The Big Mad: Ann's Terrible Takes, Parson's Rodent Reasoning and Another Cop Skates

click to enlarge Rep. Ann Wagner has found her Twitter voice. - GAGE SKIDMORE/FLICKR
Rep. Ann Wagner has found her Twitter voice.

Welcome back to the Big Mad, the RFT’s weekly roundup of righteous rage! Because we know your time is short and your anger is white-hot:

Worst BBQ Ever: A year ago, those of us lucky enough not to live in a particular gated enclave of the Central West End (or to be a doomed nearby beehive) were blessedly unaware of Mark and Patricia McCloskey. Honestly, we didn’t even know such caricatures of entitlement, white fragility and gun lust even existed before they grabbed their guns and waddled into our collective consciousness. Now, Mark is following the new Republican playbook of recasting awful, reckless behavior as something to be celebrated as a measure of patriotism by marking the anniversary of what should have been his most humiliating evening with a political fundraiser for his Senate campaign. The “Pink Shirt Guy BBQ & RINO Roast” (actual name) is to include a speech by Gen. Michael Flynn, yet another figure who’d better serve this country by crawling into the shadows. We’d like to think the stunt-based, political-trolling-as-a-platform approach to campaigning is still the kind of thing that would get laughed out of town by Midwesterners who once prided themselves on being able to spot obvious bullshit, but we’ve got too much evidence to the contrary. Whatever. Maybe McCloskey just wants Flynn’s advice on the easiest path to a pardon.

Punxsutawney Parson: Ol’ Mike Parson is really living these days. Did you see the way his dumb chipmunk face lit up when he got to sign the “Second Amendment Preservation Act” at a gun range over the weekend? That was the look of a happy gopher telling the feds they can shove their gun laws, because people right here in Missouri know what’s best for Missouri. (To wit, ensuring domestic abusers keep their weapons.) And then this adorable little woodchuck turned around and backed legislation to restrict local governments’ power to issue their own public health orders after places like St. Louis tried to slow COVID-19. Now, claiming that locals know best when it comes to federal gun laws and then saying that locals know shit when it comes to public health may seem contradictory. But you’re thinking like a reasonable human, not a goddamn squirrel.

Socially Soulless: If you haven’t noticed, Congresswoman Ann Wagner is all over Twitter these days. Her emergence as a bulk distributor of terrible takes at the same time that Sen. Roy Blunt is shuffling toward the exits is surely a coincidence, and we’re not even sure why we’re mentioning the two together. Weirdly, the contest to replace Blunt has rocketed into new levels of fuckery, with Mark McCloskey and Eric Greitens closing in on a full bingo scorecard of GOP scare terms. Again, this has nothing to do with Wagner suddenly spraying Twitter with Trump affirmations and random Bible quotes. And when she tweeted last week, in the middle of Pride month, that “Biological men should not be allowed to play in women’s sports. Period,” she was surely just scraping the lining of her own empty soul cavity to say what has been on her mind. Because even a career politician whose black heart only beats for a senate seat would never so nakedly, so cravenly turn to transphobia just for an outside shot to misrepresent Missouri in the Senate. But, weirdly, we can’t think of any other reason.

Swing Away: With a sickening thud, the August 14, 2017, video showed the moment then-St. Louis police officer Adam Feaman swung a flashlight into the face of Jamal White. The incident led to the officer’s termination and criminal charges for assault, but this month, it took a judge just fourteen pages to conclude that Feaman was justified in twice slamming the metal tool onto the head of the unarmed 27-year-old and breaking his jaw. In the June 8 ruling from Circuit Judge Elizabeth Hogan, she devotes long paragraphs to describing how White yelled at police as they prepared to have his car towed that night. White was angry, and Feaman threatened to arrest him if he returned to the area, but although White chose to defy those orders, he never made any attempt to do more than swear at the police. White was backing away as Feaman charged, a flashlight in the cop’s right hand. Absent a physical threat, White’s presence itself became “resisting arrest” and, in Hogan’s ruling, that justification allowed Feaman to unleash his attack — as well as a second blow, delivered one second later, as White lifted his head from the pavement. To anyone who watches the video of a man being beaten in the back of the head, it is a brutal example of a needless power trip. To Hogan, writing her acquittal, it was just “physical force [Feaman] reasonably believed necessary to effect the arrest.” Justice might really be blind.
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About The Authors

Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill is editor at large for the Riverfront Times and he demands to be taken seriously, despite all evidence to the contrary. Follow him on Twitter at @rftmusic.
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