Because it’s Friday, I was tempted to make a snarky remark about the rapid unscheduled disassembly of the DeSantis campaign. But this seemed unfair to the Space X rocket, which at least made it off the launch pad.
The latest bad news for Florida Man: A new Wall Street Journal poll shows “DeSantis’s 14-point advantage in December has fallen to a 13-point deficit, and he now trails Mr. Trump 51% to 38% among likely Republican primary voters in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.”
So happy Friday to all of you who don’t eat pudding with your fingers.
Reminder: We’re going on the road again next month, Thursday, May 18 in NYC. We open with an in-person episode of my Friday podcast with NYT Best-selling author Tim Miller—then JVL and Sarah take over with special guest, Molly Jong-Fast.
Our Stand Your Ground Carnage
Ringing the wrong doorbell, making a wrong turn, getting in the wrong car, and an errant basketball. A wounded teenager, a dead young woman, cheerleaders in critical condition, and a 6-year-old girl and her father shot.
It’s been a rough week for the “well-regulated militia” folks. More good guys with guns, they told us. An armed society is a polite society, they claimed. More guns = less crime, their “experts” insisted.
Instead, we got this: “Knocking on the Wrong House or Door Can Be Deadly In a Nation Armed With Guns.”
Yes, yes, yes, my conservative friends want to talk about the 35 people shot over the weekend in Chicago. But there was something uniquely awful about this latest chapter on our ongoing saga of hair-trigger gun carnage.
By now you know the stories, but Vox has a helpful wrap-up:
In Kansas City, Missouri, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, a Black boy, was shot by Andrew Lester, an 84-year-old white man, when Yarl rang the doorbell of the wrong home. Lester said that he was “scared to death” when he saw the teenager at his door.
And in Hebron, New York, 20-year old Kaylin Gillis was shot and killed by 65-year-old Kevin Monahan after she and her friends pulled into the wrong driveway while looking for a party. Monahan’s attorney said the presence of the vehicle and alleged other vehicles on his property created “an atmosphere and a fear that there was menace going on.” In both instances, prosecutors have filed felony charges against the shooters, and stated that there was no threat posed to them that warranted such violence…
In Elgin, Texas, 18-year-old Payton Washington and a friend were shot by 25-year-old Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr. when one of them got into the wrong car in a grocery store parking lot. Rodriguez allegedly approached Washington and her friends’ vehicle after they had already realized their mistake and fired off multiple shots.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, a 6-year-old girl and her father were shot by 24-year-old Robert Louis Singletary when a basketball rolled into his yard and a group of kids went to fetch it.
It turns out there were even more. The NYT reports:
But many other cases have attracted far less attention.
In July 2021, a Tennessee man was charged with brandishing a handgun and firing it after two cable-company workers mistakenly crossed onto his land. Last June, a Virginia man was arrested after the authorities say he shot at three lost teenage siblings who had accidentally pulled onto his property.
The least surprising story of the week? Via Mediaite: “The grandson of the man who shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl described his grandfather as a conspiracy theorist and avid consumer of right-wing media who was acting upon racism in an interview with CNN Thursday morning.”
I feel like a lot of people of that generation are caught up in this 24 hour news cycle of fear and paranoia perpetuated by some other news stations. And he was fully into that, sitting and watching Fox News all day, every day blaring in his living room. And I think that stuff really kind of reinforces this negative view of minority groups and leads people to be all — that doesn’t necessarily lead people to be racist, but it reinforces and galvanizes racist people. And their beliefs.
Kara Swisher: Musk’s Cry for a Giant Hug
On Thursday’s podcast: Elon Musk says that running Twitter is very painful, but it’s a pain he brought on himself with firings, stunts, and overpaying for the company. Plus, Kara Swisher and I discuss podcasting, and the goal behind the expansion of ‘Don’t Say Gay.’
You can listen to the whole thing here.
Deplorables of the Week
We’re back again with our listing of the worst actors of the week.
A reminder about the (very vague and frequently shifting) ground rules: In this contest, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Rupert, Elon and MTG are already in the clubhouse, along with fan favorites from the House GOP. You should simply assume that they are on the list every damn week. But we need to let the other contestants have an opportunity to exhibit.1