The NRA was finally forced to make a statement around the tragic shooting death of Philando Castile after Tamika Mallory, organizer behind the Women’s March, forced the issue in a heated debate with spokesperson Dana Leosche.
Despite being an organization that champions gun ownership rights, the NRA has remained silent on Philando being gunned down by a police officer last year. The NRA had even released a statement that it would not be commenting on the incident where the licensed gun owner was shot dead in his vehicle while complying with the cop’s orders.
That changed this weekend as NRA spokesperson Dana Loesche (you’ll remember her from that propaganda-style ad the NRA put out a few weeks ago) appeared on CNN alongside Tamika Mallory. The pair faced off on CNN to discuss the highly controversial ad, which appears to be a call to action for NRA members to take up arms against those who do not support the current presidential administration. The moderator questioned Loesche on the repetitive pronoun ‘they’ used in the ad, that alluded to the black and brown people of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Loesche insisted the message was only against ‘violent protests,’ but Mallory countered her argument by saying those ‘violent protests’ are small in numbers, stating the ad does nothing but encourage divisiveness and violence.
As the conversation shifted back to Philando Castile’s death, Loesche said on behalf of the NRA the “absolutely awful” shooting was a “a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided.” It should be noted that video of the exchange showed that Loesch did give the host some pushback when being asked to speak on Philando’s death.
“I don’t agree with every single decision that comes out from courtrooms of America. There are a lot of variables in this particular case and there were a lot of things that I wish would have been done differently,” Loesch told the CNN host. “Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over a [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not.”
Her tone was loaded in respectability politics, implying that if proper instruction is followed, gun owners wouldn’t lose their lives during encounters with police.
She continued, “I also think that this is why we have things like NRA carry guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.”
This logic, of course, does not apply to Black men who are often confronted with policemen who routinely handle encounters with minorities armed with inherent racial bias.
Shortly after the interview, The Women’s March called on Loesche to put some action behind her words, challenging, “If the NRA truly recognizes that he should be alive today, they should join us in calling on the DOJ to indict the officer responsible on civil rights charges.”