The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Crazy People Are Dangerous

Posted on | June 23, 2023 | Comments Off on Crazy People Are Dangerous

James Lanier (left); Express Mini Mart (right)

Everyone agrees that the late James Windale Lanier had “been dealing with mental health issues,” as WCTI-TV put it. But despite the relevance of this information to Lanier’s untimely demise earlier this year, I’ve been unable to find any media account that specifies how these “issues” had been diagnosed or treated. Because I’m not a licensed clinician and don’t have a copy of the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders handy, I should avoid speculation about Lanier’s mental condition on the evening of Feb. 24. However, based on the report of his behavior, I think it fair to conclude that he was daft, demented, deranged, bonkers, berserk, off his rocker, nuttier than a Snickers bar, a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

You see, the late James Lanier was naked at the Express Mini Mart in Wallace, North Carolina, on the evening in question. A clerk at the convenience store called 911 at 10:56 p.m. to report that Lanier was naked, spitting on customers, and trying to start a fight. Three minutes later, the first cop arrived on the scene, and immediately confronted Lanier. Less than 30 seconds after the officer exited his patrol car, Lanier struck him. The officer retreated, repeatedly yelling “get back” at Lanier, who nevertheless advanced on the officer. The officer deployed his taser, but it had no apparent effect. Then the officer pulled his pistol and fired three shots, one of which fatally struck Lanier.

All of this information is derived from a 14-page statement issued last month by District Attorney Ernie Lanier, whose report noted that the situation “rapidly escalated,” and that less than a minute transpired between the officer exiting his patrol car and the fatal shot being fired. Lee said that the officer’s actions were justified, based on the threat posed by Lanier’s behavior. No charges will be filed.

Of course, the family demands answers:

Attorney Ben Crump was in Wallace on Wednesday for a press conference where he demanded the release of video footage in the death of James Lanier.
Crump was joined by members of the victim’s family along with additional attorneys, members of the Duplin County NAACP and others who spoke and kept the chant of “release the video.”
“Don’t say no more, release the video, don’t say no more, release the video,” Crump said as others joined in his chant.
Crump, a nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney, and the others spoke at Adoram Baptist Church in Wallace during the press conference. Together, they demanded the release of footage in the death of Lanier, an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed outside the Express Mini Market at 814 N. Norwood St. around 11 p.m. on Feb. 24. . . .
“Just understand this thing. I’m trying to say we are trying to save our race and all this stuff. The officer incited race when he shot and killed a black man with a mental health crisis,” Crump said. . . .
“James should be with us,” said Dawn Blagrove, an attorney with Emancipate NC. “And we’re not asking that general had been treated with special care. We’re just asking that he be treated with the same care.”
Family members said they are pushing for the video footage to be made public so people can make their own opinions on the incident.
“I need somebody to help me find justification for them shooting my son, so I want everybody to watch the video so they can show me what I see,” said James Lanier Sr., the father.
Meanwhile, Crump is standing beside the family, fighting for justice.

Oh, he’s “fighting for justice,” is he? Isn’t it more likely that Crump is fighting for a large payoff from the city, so he can collect his lucrative fee as attorney for the Lanier family? It seems to me that this demand for releasing the video (both from surveillance cameras at the store and from the body-worn cameras of the officers on the scene) reflects a belief on the part of Crump that the video would help incite the kind of destructive race riots mostly peaceful protests that would give the city an incentive to make a wrongful death settlement, despite the DA’s finding that the officer acted legally during the incident. And to point out a common factor this incident shares with lots of similar incidents, why is it that no reporter who does these “Family Demands Answers” stories ever asks: “Why didn’t you do something about your nutjob kid before he got shot by the cops?” I mean, how is it that Lanier’s family bears no responsibility for him ending up naked at the Express Mini Mart that night?

Wouldn’t it have been better for him to be strapped into a straitjacket, locked in a padded cell and dosed with Thorazine, than to let his mental illness — whatever the diagnosis was — escalate until he ended up in what seems to have been a suicide-by-cop situation? Because you’ve got to be far gone down the road to Crazytown not to realize that when a cop points a gun at you and yells, “back up,” maybe you should back the fuck up.

Oh, the local police chief has thoughts:

Wallace Police Chief James Crayton came to Wednesday’s press conference to listen to what the community had to say.
“Race had absolutely nothing to do with this,” Crayton said. “The police officer was not white. If and when the superior court judge orders that release, we’ll be happy to release it.”

Does it strike you that Chief Crayton is demonstrating the serenity of a Christian holding four aces? He’s seen the video. He’s not afraid of anything. That speaks volumes about this case.

Mental illness is a serious problem in our society, and nobody wants to see people die this way. As a treatment for acute psychiatric disorders, 124 grains of lead traveling at 1,000 feet per second is perhaps not the preferred medication, but it usually provides a permanent cure.

Remember: Crazy People Are Dangerous.




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