By Nick Arama | RedState
Eighteen-year-old Cayler Ellingson was hit and killed by a man driving a car in McHenry, North Dakota.
Now, that’s a horrible story, but the initial facts coming out on the case make it even more troubling: It wasn’t an accident.
Ellingson had been out at a street dance when he called his mother to rescue him, because he said he was being chased by 41-year-old Shannon Brandt. But by the time she reached him, Cayler was dead. What Brandt allegedly admitted about the killing was chilling.
“He was the one who called 911 to report the crash,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind.
Court papers show Brandt called 911 around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and told the 911 dispatcher that he just hit Ellingson, claiming the teen was part of a Republican extremist group and was calling people to come get Brandt after a political argument.
Ellingson’s mom told police her son called her just before the crash, asking if she knew Brandt, which she does. She does not believe her son knew him.
“We are still trying to determine what, exactly, transpired at the time of crash and prior to that as well,” explained Niewind.
Police say Brandt was drunk when he hit and killed Ellingson with his SUV in an alleyway.
Court papers called it a “politically motivated attack.”
Brandt was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly accident. He could get a minimum of 10 years for that charge, because he has a prior DUI–the maximum is 20 years–but the police said that the investigation was ongoing and more serious charges might be recommended.
Brandt objected to setting the bail at $50,000, claiming he wasn’t a flight risk, but considering the charge, that’s pretty low already.
A family friend of the Ellingsons has set up a GoFundMe for the family.
It’s early and we don’t know all the facts yet. But what we know so far has to be concerning, when you have someone killed like this, particularly when it comes in the wake of Joe Biden demonizing millions of Republican Americans as extremists. We said what a danger it was, from the moment Biden gave his nationwide address, that he was inciting people. It gives people who are on the edge a push to act on their baser instincts. Liberal media including MSNBC added to that by saying that all Republicans were a “threat to democracy,” they were “evil,” and “we are at war.” I don’t know if that influenced Brandt here, although the use of “Republican extremist group” certainly sounds like it’s parroting Joe Biden. But I do know that Biden’s words have been inciting all kinds of attacks on Republicans on social media, and it’s out of control.
“I have a job, a life and a house and things I don’t want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me,” Brandt told the judge. I’m thinking that 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson had those things as well — until Brandt allegedly took them away from him allegedly because of politics.
Take Joe Biden’s Speech Seriously
By Daniel Henninger | The Wall Street Journal
President Biden speaks at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Sept. 1.- PHOTO: RICKY FITCHETT/ZUMA PRESS
The MAGA attacks raise the issue of using state power to silence opponents.
It is a big advantage for Joe Biden that no one takes him seriously. He spent Labor Day continuing to express animosity toward “MAGA Republicans,” and one’s instinct is to write this off as Joe rousing his party’s base for the midterm elections. It’s much more than that.
This isn’t just Joe or a blowhard Senate majority leader’s pro forma raking of the other side. No matter how feckless one thinks the occupant of the White House is, an American head of state has extraordinary powers to intimidate, investigate and, if desired, prosecute. The power of this office is incomparable. It is a mistake not to take Mr. Biden’s MAGA speeches seriously, no matter how intemperate.
The day after his dark speech in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden attempted a distinction, saying, “I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country,” and suggesting he was referring only to those who condone political violence. This is disingenuous. He is obviously casting a wide net.
Millions of quite-normal Americans, who wouldn’t be caught dead invading the U.S. Capitol, consider themselves MAGA Republicans, which in broad terms means they align to some degree with Donald Trump’s policies and opinions while he was president. Mr. Biden can’t use this phrase and insist he is talking only about a minority within the Republican party or American conservatism.
The president’s continued assaults on MAGA Republicans should be properly seen as an attempt both to marginalize the opposition and to intimidate it into submission and silence. The implicit threat in Mr. Biden’s thought-out aggression is that the legal and investigative powers of the state may be deployed against disfavored beliefs.
One of the most significant episodes in the use of state power to intimidate private citizens’ political behavior was the Internal Revenue Service’s investigation during Barack Obama’s first term of small tea-party groups, which organized around the goal of controlling federal spending. Some threat that was.
The IRS’s investigations of 501(c)(4) groups and delays in approving their tax status made a household name out of Lois Lerner, head of the agency’s tax-exempt groups unit. That federal offensive chilled the tea-party movement. With their just passed legislative “victory,” the Democrats and Mr. Biden are creating an army of IRS auditors.
Last October, Mr. Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, issued an extraordinary order directing the FBI and U.S. attorneys to investigate “threats of violence” against school administrators and teachers. The order was directly related to parent protests over racial and gender issues in school curriculums in Loudoun County, Va.
Mr. Garland told Congress it wasn’t his intention to intimidate parents. That, too, was disingenuous. A warning shot was sent. How many parents want to risk getting entangled with FBI agents or federal prosecutors?
Much of the Democratic Party elite believes out loud that the Republican Party is totally Trumpian and should be suppressed. “The basket of deplorables” wasn’t an idea unique to Hillary Clinton. Any president presides over a government filled with loyalists, and these appointees gain access to the investigative powers of the federal state.
Mr. Biden is entitled to be peeved at the former president’s quixotic attempts to reverse the 2020 election. But by enlarging his complaint to the MAGA Republicans as a “threat to our democracy,” he is dog-whistling the Lois Lerners in his government’s enforcement agencies that the “Trumpies” are fair game.
In the private sector, the tactic of message-sending came to be known as cancel culture. Corporations, colleges and cultural organizations have exploited the same mismatch between their institutional power and the limited resources of individuals. After someone’s deviation from the new norms, it always begins with official inquiries, with investigations. It nearly always ends with social ostracism and silence.
As to the whatabout Trump issue, Mr. Biden’s MAGA speeches pointedly fail to mention that Govs. Brian Kemp, Doug Ducey, Larry Hogan and numerous other Republicans have opposed Mr. Trump’s election theories, at some political risk. What Democrat in the past two years has spoken against the politicized violence that erupted in cities across the U.S. in the summer of 2020?
Mr. Biden’s rants about restoring limits on political behavior would have a smidgen of respectability if he criticized any of his own, such as the mobs that paraded in front of the homes of all six Republican-nominated Supreme Court justices, an obvious attempt to influence them and thus a violation of federal law. His attorney general did nothing, even after a man was arrested for allegedly trying to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In other words, the president was OK with this show of intimidation.
The siren song of using state power against opponents tempts all politicians, and that includes in a “democracy,” a word Mr. Biden invokes almost as often as MAGA. Mr. Biden achieved his goal of becoming president of the U.S. His MAGA speeches carry an undercurrent of threat inappropriate to his office. He should stop.