In the video below of Cory Booker addressing the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy in 2010, the mayor recounts how his father’s stories get better (or worse, depending on the point of the story) the more often he told them.
Good story telling to make a point, or move an audience or teach a lesson, either in a conference room, college graduation, church or family dinner table, is a trait Booker apparently inherited from his father.
At the 14 minute mark of the video, Booker tells the story of “the lowest point” of his life. Wazn Miller’s murder in 2004.
In the version of the story told at ACS, Miller doesn’t die in Booker’s arms.
Booker gave basically the same talk at NYU Law in October of 2010. In that version, Booker was present when Miller died. He starts the Miller story at the 6:30 mark and speaks of the death at the 8 minute mark.
National Review has a transcript of Booker delivering the talk at Yale in 2007:
It was during this time that I felt I probably reached one of the lowest points of my life, the nadir, when I was growing frustrated, when I was having a tough time holding on to that which has sustained our nation, our ideal for ourselves and the love which I’ve talked about. I was walking around, it was actually the week of my birthday, and I was walking around my neighborhood and gunshots rang out and I turned around towards the gunfire. It was echoing like cannon fire between a set of projects, and a whole bunch of children were running down a hill, and I sprinted through the kids towards the gunfire that seemed to be still ringing in my ears, and I got there. There was another young man who was stumbling backwards off some steps, and he fell into my arms, and I looked over his shoulder and his chest was filling up with this red blood. And I looked down and sort of held him, tried to hold the blood into his chest to stop it, he’s sort of coughing and gagging, and foamy red blood just started pouring out of his mouth. I’m screaming at people to please call an ambulance, please call an ambulance. I also screamed to somebody to please tell me who he was, what was his name. I sat there in probably one of the more uncomfortable moments of my life just whispering in Wazn’s ears — his name was Wazn Miller — whispering in his ears, saying, ‘Stay with me, stay with me,’ not knowing anything, what to do, just holding my hands in this boy’s bloody chest. It seemed like a whirlwind was going on around me, so much was flashing through my mind as I sat there just trying to hold this child as his breathing stopped, as I reached into his mouth not knowing what I was reaching for, trying to clear the foamy blood out of his mouth, clear the foamy blood out of his mouth, hoping that he would just start breathing again, just start breathing again. And, um, the ambulance finally came, pushed me out of the way, ripped open his shirt where I now saw three gunshot wounds in his front, one in his side, and he was dead. I just stood there as cops asked me questions. I tried to articulate what I had witnessed to them.
As Booker recounts of his father’s story telling, each time the mayor tells the Miller story it is a little different.
NR received a copy of the police reports of the investigation into Miller’s murder yesterday, the day after they filed suit to compel the City Clerk of Newark to comply with New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act. ThinkProgress.org, a liberal site, also received the police reports into the incident. NR says it is “mysterious” that ThinkProgress received the reports before they did. There is nothing mysterious about that. ThinkProgress could have OPRA’d the reports too. More than likely, they received a call from someone in the Booker campaign yesterday day suggesting they OPRA the reports so that they could put a spin favorable to Booker on them.
ThinkProgress did put a Booker favorable spin on the police reports. They said that the reports confirm Booker’s version of the events. They didn’t, really.
NR writes that the reports that they OPRA’d because they were “hoping to verify Booker’s story.” That’s a crock. They requested the reports hoping to debunk Booker’s version and expose Booker as a liar or fabricator as he apparently was with the imaginary T-Bone story. The T-Bone story wasn’t lie. It was a parable. The lie was Booker insisting that T-Bone is “1000% a real person.”
Here’s a copy of the police report. As NR writes, it is not dispositive with regard to Booker’s involvement in the incident.
Yet, ThinkProgress is spinning that the report verifies Booker’s stories of the events and spins NR as “Booker Truthers” to President Obama’s “Birthers.”
NR spins that the report “contradicts Cory Booker on key dramatic details.” I doesn’t, really.
Both ThinkProgress and National Review are spinning tales about Booker’s tales. In their quest for “gotcha,” both are missing the point of Booker’s parable.
Cory Booker tells a good story. Yes, there are some discrepancies between his various versions of the events of Wazn Miller’s murder and the police reports. There are discrepancies between different versions of the story as Booker tells it. But it is not big deal. Making an issue of the veracity of Booker’s tales will not cost Booker any votes.
Booker wasn’t under oath when he told these stories. If he conned anyone with the stories, they probably don’t mind. Whether they were students inspired to make a career choice or donors separated from their money, they are probably still inspired by Booker and donating to his campaign. The current spin, on both sides, will inspire more donations to Booker.
Telling stories, fables or parables is not a sin. The Gospel is full of parables.
What is a sin is the spin, on both sides. No one is heeding the moral of Booker’s story. Not even Booker.