Following Wayne LaPierre’s rigorous commitment to arming educators in the wake of yet another school shooting, Philando Castile’s mother has called the National Rifle Association CEO a hypocrite for not standing up for her son, who both owned a gun and was a public school employee.
Castile’s mother, Valerie, told the New York Daily News that if LaPierre “really cared about the good guys out here, he would have stood up for my son. It’s about money. This country is run off money.”
The NRA had little to say about the death of her son, who worked as a cafeteria manager for the St. Paul school district and was a licensed gun owner with a concealed carry permit.
Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop in July 2016 after alerting the cop, “I do have a firearm on me.” He then reached for his wallet to hand Officer Jeronimo Yanez his driver’s license. According to dashcam footage released of the incident, Yanez told Castile not to reach for his gun, to which Castile replied, “I’m not pulling it out.”
Yanez fired seven bullets into the car anyway, killing Castile.
The day after the fatal shooting of Castile, the NRA offered a tepid response, saying, “The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated.” The organization promised it would have more to say “once all the facts are known.”
As the facts became known, and as Yanez went to court and eventually was found not guilty in Castile’s death, the NRA remained silent. It wasn’t until a year later that Dana Loesch, speaking on behalf of the organization, called Castile’s death “a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided.”
A month later, speaking for her own fool self, Loesch appeared to blame Castile for his own death. When a Twitter user questioned whether the NRA’s slow, lukewarm responses to Castile’s death had to do with his race, Loesch replied, “He was also in possession of a controlled substance and a firearm simultaneously, which is illegal.” (Castile and his fiancee had smoked weed prior to being pulled over, and Yanez claimed that his rash, deadly response was because he smelled weed in the car.)
Valerie Castile has forgotten none of it.
“My son was one of the good guys, but him being black, obviously they didn’t see him as a good guy,” she told the Daily News. She added that the NRA has yet to say anything about her son, which isn’t exactly true.
The organization has. But the response was so tepid, so devoid of conviction, that one wonders why it even bothered.
“He didn’t say anything because my son was black. My son went through the same programs as every gun owner. But they started nitpicking, ‘He should have done this, he should have done that,’” Valerie Castile said of LaPierre and law enforcement officials. “The bottom line is that he told the officer he had a weapon, and the officer became a selfish man, only thinking about his own life and family. He chose to shoot my son several times. One of the bullets was 16 inches from that baby in the backseat.”
“He was a good guy,” Castile, 61, said of her son. “He went through a rigorous process to get his gun. He told the truth and let the officer know he had it. What happened to my good guy? He was shot down like an animal. He was still in his seatbelt.
“That car was his coffin,” she added.
She also called out LaPierre’s proposal that arming educators would make schools safer: “Arming the schools will make them more like a battlefield. If everyone has guns, bullets will be flying everywhere. You’ll end up with more bodies.”