‘IT’S JUST BURNING’

The Real Collusion Isn’t With Russia—It’s With the NRA

An ambulance carrying a dying child who knew right from wrong passes within sight of the Capitol dome, where too many do not know the difference.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Ten-year-old Makiyah Wilson was just back from the neighborhood pool. Her mother had given her money for the ice cream man, and she was stepping out the front door with the bill in hand when gunfire again erupted in the nation’s capital.

Four gunmen—three all in black and one in a white hoodie—had pulled up in a black Infiniti and leapt out at around 8 p.m. on Monday, firing as many as 70 shots indiscriminately in all directions. Makiyah fell with a bullet in her chest.

As the gunmen hopped back in and sped away, Makiyah’s mother, Donnetta Wilson, rushed outside and took her bleeding daughter in her arms. Makiyah was a child so good that her impulse was to comfort her screaming mother.

“Mommy, calm down, it’s just burning,” Makiyah was heard to say. “Mommy, calm down, it’s just burning.”

The mother’s cries filled the summer night across town from the Capitol and the White House.

“Please don’t let my baby die! Please don’t let my baby die! Please don’t let my baby die!”

Makiyah was rushed by ambulance to Children’s National Medical Center, the shortest route coming within 20 blocks of the primary seats of our democracy. The doctors there have considerable experience with treating shot kids, but Makiyah proved to be beyond saving.

“That’s my daughter. She was only 10 years old. She was so precious,” Donetta Wilson later told reporters.

The mother also said, “The pain that I’m going through, this is never going to be OK. Never in life. That’s my baby.”

Makiyah had been proceeding from the fourth to the fifth grade at D.C. Scholars Public Charter School. The principal, Jessica Hiltabidel, spoke to The Washington Post and recalled a girl with so much energy she would go down the hallway singing and skipping. Hiltabidel said Makiyah loved dance and music and basketball, and reading, reading, reading. She would hang behind on field trips with more questions to ask as the others proceeded on.

Hers was a special and sparkling spirit that was in perfect keeping with the princess crown she wears along with a bright pink top and a pink and neon green tutu in a video from her birthday earlier this summer.  

“Let’s take this so when you get older we can show the world what you looked like,” her grandmother can be heard saying.

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One jarring detail is the bright pink water pistol that Makiyah takes up in her right hand, raising the muzzle to squirt some into her open mouth. Real guns seen in another video—surveillance camera footage of the shooting—had now robbed her of any more birthdays to come. She will get no older.

Makiyah’s 18-year-old sister had been shot in the arm and was treated and released, as was another victim. A fourth victim’s jaw had been shot away, and he was taken in critical condition to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

The other patients at Shock Trauma included 7-year-old Taylor Hayes of Baltimore, who had been hit by an errant bullet as she rode in the back of a car driven by a relative on July 5. She remained in critical condition as the medical team continued into a second week of a desperate effort to save her life. They lost the fight on Thursday.

Taylor had been proceeding from the second to third grade at Robert Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore. She had earned a nickname of distinction there two years before.

“We used to call her the little mother of the first-grade class,” Principal Carlillian Thompson told The Daily Beast.

Then just 6, Taylor would remind her classmates to respect each other and keep their hands to themselves and let others speak without interrupting and allow everyone a turn and generally observe the tenets of decency.

“But not in a bossy way,” Thompson noted.

This year, the 7-year-old Taylor became the little mother of the second-grade class, her sense of right and wrong continuing to adhere to tenets such as are too often ignored even by the people who should be setting an example for all of us, the titular adults of highest office in the nation’s capital 50 miles to the south.

Down in another part of Washington, police had recovered the black Infiniti used in Monday night’s shooting. The hunt continued for the four gunmen.

"Cowards showed up on our streets in D.C. and used illegal firearms to murder a young, precious little girl," said Police Asst. Chief Chanel Dickerson.

As cited by The Washington Post and reported by the police, homicides in the District of Columbia are up 46 percent compared to the same period last year. Guns were employed in 91 percent of this year’s killings.

Yet even as the carnage has escalated in the nation’s capital, the NRA has continued to wield such influence in the Trump administration and in Congress that it has been a primary target of Russian infiltration. The court papers charging Maria Butina with being a Russian agent cite an email in which she says the NRA is “the largest sponsor of the elections to the US congress.”

The Russians recognize the real big-time collusion. Get in with the NRA and you get in with the GOP!

Whether or not there was collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, there most definitely has been collusion between the NRA and Trump, along with his supporters in Congress.

Thanks to this persisting collusion, the NRA continues to prevent meaningful gun safety measures. Maniacs with assault rifles unleash mass shooting after mass shooting. Thugs with illegal handguns claim innocent lives by the thousands, including a 7-year-old in Baltimore who had been known as the little mother of the first grade and taught simple decency such as much of official Washington needs to learn.  

And the gun homicide rate in Washington, D.C., soars. An ambulance carrying a dying child passes within sight of the Capitol dome.

The 10-year-old fighting for her life on the gurney inside had been in the midst of an all-American kid’s summertime dream: Just back from the pool, see the ice cream truck and hurry inside to ask mom for money, dash back out with it in hand.

Then four handguns roared, and we lost a youngster so profoundly good that she sought to comfort her mother as she herself was dying from a bullet wound to the chest.

Compare such a child to the president who lives across town, colluding with a shill for the gun industry as he thinks first, foremost, and only about himself.