The Other McCain

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News From San Francisco: ‘A Lot of People Around Here Have Mental Issues’

Posted on | August 5, 2023 | 2 Comments

Say hello to Ryant Bluford of San Francisco and, while you’re at it, go ahead and say good-bye, because Mr. Bluford shuffled off this mortal coil last month in a manner that seems to be increasingly common. When a police officer points an AR-15 rifle at you and yells, “get your hands up,” this is not merely a suggestion. But the circumstances that led to this fatal encounter require us to contemplate law enforcement policy in many aspects, including the importance of maintaining public order.

What became known as “Broken Windows” policy, based on the influential work of James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, was based on the insight that enforcement of seemingly “minor” laws — against loitering, vandalism, public intoxication, etc. — had the effect of making neighborhoods safer and reducing violent crime. Explaining how and why this correlation functions would require more time than I’m willing to spend on the subject today, but the proven effectiveness of “broken windows” theory, as evidenced by the dramatic reduction in crime in New York City during Rudy Giuliani’s term as mayor, is beyond dispute.

This came to mind because bodycam video of this incident in San Francisco was posted to the YouTube channel Police Activity with the subject line, “Man Gets Shot by Police After Trying to interfere in an Arrest and Pointing a Gun at Officers.” The description posted with the video makes clear what happened, but I didn’t read the description until after watching the video. As a subscriber to the Police Activity channel, I watch nearly all of their videos, and thus probably see 150 or more police shootings a year. As I watched this one, it wasn’t immediately clear to me what was happening or where it was happening. I didn’t realize it was San Francisco. Anyway, the police are arresting someone who was wanted on a warrant, a routine activity that police do everywhere every day, and which very rarely leads to the shooting of anyone, much less a random dude who walks up and tries to stop the arrest.

The first impression I got from the video was a sense of disorder. When the police (whom I later learned were with the city’s anti-gang unit) went to arrest the wanted suspect, he was standing near a street corner talking to five or six other people. Cops handcuff the suspect and are apparently waiting for a patrol car to arrive and pick up the suspect. But here’s the thing — instead of dispersing, the group of people to whom the suspect was talking continue to hang around in close proximity to the officers. Dude, if the cops show up to arrest one of my buddies, I’m going to casually saunter away, like I barely know the dude. Probably because of my own past as a teenage dopehead, I always get nervous around cops, and so the behavior of these people in San Francisco made no sense to me. Why are you hanging around? The cops are here. Get moving.

It wasn’t one of the suspect’s buddies who got shot, however. About six minutes into the video, Bluford shows up and immediately starts shouting obscenities at the cops: “What y’all doing? What the f**k y’all doing in my neighborhood? . . . Uncuff him right now!”


Who behaves like this? Who thinks it is a good idea to accost police officers in an aggressive and threatening manner? The answer — perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn — is crazy people:

The Bayview man shot and killed [July 26] by San Francisco police officers, 41-year-old Ryant Bluford of San Francisco, was known as “Peanut” to friends and family. They recalled him as a loving father, brother, cousin and friend — while acknowledging the violent crime in his past.
Neighbors interviewed Wednesday night and Thursday morning said Bluford struggled with mental illness and had a disdain for the police, the result of more than a decade spent in prison for various serious offenses. . . .

(“Peanut” was loved by family and friends, despite his criminal history and mental illness, which finally got him shot by police.)

Bluford was convicted in the 2006 gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in San Francisco, and spent more than a decade in prison as a result. He was again charged, in 2022, for domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .

(Whoa! Gang-raping a 16-year-old? Do friends and family of “Peanut” not care about his victim? Click here to read the details of that crime.)

Neighbors described the shooting as a tragedy.
“He had four kids and a wife, two were twins. He did the best he could,” said a friend of Bluford’s, who gave his name as Tyke, saying Bluford’s mental health worsened after time in prison. “He was in the pen for 12 years; he had some mental issues from that.” . . .

(Who considers it a “tragedy” when a gang rapist gets shot by police? As for the “mental issues” which the friend blames on Bluford’s 12 years in prison, would the friend care to think about the “mental issues” suffered by a 16-year-old girl who was grabbed off the street, shoved into a van, threatened at gunpoint and sexually assaulted by four men in every manner imaginable? Because that was Bluford’s crime.)

At the Bayview intersection, Bluford’s family lit candles. They described Peanut as a man who had been through the wringer, and criminal records show past convictions for rape and other violent crimes.
He had a fearful association with police, neighbors said, one borne from a lifetime of negative experiences dealing with law enforcement: According to criminal records, Bluford was charged with kidnapping, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, and various other crimes in 2006; he was incarcerated in 2008, according to criminal records, and friends and family said he spent more than a decade in prison.
Then in 2022, he was charged again, with domestic violence, sexual assault, and criminal threats. It was not immediately clear if he was convicted and imprisoned for these alleged crimes.
“You have to think about the kind of trauma someone has experienced with the police,” said one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. “He looked done, driven to suicide by cop.”
“He had a lot of mental health issues,” said another anonymous neighbor. “He had a family. He loved his kids. A lot of people around here have mental issues.”

Joe Biden got 85% of the vote in San Francisco, so yeah, we fully understand that a lot of people there have mental issues.

What part of ’cause and effect’ do I need to explain?

The police video of the shooting was released Friday, showing that Bluford had a pistol in his waistband, which he later aimed at police before he was shot. Despite all this, however, some people continued to ask why police couldn’t “de-escalate” the situation. The obvious answer is that Ryant Bluford didn’t want it to be “de-escalated.” Ryant Bluford was crazy and wanted to die in the proverbial hail of police gunfire.

Why? You know why. Crazy People Are Dangerous.



2 Responses to “News From San Francisco: ‘A Lot of People Around Here Have Mental Issues’”

  1. Why was ‘Peanut’ out on the streets in the first place? – THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
    August 5th, 2023 @ 10:07 am

    […] My good friend — OK, OK, I’ve never met him in person, but with the internet, I have a lot of good friends I’ve never physically met! — Robert Stacy McCain, in his continuing series Crazy People Are Dangerous, tells us about the suicide-by-cop of Ryant ‘Peanut’ Bluford of San Francisco. […]

  2. Why Was ‘Peanut’ Not Behind Bars? - AFNN
    August 5th, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

    […] My good friend — OK, OK, I’ve never met him in person, but with the internet, I have a lot of good friends I’ve never physically met! — Robert Stacy McCain, in his continuing series Crazy People Are Dangerous, tells us about the suicide-by-cop of Ryant ‘Peanut’ Bluford of San Francisco. […]