Angry White Man Willing to Kill Over Face Mask
Bethlehem (PA) – Friday, July 31, Adam Zaborowski went into a cigar store to buy some cigars. When he was told by the employee that he could not be in the store without a mask, Zaborowski became incensed, grabbed two cigars and left without paying for them. The employee followed Zaborowski outside asking for the cigars back, at which point Zaborowski took a semiautomatic handgun out of his truck, fired one shot in the air and two shots at the employee. The employee was not injured in the confrontation. Zaborowski left the area in his vehicle.
None of the articles I’ve read have said how law enforcement knew who this man was. Since the encounter was caught on video I suspect that they were able to read the license plate on his truck and then confirm a photo of the owner with the employee, but that’s just a guess.
Police Go to Arrest Zaborowski
Once police determined Zaborowski’s identity they planned on how they would arrest him. Both the Slatington Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police were involved in the planned arrest. They went to Zaborowski’s house on Saturday but arrived as he was getting into his vehicle and driving off. Officers made a vehicle stop to arrest Zaborowski. That’s when he fired on the officers. Officers fired back hitting Zaborowski. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. One Slatington police officer’s arm was hit by bullet fragments. According to 3 CBS Philly, “Zaborowski faces charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault and robbery. According to officials, due to prior offenses, he was also charged with persons prohibited to possess a firearm.”
You can see the Pennsylvanis State Police press release here.
Difference in Treatment by Police
This incident is a stark reminder of why people are upset. A White man shoots at police officers and does get shot but he is not killed. The injuries are non-life threatening. If they can do that with White men, why don’t they seem to be able to do it with minorities? I think of Zaborowski’s arrest as compared to the killing of Willie McCoy, a Black man. Mr. McCoy fell asleep in his vehicle in a drive thru. Officers said he had a weapon and was reaching for it so they shot at him 55 times in 3 1/2 seconds. McCoy never once returned fire. He didn’t even bring the weapon up into a firing position. The police investigation decided this was a reasonable response.
Then there’s the killing of Andres Guardado, an Hispanic male. He was just standing on the sidewalk talking to two women when police pulled up and came after him. According to police, he “produced a handgun.” What does that even mean? Did he aim it at them? You would think they would have said so if he had. His family said he didn’t own a gun and witnesses say he was on his knees with his hands up in the air when he was shot in the back. We don’t know because police confiscated all video recordings even before they got a warrant for them.
Difference in Treatment by the Press
In both the McCoy and Guardado cases, media wrote their headlines just telling what happened. “Fired 55 times…” and “…shot five times in the back…” Those are typical of the headlines on these two stories. There are some headlines that include an incredulous tone at what the police did but compare that to what some headlines looked like for Zaborowski. Here’s the Washingont Post headline, ‘Not handling the pandemic well’: Man fires at officers with AK-47 after refusing to wear a mask, police say. Yes, they’re quoting someone but they chose to put that quote in their headline. Here’s the Lehigh Valley Live headline, Pandemic stress contributed to suspect’s shootout with 7 cops, lawyer says.
They are already making excuses for this man’s criminal behavior. Poor White man, he was so stressed by the pandemic. Aren’t we all? He lost his job. So have 50 million other people. By leading with excuses they put that at the front of the readers’ minds.
This is what is meant by systemic racism. We cannot blame just the police because they are far from being the only ones displaying racism. We can’t even say that it’s different for police because they can kill people. A lot of other things can kill people too such as environmental racism, it’s just not as obvious. Police officers have been taking the brunt of the public’s anger, and the public is valid in its anger, but the problem is bigger than just the police and we fix nothing if we don’t address the systemic aspect of our racism problem.