Online idiocy takes over a small-town tragedy
MINOT, N.D. — In the early hours of Sunday, Sept.18, a 41-year-old man named Shannon Brandt allegedly ran over 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.
Ellingson is dead. Brandt has been charged with vehicular homicide .
The story, as tragic and sad as it is, would have been nothing more than a regional headline but for a claim Brandt made to law enforcement about an altercation with Ellingson.
“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,” our Matt Henson reports .
That statement quickly became more fodder for the dumpster fire that represents our national political move. Many, particularly the right, seized on the comments as a way to shoehorn Ellingson’s death into some larger narrative.