Governor Greg Abbott Pardons Daniel Perry

To be sure, I don't blame a man for taking a rifle into the street and attempting to impose his will on the world.

Governor Greg Abbott Pardons Daniel Perry

Reader: This article is divided into two main sections. The first half summarizes the simple facts of the story, and the second half is opinion.

Summary of Events:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday pardoned Daniel Perry, a former US Army sergeant convicted of murdering a protester during a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020. Perry, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, was granted a full pardon and the restoration of his firearm rights by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board's unanimous recommendation followed an investigation into Perry's case, reviewing police reports, court records, witness statements, and interviews with individuals involved.

The case revolves around the fatal shooting of Garrett Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran, at a BLM event in Austin, Texas. The shooting occurred two months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which had sparked nationwide riots. Perry, who was driving for Uber at the time, encountered the protest crowd – which was in the road – and ended up shooting Foster. Accounts of the event differ significantly between the prosecution and defense.

Garrett Foster (L) and his girlfriend

According to Austin police, Perry honked at the protesters and drove his car into the crowd. Foster, who was open carrying an AK-pattern rifle, approached Perry's vehicle. The defense argued that Foster raised his weapon towards Perry, prompting Perry to shoot in self-defense. Perry then fled the scene but later called the police to report the incident, claiming he acted out of fear for his life.

Before being killed, Foster said in an interview, "I think all the people that hate us, and, you know, want to say shit to us, are too big of pussies to stop and actually do anything about it."

Garrett Foster interview before being shot to death by Daniel Perry. The video also shows an angle of the shooting.

The case caused widespread controversy on social media and gained significant attention from conservative figures, including former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi. They argued that Perry's actions were a legitimate act of self-defense amid dangerous protests. Their pressure on Abbott contributed to his decision to direct the parole board to review the case promptly.

Perry's conviction and subsequent pardon have sparked major debate. Supporters of Perry argue that he was defending himself under Texas' "Stand Your Ground" laws, which allow individuals to use deadly force if they believe their life is in danger. Governor Abbott emphasized this point in his statement, asserting that Texas' self-defense laws are among the strongest in the nation and should not be overridden by a jury or a progressive district attorney.

However, the decision to pardon Perry has also faced substantial criticism. Unsealed court documents revealed that Perry had made several racially toned and nominally threatening comments about protesters in text messages and social media posts. These messages, including one where Perry expressed a desire to "shoot looters" following George Floyd's death, have cast doubt on his claims of self-defense. During the trial, several of Perry's Army colleagues testified that he treated everyone fairly regardless of race, with his lawyers dismissing the social media posts as "barracks humor."


I think the pardon is good.

If an armed group of left-wing activists can make the rules about when or how civilians can or cannot drive their cars down a public street, then armed groups of left-wing activists are – by default – the ones who make the rules. That's not the world I want to live in (and it's dangerously close to describing the world we do live in), and so I'm not opposed to Governor Abbott's pardon of Daniel Perry.

America really lost its way after the squishing of George Floyd. We were all told that unchecked looting was a good thing ("the voices of the unheard"), that BLM riots were somehow not a COVID risk but that attending Church was, and that riots were "fiery but mostly peaceful." George Floyd got three funerals and a golden casket; we couldn't have funerals for our own family members.

And so, to me, it's hard to care when a rideshare driver gets pardoned for killing a BLM guy who was in the street with an AK-47.

In fact, I am of the belief that – left, right, or center – if a man holding an AK-47 tries to stop another from driving down a public road because the driver is not showing enough deference to whichever specific little group of political activists the armed man is associated with, the driver should be able to simply shoot his way clear and keep moving.

This dynamic is well understood historically. "Live by the sword, die by the sword" is derived from the Book of Matthew. It's not a new concept.

To be sure, I don't blame a man for taking a rifle into the street and attempting to impose his will on the world. When things get far enough out of hand, this behavior is to be expected. You can't stop it; it's a man's prerogative. But – when you do bring out the iron – you are voluntarily accepting the risk of getting sprayed down by an Uber driver in front of your horrified girlfriend.

And this isn't a personal judgment against the deceased. Much of what I've read online about Garrett Foster says he was a stand-up guy. I didn't know the man. My gut tells me that Mr. Foster was probably a nice enough guy who hadn't matured past his lolbert phase. I don't think it's good that he's dead, and I don't think it's good for young men in Austin to have their lives ended or permanently made worse because a felon in Minneapolis tried to steal a meth banana and fight a cop.

I also realize there are hotly contested details of the shooting. I think the only two people who can definitively say what happened that night are Garrett Foster and Daniel Perry, and Garrett Foster is dead. I'm not particularly interested in the semantic details of what angle Foster's AK was at or whether Perry had sent racist memes before the shooting. I think that's all beside the point.

This case is emblematic of a very important social question – whether or not civilians have a meaningful ability to protect themselves from armed unrest when the police have surrendered the field. In my assessment, this specific case is not about George Floyd, racial justice, police brutality, or anything else. It's about whether or not a person, in the eyes of the law, has a bona fide obligation to obey the dictates of roving bands of stinky communists and Foot Locker pop-up sale enthusiasts. I don't believe free men have such an obligation; Greg Abbott also seems to hold this view.

BLM destroyed huge swaths of American cities, starting fires, killing people, and looting business after business. The police largely stood by as onlookers, only stepping in to make sure nobody opposed the rioters.

We don't have to live this way. And we shouldn't. People are tired of it—or at least, I'm tired of it. Abbott's pardon of Daniel Perry is hopefully an indicator that we can have a little bit—just a crumb—of sanity (as a treat).