"The system killed my brother" - What is he talking about?

The quote in the title was stated by the brother of James Davis, the New York City city councilman who was shot and killed last week in the council chamber.

What “system” is he referring to? What does he mean by this?

Zev Steinhardt

It’s hard to say, but my WAG would be that he meant the system failed to protect him, because the institutionalized courtesy extended to participants in the political process allowed the shooter to bypass the extensive security which is supposed to prevent people from bringing weapons into the building.

Of course, one might as well say that Mr. Davis killed himself, in that case, but I for one am willing to allow a grieving person to engage in a bit of hyperbole.

Davis knew the shooter - hadn’t they been connected in some way? Perhaps that had something to do with it.

Well, the Reuters story here:


has Mr. Davis saying,

So, he might be saying that security was laxer in this case than usual, thereby leading to Councilman Davis’s death, because the councilman was an outspoken critic of NYC politics.

Maybe, but consider the fact that the gunman came into the chamber with Davis. Davis allowed the gunman to evade security. I’m certain that if Davis insisted on the gunman going through security, the guards would have made him do so.

Zev Steinhardt

Well, so much for my benefit-of-the-doubt-- the man has clearly got some sort of paranoid conspiracy plot in mind.

As I understand it, on the day of the shooting, Askew told the FBI that Davis offered him a substantial bribe to stay out of the election, and threatened to harm his family if he didn’t accept it. Those claims sound unlikely to me, and I would bet that Askew was delusional. (I don’t know much about NYC politics, but I would hope that someone who figured they had a reasonable chance in an election in spite of their stalking conviction and charges of assaulting a lover with a hammer would be considered delusional by default.)

Maybe the brother perceives Mr. Davis’ death as the martyrdom of an idealist because it’s somehow less painful than thinking of it as senseless and ultimately meaningless act of violence perpetrated by someone who was out of their mind?

Eeek. From the Reuters story-

*"Askew, 31, had arrived at City Hall as Davis’ guest and so did not have to pass through metal detectors, Bloomberg told a news briefing.
At the time of the shooting, Davis, a former police officer, was carrying a gun himself but did not have time to use it in his defense. …

Davis, a black politician and church minister from Brooklyn, was a retired New York police officer and a former Rikers Island jail guard. "*

You would think that this guy would have better radar. And it sounds like they were at least civilized, if not friendly.

I’m so sorry Mr. Davis, but “the system” didn’t kill your brother. A crazy man did.