Screenshot: CNN

Alabama police have begun efforts to shift blame to the innocent man they shot following gunshots at an Alabama shopping mall.

Emantic “EJ” Bradford, 21, was killed by a police officer who was responding to an active shooter situation on Thursday evening. After calling the officer “heroic,” the police realized they had killed the wrong person and said it was “unlikely” Bradford was involved.

Now they’re saying his decision to “brandish” a gun on the scene—a gun his father says he had a permit for—led to his own death.

From the Associated Press:

The Monday morning statement says “We can say with certainty Mr. Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots, which instantly heightened the sense of threat to approaching police officers responding to the chaotic scene.”

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It’s almost maddening to write these things out now: The “good guy with a gun” narrative is bullshit. Racism is rampant in lawmaking and policing spheres. None of our appeals to constitutional rights ever actually include black people. Or maybe being in a mall with an active shooter isn’t a good enough reason to try and protect yourself?

It’s hard not to feel jaded because I’m not even sure who I’m writing to. There are people who understand this and people who are willfully ignorant, even if not maliciously so. If the idea of a “good guy with a gun” seems plausible to you as an argument against stricter gun control, you haven’t just been in a bubble; you’ve been actively ignoring a reality where black people are killed when they are unarmed or armed. Even when a black person fits into a—let’s be honest—rare narrative of a gunman being stopped by another armed civilian, he is then shot for it.

People against gun control need to let go of this wet dream of heroically stopping the bad guys and being showered with praise and kisses—because the cops continue to show that they aren’t equipped to live in a society where anyone might be armed, and frankly, they abuse the possibility and use it to justify murder. Our “normal” is one where anyone could get shot at any time, and we just have to react. If they’re so scared all the time, maybe we need to de-escalate as a society and stop trying to pretend an environment where guns are so accessible isn’t a preternaturally hostile one.

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Because we clearly can’t trust them to stop killing innocent black people.

Hear from Emantic “EJ” Bradford’s parents here.