The decade's most triggering comedy
Two years ago, a woman named Shayla Workman was driving in her car with her two children, aged 3-years-old and 1-year-old, near an apartment complex in Nashville, Tennessee. That’s when a man in his 20’s, Shaquille Taylor, opened fire. He shot the roof of the car at least two times as Workman drove away. The attack was not random. In fact, the motive couldn’t have been clearer: Workman had recently testified against, “Someone he cared about.” What was that man’s crime? As Workman put it, “His brother was locked up for shooting at me initially in May.” A few months later, on August 2nd, Taylor found Workman at the RiverChase apartments and also started shooting at her: “The bullet hit the top of my car and bounced off. Had I not been driving, it would’ve gone through the window and shot my son in his head.” Authorities then arrested Taylor, and he confessed.
What happened next is not simply a scandal or a national tragedy, although it’s both of those things. It is a breakdown of law and order that’s so stark, and so completely illogical in every possible respect, that today members of both political parties are calling for changes to the law in Tennessee before more people die. And those changes need to happen, immediately. This is a problem that exists in many states, even though no one in the media talks about it. But it should be the story that leads every newscast tonight. We have hit the absolute nadir of BLM-mandated equity in the judicial system, and this needs to be the end of it.
Let’s get into the details. Shaquille Taylor, after shooting at a moving vehicle with a mother and her children inside, apparently in retribution for that woman’s testimony in a criminal proceeding, did not go to prison for the rest of his life. He didn’t receive any kind of lengthy prison sentence at all, for that matter. Incredibly, Shaquille Taylor never even went to trial. Instead, in May of this year, less than two years after he started shooting at Shayla Workman’s car, Shaquille Taylor was released from jail and his charges were dismissed. The judge who made that decision was Angelita Blackshear Dalton, who happens to be a Democrat and the first black woman elected to a judgeship in her county.
Why did Judge Dalton dismiss the charges against Shaquille Taylor? Well, three-court-appointed doctors testified that Taylor was too incompetent to stand trial. Apparently, Taylor had a kindergarten-level IQ, because he developed some kind of brain infection as an infant. So: case dismissed.
Now, wait a minute, you might say. Just because someone is incompetent to stand trial, why does that necessarily mean they should be released from jail? This guy shot at a moving vehicle with children inside, and on top of that, they tell us he’s mentally incompetent. Doesn’t this seem like precisely the kind of person we don’t want roaming the streets? As you might imagine, Shayla Workman was asking that same question when she noticed Shaquille Taylor was back on the streets. Here’s what she told local reporters: “He had a low bond shooting at me and my two babies at the time, and you let him out because he’s too incompetent? But you can’t be too incompetent if you’re admitting to shooting at everybody.”
So how do we square this circle exactly? Here’s the explanation from the Associated Press, which layers on the legalese. As of right now, according to the AP, in order to keep someone like Taylor locked up under these circumstances, Tennessee law requires that at least two doctors certify that Taylor’s mental illness “causes [him] to be a substantial risk of serious harm to himself or others.” The doctors must also certify that there are “no other less restrictive means than commitment.” And apparently, in this case, doctors didn’t certify all of that. They didn’t establish a clear link between Taylor’s mental illness and his propensity for violence. So the judge let him go. Supposedly, the judge had no other option.
It didn’t take long for the consequences of the judge’s decision to become very clear. A week ago, on Tuesday — just about six months after his charges were dismissed — Shaquille Taylor shot and killed an 18-year-old freshman music student at Belmont University named Jillian Ludwig. Ludwig was out walking on a track at the Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park, just steps from campus in what is supposed to be a nice part of town. That’s when Shaquille Taylor decided to start shooting at moving vehicles, which as we’ve discussed, is something he has a well-documented history of doing. And one of his stray bullets hit Jillian Ludwig. She somehow laid on the track for roughly an hour before anyone found her, even though she was very close to a police precinct. Shortly afterwards, she was dead. Watch:
That report — and most reports on this case — manage to undersell Shaquille Taylor’s criminal history. The shooting incident involving the mother and her children happened two years ago, but it wasn’t the only serious crime that Taylor committed. According to the local news channel, WSMV-4, “Taylor’s background also includes charges for vehicle theft, robbery, handgun possession and multiple aggravated assault charges. One affidavit … said he shoved a man to the ground .. back in 2015 before stealing money from him. Taylor’s most recent aggravated assault charge was in May of this year, but the District Attorney’s Office did not prosecute.”
This is not someone who only broke the law once or twice. This is a repeat offender. A repeat violent offender. Tennessee’s News Channel 5 took a closer look into why exactly he was allowed back on the street. Watch:
So the doctor says Shaquille Taylor denied having any “homicidal ideation” or “plan to harm jail staff or other inmates.” He tried to kill someone. He shot at her. But when they asked him if he had “homicidal ideations” he said no, and that was good enough to effectively exonerate him. This is how the system works now, apparently. To call it outrageous would be a vast understatement.
You’ve heard some excerpts from the doctors’ reports that Judge Dalton relied on. Here’s one of them, in more detail. Doctor Mary Elizabeth Wood, in a forensic report submitted for the case, declared that, “In my opinion, Mr. Taylor does not possess adjudicative competence due to his intellectual disability and language impairment. … He understands the allegations and recognizes that his liberty interests as the accused are at risk. He was easily confused with basic questions. There was limited ability to provide his attorney with relevant information about his case.”
Poor guy. He’s confused. He doesn’t understand that he should not shoot at a woman and her children. So let’s just release him back on the street, where he can shoot at more people. We’re led to believe that Judge Dalton had no choice but to accept this kind of utterly insane conclusion. This guy — who just committed attempted murder — understands the accusations against him, but because he can’t grasp some basic questions, needs to be released. There’s just no other option, we’re told.
That’s the official line, but it doesn’t appear to be true. A year ago, a forensic psychologist at Vanderbilt gave an interview with News Channel 5 in Nashville. In the interview, the psychologist — a woman named Kimberly Brown — explained the legal standards involved in decisions about competency and how the Judge ultimately decides whether someone is competent or not. Watch:
That makes a little more sense. According to this psychologist, the medical experts give their opinions about whether a defendant is competent or not to stand trial. And, although it’s not stated in that clip, those same medical experts also make a determination about whether or not the defendant poses a risk to the community. But ultimately, those medical experts do not dictate what the judge can do. Judges, under the law in the state of Tennessee, have some discretion.
Could that be related to the problem here? Let’s see. Judges in Nashville — like judges in so many other urban centers — happen to be committed Leftists who are mainly interested in equity. Dalton is no exception. As I mentioned, she’s a Democrat. She also recently headlined events about “empowering women” and increasing “diversity” in the profession. And, as it turns out, her ruling on Shaquille Taylor isn’t remotely consistent with the rulings of other judges who have accepted guilty pleas from him. Watch:
Did you catch that? If you pull up Taylor’s rap sheet, which dates back to 2015, you’ll find that he’s pled guilty to several serious felonies — including assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Both of those felonies were adjudicated back in 2016. Judge Dalton was not the judge in either of those cases. As far as I can tell from public records, one of those cases was handled by Judge Samuel Coleman, and the other was handled by Judge Casey Moreland — both of those judges are Democrats as well — but in neither of those cases was Taylor determined to be incapacitated. His guilty plea took effect. To be clear, Taylor was supposedly disabled from birth, due to an infection when he was born. So there’s no conceivable reason to think that he suddenly developed a disability in 2023, that he didn’t have in 2016.
The only possible way to explain this discrepancy is that the standard that’s operative in these cases is subjective to the point of incoherence. Therefore, criminals like Shaquille Taylor can go in front of some Leftist judge who cares about equity, and they can get out of jail with no punishment, even while other judges have already determined that he is competent enough to accept guilty pleas multiple times during his lengthy career as a criminal.
Speaking of that career, just a few weeks ago, on September 21st, Taylor was arrested in a grocery store parking lot driving a Ford-150 that had been carjacked a couple days earlier. Prosecutors charged him with felony auto theft, but then a judge let him out of jail on just $20,000 bond. This is after he shot at the mother in her car, and after he was caught in the stolen F-150. Of course, Taylor then missed his court appearance, and went on to kill a college freshman. The point here is that they system didn’t just let Taylor slip through the cracks. No, the system went out of its way, again and again and again, to ensure that this violent scumbag got back onto the streets as quickly as possible.
Unsurprisingly, given these consistent failures of Left-wing judges to apply the law in a reasonable and just way that values public safety, lawmakers are now suggesting they’re going to change the law. But they’re not being very clear about how they’re going to do that. It’s been suggested, for example, that we should flag “incompetent” people on background checks when they go to buy guns at the store, but that really won’t solve anything. Neither is making sure they have “supervision” and “mental health care,” which has also been proposed.
When incompetent people shoot at women in their cars with their kids, then they need to be removed from society. Period. Violent, dangerous people must be taken out of our communities and not returned to them. That is the only solution, there is no other. This is why we used to have insane asylums and should bring them back in a big way. But whether a guy like Shaquille Taylor goes to prison or an asylum (frankly I don’t care which), he cannot be allowed to endanger innocent, law-abiding, contributing members of society.
What we are learning here, as everyone should realize by now, is that “compassion” for criminals is a zero sum game. Compassion for them means cruelty to normal, law-abiding citizens. I will say that again because it is important to understand: compassion for criminals is cruelty to the community. See someone has to lose, ultimately. Either the criminal gets a harsh punishment or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, then most of the time that will mean a harsh punishment for some innocent third party that had nothing to do with anything. Jillian Ludwig died because the system prioritized Shaquille Taylor over Jillian Ludwig. It chose him over her. Now she is dead and he is alive.
Compassion for Shaquille Taylor was cruelty to Jillian Ludwig and her family. The system didn’t want to do the ugly, brutal thing which was to remove Taylor from society permanently, whether he understood or not, whether he was competent or not, whether he had a brain infection or not. And because it did not want to do that ugly, brutal thing, instead we end up with this much uglier, much more brutal thing. We end up with a promising young woman lying dead on the sidewalk with a hole in her skull. This is the choice. Either punish the guilty or punish the innocent. You must choose one. To refuse the first option is to choose the second. It’s that simple.
Of course this isn’t just happening in Nashville, it’s happening in every major city. We are trading the lives of decent, normal, productive people for the absolute dregs of humanity. Ludwig was a beautiful young lady, a musician, by all accounts a loving daughter and sister — the sort of person you want to have in your community. Shaquille Taylor is the sort of person nobody wants in their community. He contributes nothing, produces nothing, helps no one, and is nothing but a strain on everything and everyone around him. Objectively speaking, the world would be better off if he was not in it. And yet he is still here and Jillian Ludwig is gone. That was the trade. It is an explicit, deliberate trade. Swapping out the best people for the worst.
This is what we’re doing in cities all over this country. It has to stop. We cannot go on this way.