“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah went on his national television show and scolded the National Rifle Association, the nation’s foremost gun rights lobbying group, for its silence since jurors acquitted the police officer who last July fatally shot Philando Castile, a black gun owner with a permit to carry his weapon in public.
“This is one group you would expect to be losing their … minds about this: the NRA,” Noah said in the three-minute segment that aired Monday night on Comedy Central. Noah emphasized that Castile was lawfully armed and curried no favor with the NRA because of his race. “But for some strange reason, on this particular case, they’ve been completely silent. Completely silent.”
Two days after Castile was killed, the NRA did post a statement online emphasizing that it “supports the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for defense regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. The reports from Minnesota are troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. It is important for the NRA not to comment while the investigation is ongoing. Rest assured, the NRA will have more to say once all the facts are known.”
The NRA has yet to break its silence on the case. Officials did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
When police officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled over the car in Falcon Heights with Castile, his girlfriend and her daughter inside, Castile calmly acknowledged having a firearm. He also had a permit to carry his weapon at the time. He did not disclose that fact to the officer.
In his commentary, Noah showed a video clip of NRA chief Wayne LaPierre speaking to a conservative gathering declaring that “the right to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want” was the greatest right of all.
“Unless you’re black is what he should have said,” Noah said at the clip’s conclusion. “It’s interesting how the people who define themselves by one fundamental American right — the right to bear arms — show that once race is involved, the only right that they believe in is their right to remain silent.”
In its first several hours on Facebook, Noah’s perspective on the verdict had been viewed more than 1.3 million times, shared more than 43,000 times and attracted roughly 1,400 comments.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482