You probably haven’t heard the name Brittany Hill. If you have, you certainly haven’t heard it as often, or as loudly, or accompanied with as much performative grief, as a name like George Floyd or Daunte Wright or Michael Brown. But the video of her death at the hands of Chicago gang members — a video which has been online for over a year — is impossible to get out of your head once you’ve seen it.
The footage, captured by a police surveillance camera, shows Hill standing near her car, talking to two men. She is holding her 1-year-old daughter in her arms. When the car with her murderers approaches slowly, Hill’s daughter innocently smiles and waves to the men inside. Moments later they open fire. The two men standing with Hill take off in opposite directions while the men in the car stop, get out, and continue shooting. Hill, struck in the abdomen, takes cover behind a parked vehicle and lies on top of her daughter to shield her from the gunfire. The killers drive away. Hill is left bleeding on the pavement, dying.
The alleged perpetrators of this, as the judge correctly called it, “chilling, mind-boggling and utterly senseless” crime, were arrested and charged with first degree murder a short time later. Police say the shooting was probably some kind of gang retaliation, though they do not believe Hill was the intended target.
This all happened nearly two years ago. It made some waves locally in the immediate aftermath, but was quickly forgotten. Most people across the country never heard of it, even after the dramatic and gut wrenching footage leaked to the public. There were no mass protests. No memorial services attended by politicians from across the country. No public officials weeping uncontrollably over her casket, as the mayor of Minneapolis did for George Floyd. And her casket, we can assume, was not plated in gold, like George Floyd’s, nor is her face, like George Floyd’s, featured on murals all over the nation. No major corporations expressed their sorrow over her death. The Democratic Party did not kneel in silence to honor her. Nobody rioted or looted. Black Lives Matter did not organize mass demonstrations for months on end. No liberal activists or politicians told us to “remember her name.” No laws were passed in response to her death. No calls for reform. She just died and that was it. Another statistic. Another tally to add to the body count.
Indeed, Hill’s death followed a Memorial Day weekend in Chicago that saw 38 shootings and 5 deaths. She was one of 490 murders in the city that year. There were 769 homicides in 2020 — a year that featured the single most violent day in Chicago in over half a century, with 18 homicides on one bloody Sunday in May. 2021 is shaping up to be even deadlier than 2020. But none of these murders, or any of the hundreds of other murders that happen in our cities every year, provoke outrage or garner attention even remotely on par with the killings of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, etc.
The point I’m making here has, of course, been made many times. And for good reason. Those who seek to justify the disparity in coverage and outrage have a number of responses at the ready. Let’s address the two most common rejoinders:
1. “In cases like Brittany Hill, the murderers are arrested and brought to justice. There is no need to protest.”
It is true that in the specific case of Brittany Hill, the murderers were arrested and charged, thanks in large part to the fact that they happened to commit their crime in full view of a surveillance camera. But a great many murders in Chicago and elsewhere go unsolved and unprosecuted every year. Besides, George Floyd’s killer was also arrested. That, you may have noticed, did nothing whatsoever to quell the protests. The killing of Michael Brown was investigated on both the local and federal level, and both investigations — to include the investigation conducted by Obama’s DOJ — cleared the officer of wrongdoing, citing, among other things, eye witness testimony and forensic evidence indicating that Michael Brown was shot while in the process of attacking and attempting to disarm the officer. But this also has done nothing to satiate the protesters. Still to this day they repeat the thoroughly and repeatedly debunked lie that Brown had his hands up and was pleading for his life. The actual outcome of these cases seems to matter very little or not at all to the protesters.
2. “The protesters are speaking out against injustice in government. They are seeking certain legal and policy changes. Citizen-on-citizen murder is not a matter of governmental injustice and there is no need to call for changes to law or policy in response to it.”
As covered above, the protesters are often upset about things that do not amount to governmental injustice. Michael Brown was not a matter of governmental injustice. The vast majority of police shootings are not unjust. Even the majority of police shootings of unarmed suspects are not unjust. But even if this is about injustice, or perceived injustice, then that would be all the more reason to take to the street for the sake of the Brittany Hills of the world. These crime-plagued cities have been brought to their knees by decades of ineffectual and unjust Democratic policy. The epidemic of violent crime in places like Chicago is most certainly the result, at least in part, of bad laws and bad leaders, who, for a start, have facilitated the collapse of the nuclear family by cynically breeding dependence on welfare and other Nanny State programs.
Also, many of the killers who terrorize these communities have already been convicted of multiple violent felonies and yet are still in the street. They are filtered again and again through the court system and prison system and then back into the community until they finally do something so incomprehensibly heinous that there is no choice but to send them away for good. Three friends in Florida were executed in cold blood last year by a man who had over 200 felonies, 15 convictions, and two stints in state prison already under his belt. The man who assaulted an Asian woman in New York City a few weeks ago had a rap sheet that included the murder of his own mother. The guy who shoved an elderly woman into a fire hydrant in the same city a few months before that had over 100 previous arrests.
Time and time and time ago, people who have demonstrated themselves to be dangers to the public are allowed back into the public to continue victimizing the innocent. Injustice? Yes there is quite a lot of it fueling the chaos and bloodshed in our streets.
The excuses don’t hold up. A movement that was really concerned with the unjust killing of innocent lives would be eager to stand up for Brittany Hill, to speak out on her behalf, to “say her name.” And certainly a movement that claims to defend the dignity and value of human life would have quite a lot to say about Hill and the many hundreds of victims like her each year. “Life matters” is indeed a message that our culture desperately needs to hear. It’s a message that — if it was listened to and heeded — would save many lives, including Brittany Hill’s. It’s just a shame that the movement which claims to defend life seems to care so little about it.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.