rich as they have the white vigilantes?

Ishmael Reed’s play, “The Conductor,” about the role of right-wing billionaires and their minority surrogates in the San Francisco recall elections, in will enjoy a second run at the Theater for the New City. The link for those who wish to make a tax-deductible contribution is: https://www.blackboxpac.com/ishmael-reed

Ishmael Reed’s latest play is “The Conductor.”