A prayer vigil intended to honor the lives of three Black victims of a racially motivated shooting turned into tension and criticism as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faced heckling from attendees. Here’s what happened.
Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jarrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, lost their lives in a tragic incident that rocked Jacksonville, Florida.
The shooter, 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, armed himself with a handgun and an AR-15 rifle before carrying out the attack, fueled by racism and hate.
Palmeter’s horrifying act was preceded by disturbing manifestations of his hatred, including racist manifestos and swastikas on his weapon.
During a speech at the prayer vigil, Governor DeSantis condemned the violence. They expressed the state’s commitment to combating hate and prejudice.
“We Are Going To Stand Up and We Are Going To Do What We Need To Do To Make Sure That Evil Does Not Triumph in the State of Florida”
“The fact of the matter is, you know, you had a major league scumbag come from Clay County up here, and what he did, what he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
“We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race. We are going to stand up and we are going to do what we need to do to make sure that evil does not triumph in the state of Florida,” he added.
However, as DeSantis spoke, some attendees in the crowd couldn’t contain their frustration and disappointment.
Heckling comments, such as “You’re not welcome here” and “Your policies caused this!” disrupted the atmosphere of the vigil.
“DeSantis Has Been Loud and Consistent With His WAR ON WOKE”
A clip of the crowd’s reaction circulated on social media, leading to divided reactions among viewers.
Critics of DeSantis condemned his words and demeanor during the speech, finding his initial comment of “thank you for having this” at odds with the gravity of the occasion.
“He starts – at a vigil – with ‘thank you for having this’?! He truly has no people skills,” one user wrote, while another added, “DeSantis has been loud and consistent with his WAR ON WOKE, which includes removing African-American studies as a legitimate field of study.”
Insensitive, Discriminatory, and Racist
These critics pointed out that DeSantis had been known for supporting policies they viewed as insensitive, discriminatory, and racist.
One Twitter user wrote, “Excellent and appropriate response. He should be booed everywhere.”
Another user commented, “I hope Ron DeSantis gets booed everywhere he goes for the rest of his life.”
“A Vivid Reminder That Our Work in the Vanguard for Social Justice in America Continues”
DeSantis has previously faced criticism for his stance on guns and his positions on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.
Reuben A. Shelton III, leader of Kappa Alpha Psi, one of the oldest Black fraternities in the country, said, “[His] Efforts to erase Black history by eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion programs and Advanced Placement African American studies courses in Florida schools, is a vivid reminder that our work in the vanguard for social justice in America continues.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Hunter Crenian. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: OK Magazine