Well-Regulated SC Convenience Store Owner Shoots 14-Year-Old Black Kid In The Back, Like A Damn Coward
Rick Chow executed a 14-year-old on suspicion of shoplifting.
Rick Chow, who owns a Shell gas station in Columbia, South Carolina, chased 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton out of his store Sunday night and fatally shot him in the back. Chow believed Carmack-Belton had stolen four bottles of water. He was mistaken. Also, it was just water. We're talking at most $20. That's what Chow apparently considered the value of a human life.
According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, which reviewed surveillance footage, there was a verbal confrontation between Chow and Carmack-Belton but it didn't become physical. Chow and his son chased the 14-year-old down the street, far from the store property. Carmack-Belton fell but got back up and ran before Chow eventually shot him in the lower back.
“It’s senseless, it doesn’t make sense,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at press conference on Monday. “You have a family that’s grieving, we have a community that’s grieving over a 14-year-old who was shot.”
Coroner Naida Rutherford, countering social media narratives, stressed in a video that Carmack-Belton removed the bottles of water from a cooler but put them back. He never stole or attempted to steal anything. His actions were what the owner of a convenience store should have recognized as "shopping."
\u201cThis is heartbreaking \ud83d\udc94 Listen to the Dr. @naidarutherford who is the coroner of Richland County and the one to determine the cause of death on our young brother Cyrus Carmack-Belton. She is demanding Justice as we all are for the family and community.\u201d— BGRbckuppage (@BGRbckuppage) 1685492384
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott agreed that shoplifting and certainly not suspected shoplifting aren't capital crimes.
"Regardless, even if he had shoplifted four bottles of water, which is what he initially took out of the cooler and then he put them back, even if he’d done that, that’s not something you shoot anybody over, much less a 14-year-old, but you just don’t do that,” Sheriff Lott said.
Chow's store was vandalized and looted over the weekend, which is pointless and only exploits Carmack-Belton's death. Sheriff Lott said Richland County police will now have to expend resources guarding the store when it could be doing almost anything else.
Chow, 58, was charged with murder. Chow's son reportedly told him that Carmack-Belton was armed, and while deputies recovered a gun near the victim's body, there's no evidence that Carmack-Belton pointed the gun at Chow or threatened him with it. Obviously, a 14-year-old boy shouldn't have a gun, but in some states Republicans are refusing to outlaw unsupervised minors carrying guns, and in South Carolina itself he was just four years away from being legally able to carry a concealed weapon without a permit or training. (Seems a bad idea, but I'm no longer a South Carolina voter.) An estimated 49.4 percent of South Carolina adults "share their home with at least one gun," and yes, that's weirdly intimate imagery. Someone armed in South Carolina is like a coin flip, but Chow still freaked out.
\u201cSC House votes 90-30 to give second reading \u2014 essentially passing \u2014 to a bill allowing people 18+ in SC to carry loaded, concealed weapons without a permit or training. The \u201cconstitutional carry\u201d bill will head to Senate after a perfunctory third reading in the House tomorrow.\u201d— Mary Green (@Mary Green) 1677102944
It's also likely that Chow didn't see Carmack-Belton as a child, and that is often an excuse given when someone shoots a Black kid. However, only a coward shoots anyone in the back. This was cold-blooded murder.
Linda Suber, who lives nearby, saw Carmack-Belton lying on the ground on Sunday night.
“It’s just sad, it’s sad,” she said. “If y’all would have seen that baby laying right there, that’s all I can say.”
Suber’s son Tavaris Bell was murdered on Broad River Road in 2006.
“Just to see him laying right there, I didn’t get to see my son laying where he got killed, but I saw him in the hospital, it just brought back memories,” Suber said.
One woman, who lives near the store, saw the shooting happen and called 911. (She did not give reporters her name.)
“Do you even want to go in the store now because anything can happen now these days, and everybody’s getting trigger-happy,” she said. “I just really hope that he gets justice for it because that young man didn’t have to die like that. But for me to witness that yesterday, I’m in fear for my own brother, and for any of the kids that’s in my neighborhood because these kids, they come outside all the time, they come to this store all the time. Now it’s like now you have to watch your kids.”
Contrary to right-wing rhetoric, guns don't secure freedom. They only promote fear.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter if it still exists.
Catch SER on his new podcast, The Play Typer Guy.
Did you know SER has his own YouTube Channel? Well, now you do, so go subscribe right now!
Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty.
Insurance companies know damn well that climate change is real.
State Farm announced on Friday that it will no longer sell new homeowners insurance policies in the state of California, explaining the move was due to "historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure, and a challenging reinsurance market." The decision doesn't affect already-existing policies, and State Farm will keep selling car insurance in California too.
The company said that it was really great that California's state government has been ramping up efforts at wildfire mitigation, but added that it was "necessary to take these actions now to improve the company’s financial strength," because in the insurance biz, you can't make a profit if there's too much risk that you'll have more policy holders needing payouts than you've taken in through premiums, or if there's insufficient coverage in reinsurance — basically, the insurance that helps insurance companies pay off claims in a catastrophic situation. Sorry, folks, too much risk, and we can't get coverage ourselves.
Update: State Farm didn't specifically mention the problem of California cliffside property falling into the ocean (free WaPo gift linky) due to all the freaky weather, but we suppose that would be part of the "catastrophic exposure" they meant.
Follow The Money
We knew this was on the way, because insurance is all about trying to pin down risk, and droughts, increasingly damaging hurricanes, and rising sea levels are all the sorts of things that will catch the attention of insurance companies, which have been saying "Well, actuarily..." about climate for a couple of decades now. Yr Wonkette chirped and keeled over like a coal mine canary about it over a decade ago, and it wasn't new then, either.
As independent journalist and lefty rabblerouser Hamilton Nolan puts it in a must-read piece on the problem,
The insurance industry is going to serve a very useful role in the climate apocalypse. It is going to be the tip of the spear that punches through all of the bullshit of climate denialism once and for all. Indeed, the process is very much underway already. Politicians and oil lobbyists can lie all they want, but their homeowners insurance rates are going up.
Just this spring, the Senate Budget Committee held hearings on the likely destabilization of the insurance biz. Eric Anderson, president of risk management and reinsurance company Aon PLC, testified that climate change has led to "a crisis of confidence around the ability to predict loss," as Scientific American discusses.
Reinsurance companies, which help insurers pay catastrophic losses, “have been withdrawing from high-risk areas, around wildfire and flood in particular,” Andersen [said. ...]
He added, “Just as the U.S. economy was overexposed to mortgage risk in 2008, the economy today is over exposed to climate risk.”
As insurance analysts Talking Heads warned back in 1983, It's a big, risky business. All that blood, better cover that mess.
The Backup Plan Needs A Backup Plan
As big private insurance companies decide they don't want to insure property in areas that are at greater risk from extreme weather events, homeowners are supposed to be able to fall back on last-resort basic insurance provided by state governments. Called FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) plans, they're intended to fill the gaps when private insurers aren't willing to write policies. The problem, of course, is that when FAIR insurance is all that's available, states find themselves in the same dilemma that private insurers do: If there's a major disaster, the states' insurance reserves are going to go plooey too.
Those plans have been badly stressed recently in Florida — thanks to Hurricane Ian, the system was "seriously depleted," and the state may add a surcharge on policyholders if it needs to cover losses from another disaster — and in California, where
the state-run FAIR plan has accumulated a $332 million deficit while it charges premiums that are too low and has limited reinsurance to cover claims from a catastrophic wildfire, Milliman actuary Nancy Watkins told the committee.
“The California FAIR plan is growing unsustainably high,” Watkins said. She noted that the plan can impose an “unlimited assessment” on insurance companies operating in the state if it is unable to pay claims.
More and more people are having to rely on FAIR plans, which have seen a 29 percent increase in policies between 2018 and 2021, according to testimony from Benjamin Keys, a real estate prof at U of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school. As insurers leave markets due to increased climate risks, that's going to "[leave] homeowners with fewer choices, less protection, and more financial distress."
Doom Spiral, Anyone?
As Nolan explains, that's going to throw real estate and housing into a huge mess, since banks won't write mortgages on property that can't be insured. Nolan dismisses the state-run insurance plans as a "comforting fiction," noting that the damage from Ian came to $100 billion, of which about $60 billion was insured. $100 billion, he points out, is equal to the annual budget for Florida's state government, so just imagine what's likely to happen when insurers just walk away from a largely uninsurable state.
Actually, Nolan has already imagined it. In the pure capitalist model, insurance becomes more and more expensive, and folks who can't afford the premiums will sell and move away. But that only works as long as there are people willing to buy, after which there's a collapse of the market, "because only very rich or very insane people can afford to live there." The massive drop in real estate values guts property taxes, and eventually the whole mess spirals into a financial crash as banks are left with worthless mortgages, and 2008 looks like a hiccup.
Nolan points out, with socialist glee, that this scenario is simply
the free market functioning perfectly!!! This is actually how capitalism is supposed to solve problems. In this scenario, adaptation to climate change is induced by price signals. People are forced to move away from the coasts because it becomes too expensive. This is economically rational. The human pain of this enormous dislocation does not change that fact.
As with Mark Twain's "The War Prayer," that's what advocates of the "free market" are really praying for, even though they know damn well it would be horrifying to live through.
But that's really unlikely, because just as in other financial catastrophes, the insurers, the banks, and the state will all go to Washington DC for a bailout, because capitalism is nice in theory but sucks to actually experience. In this scenario, the big money will be helped, and lots of individuals who thought they were acting responsibly by buying now-worthless insurance will still lose out, since they are in fact small enough to fail.
It's not so much that climate change is going to kill us all. It's just going to kill far more of us than it would if we weren't so devoted to keeping the investor class happy. Maybe we shouldn't let them run things?
Maybe we need some kind of "Ministry for the Future" that would help point things in a more sustainable direction. Remember, our book club meets again Friday to discuss Kim Stanley Robinson's very timely 2020 novel; more on the book club here.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please give $5 or $10 a month to help us keep bringing you the climate news you need. If you need the dough for home insurance, though, we understand.
Why Does Trump Want Names Of Everybody Investigating Him, It Is A Witness Intimidation Treason Mystery!
His motives are always so hard to suss out.
News continues to trickle out about Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigations into Donald Trump.
The Washington Post has the latest on the inquiry surrounding Trump's potential obstruction of justice in handing over the classified documents and closely guarded state secrets he stole from the US government, focusing on a specific employee who kept showing up in surveillance footage moving boxes. Indeed, it sounds like Trump may have even waved off his own lawyer from looking for classified documents in his office, AKA the bridal suite at Mar-a-Lago, which sure does sound intentional, if proven true.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Smith's investigation, into Trump's efforts to overthrow the government and overturn the election he lost, the New York Times is reporting that White House aides have been subpoenaed related to the firing of Chris Krebs, the cybersecurity chief who judged the 2020 election to be the "most secure in American history." It certainly appeared at the time that the firing of Krebs was a direct retaliation for making the election too difficult to steal, and it flew in the face of the fantasy lie narrative Trump was trying to create, where the election had been taken from him through fraud and other improprieties.
So it'll be interesting to see how all these things play out. We imagine we'll be reading indictments about the classified documents long before we read indictments about January 6, as it seems like the docs investigation is much further along.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone reports that Trump, who is known for continuing to commit crimes while he is being investigated for crimes, is working overtime to find out the identities of the people investigating him. Not just for whatever purposes he has right now, but for his imaginary delusional purposes where he gets to fire them on day one, when he is "president" again.
Rolling Stone's sources say Trump is asking his advisers if "we know" the names of the people at FBI and DOJ who have investigated him. Why? Oh, reasons. To fire them. Because witch hunt. Also he is going to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray on "day one," because Chris Wray is Deep State, even though Trump hired him in the first place. (Rolling Stone reminds us that Meatballs DeSantis also says he will fire Wray on day one, which will make a busy day one for him because he has also pledged to remove all pronouns from the military, because that's why Meatball thinks recruitment is down. Pronouns. Oh, and the fight against global warming. Not global warming itself. The woke fight against it.)
Some block quote:
During some of the conversations this year, including at Trump’s Florida club Mar-a-Lago, some of Trump’s close political allies told him that they are working on figuring out the identities of the FBI and DOJ staff and forming lists, two of the sources relay to Rolling Stone.
However, others have complained that the feds aren’t making it easy for them.
Hate when the feds won't provide witness intimidation lists to the people they are investigating. Trump already leaked the full Mar-a-Lago warrant, which included the names of FBI agents who conducted the search. As Rolling Stone notes, "The search kicked off an 'unprecedented' number of threats against FBI agents and an attack by an armed Trump supporter on the FBI’s Cincinnati field office."
Rolling Stone reports that according to one of its sources, Jack Smith is making it difficult for them in one very specific way:
Prior to Smith’s appointment, full names — in official DOJ email addresses — would appear in emails sent by Justice Department lawyers working on the Trump-related probes, to attorneys for subjects and likely targets of the investigations. But in the time since Special Counsel Smith started overseeing the probes last year, such emails began at times only showing initials for multiple DOJ addresses, obscuring the names of certain lawyers or personnel working on the special counsel’s team, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
It's almost like the career war crimes prosecutor knows who he's investigating.
Rolling Stone also notes that back in December, Judicial Watch, the group run by wingnut non-lawyer Tom Fitton — who always looks like he's taking a break from shooting Mormon gay porn movies about naughty bishops and recently graduated missionaries — filed a FOIA request for the identities of everybody who works for Jack Smith. The Justice Department told him to get fucked, for obvious reasons, back in April. (Can you believe Trump is so stupid he takes legal advice from that non-lawyer guy?)
Surprise, Fitton is still upset the DOJ won't just tell him everybody's name who is doing witch hunts to Trump:
On Friday, Fitton told Rolling Stone that the DOJ is still “stonewalling” him and his group on the identities: “I don’t understand why it is that the names of prosecutors involved in a criminal investigation are secret. The Durham report shows it’s important we know who’s working there. We don’t want Social Security numbers or personal phone numbers, but certainly senior leaders and others who are pursuing this need to be disclosed."
So this is all exactly as we would expect it to be, both regarding ongoing threats posted by Trump and the extreme danger in letting such an anti-American insurgent leader anywhere near power again.
We hope the feds are timing all these prosecutions just right, to make sure Trump is getting his daily work assignments in prison around the time of the 2025 inauguration.
Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here.
Just got to BlueSky!
I have profiles those other places but I think I forgot how to log on.
Have you heard that Wonkette DOES NOT EXIST without your donations? Please hear it now, and if you have ever enjoyed a Wonkette article, throw us some bucks, or better yet, SUBSCRIBE!
Definitely what winners do a year and a half out from their next humiliating election loss.
Let's check in with the absolute best hope Republicans have for 2024, the indicted (and likely to soon-to-be more indicted!) babbling moron of Mar-a-Lago.
"Kayleigh 'Milktoast'McEnany just gave out the wrong poll numbers on FoxNews. I am 34 points up on DeSanctimonious, not 25 up. While 25 is great, it's not 34. She knew the number was corrected upwards by the group that did the poll. The RINOS & Globalists can have her. FoxNews should only use REAL Stars!!!
All of the illiteracy obviously [sic]. Including the part about "Milktoast." We know there are MAGA people who will argue that Trump spelling it like that is just part of his four-dimensional chess, as if they're convincing anyone out there that Trump isn't just a poorly educated moron.
So "Milktoast." He's making up inane names for Kayleigh McEnany now, a woman who was his loyal press secretary, and who has done nothing in her life but lie for him, but who we guess is showing signs of possibly maybe not being 100 percent committed to Sparkle Motion. He is ready to hand her over to the "RINOS" and the "Globalists." You know (((what that means))).
Why's he so mad at her? Who knows. Forbes suggests it could have something to do with how after Trump helped the Republicans do so badly in the 2022 midterms, she tried to encourage him not to announce his campaign a week later, as it might hurt Herschel Walker's chances in the Georgia Senate runoff. She's been too nice to Ron Desanctimonious.
Maybe. Maybe he's just a lunatic. It's entirely possible.
And now this is what his supporters are fighting about, whether it is right that Trump is abusing this particular woman.
The Independent collected a few who think it's Not Good:
"Kayleigh is the kindest person and was the best press secretary to ever step foot in the White House," tweeted user Kambree. "There is ZERO excuse for degrading or belittling her to this degree over a few points."
"Praising Andrew Cuomo. Insulting Kayleigh McEnany .… what happened to Trump," asked Christina Pushaw.
"He’s completely unhinged," said columnist Marc Thiessen on Twitter.
"Kayleigh McEnany was one of the best people to serve in his administration. He’s losing control, lashing out at anyone and everyone who does not tow his line. Sad."
“TRASH. Kayleigh was one of THE greatest talents in the trump admin. He knows it, we know it, and conservative leaning suburban female voters know it,” tweeted Alex Clark.
“This is perhaps Trump’s lowest moment. Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump during some of the most trying moments of his presidency while enduring endless personal attacks from the media,” wrote Bradley Stein.
Yes, it is very shocking that Donald Trump has randomly attacked a woman who was once loyal to him. What happened to him? He's losing it. This is entirely new behavior. Mediaite has a bunch more, if you're interested.
Here's a well known sane person who thinks this is exactly the right strategy for Trump:
\u201cShame on all of the the people who are calling President Trump\u2019s behavior \u201cerratic\u201d or \u201calarming\u201d simply because he\u2019s had enough of all of the grifter\u2019s bullshit and is finally calling them out. \n\nThis is a man who is attacked everyday nonstop. He has a right to defend himself.\u2026\u201d— Laura Loomer (@Laura Loomer) 1685511361
A few minutes after Trump's attack, Chip Roy, one of the Deliverance Dads from the House Freedom Caucus, went on Fox News with what appeared to be the specific purpose of trolling McEnany and saying "milquetoast" to her face. Why? The cruelty, we guess. Roy has actually endorsed Ron DeSantis. But hey, whatever. Maybe he thought he was just doing some friendly ribbing with the woman Trump was currently attacking on Fake Twitter.
\u201cRoy to Kayleigh: The deal hatched this weekend is pretty milquetoast if that word might mean something to you\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1685498719
There''s no need to comment on the alleged substance of what Chip Roy was saying about the debt ceiling deal, and anyway SER already did. House Freedom Caucus members aren't real congressmen with real policy concerns. They're just the suicide bombers threatening to blow up the entire global economy if they don't get exactly what they want.
But cool. It's the end of May, a full year and a half before the presidential election, and Donald Trump is attacking ... [checks notes again] ... Kayleigh McEnany.
You're doing great, Donald. Flawless victories all around.
Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here.
Just got to BlueSky!
I have profiles those other places but I think I forgot how to log on.