Yesterday three people were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
It's horrific to think that killings are so commonplace in this country that many people's reaction would be something along the lines of "So? People get murdered every day!"... and that's pretty much what the reaction has been. I don't watch a lot of news, but what little I've seen hasn't mentioned it. I don't have tons of time for social media, but my Twitter and Facebook feed has been mute. The mainstream print media? Nope.
And I guess that's understandable. If a murder happens in your local community, it'll most certainly make your local paper. But, with around 15,000 murders in the USA each year, it probably won't go national or enter the public consciousness unless there are extraordinary circumstances surrounding it.
Extraordinary circumstances like... ohhhhhh... let's say... it was a murder committed by somebody claiming to be a follower of Islam, for example.
If a family were to be murdered by a Muslim killer, that makes national news. You wouldn't be able to turn around without that story being broadcast out of every available outlet. Hell, FOX "News" would be hyping the heck out of a story like that every hour on the hour. On the half hour. Gotta keep the Muslim hate machine going, after all... gotta keep the fear running hot... and Muslims murdering innocent people (especially innocent white people) on US soil would be mana from heaven for FOX's non-stop "America-is-a-Christian-Nation-and-Everybody-Else-Should-Get-the-Hell-Out-of-Our-Country" agenda.
You can't promote your fictional "War on Christmas" propaganda outside of Christmas season, after all. You have to have something for the other six months of the year.
Okay then. Let's run a different sequence of events. Let's say it was an atheist who murdered an innocent family. What happens then? Well, that scenario isn't going to get FOX and Friends as much traction as a Muslim murderer... but, still... any time the murderer is a non-Christian, it's fuel for the agenda right? Any time you can spin non-Christians as immoral animals destroying this country is time well spent when you're FOX "News," right?
You'd think so, wouldn't you?
And you're probably right.
Except when the people who were murdered by the atheist are Muslim.
As is the case with the tragic events in Chapel Hill yesterday.
If you're FOX "News," providing sympathetic context for innocent Muslims being murdered is counter to the agenda that governs your very existence. And so... no twice-hourly news coverage of the murders then. A quick mention in the headlines to maintain the appearance of being "Fair and Balanced," perhaps, but that's as far as it goes.
But that's just FOX "News."
You expect something like that from FOX "News."
But what about the rest of the mainstream media? Where in the hell are they on this story?
I don't know.
Or perhaps the general feeling is that there are 15,000 murders in the USA each year, and three people getting murdered over a parking space just doesn't merit a national news story.
And yes, if you hadn't heard, the reason being given for a psychopath murdering three people next-door to him was a fight over a parking space. He was a violent man. He was filled with hatred for everybody and anybody. He had clashed with people over parking in the past. This was just a sad, but most likely inevitable, culmination of events which have been building for quite some time. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Or so we're supposed to believe, I'd imagine.
The very idea that the lack of coverage might be because the three dead people in Chapel Hill are Muslim and therefor don't matter because we've been conditioned to believe that all Muslims are terrorists and the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim... well, that would be a horrific reflection of American society... home of "freedom of religion."
Yes. Yes it would.
And yet... given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding these murders... circumstance which, if reversed, would cause a media firestorm that would blanket the nation with news cycle after news cycle of coverage... what other conclusion can be drawn?
Because, honestly, does anybody think this all seriously comes down to a parking space? Anybody?
Or does it come down to an angry person inundated by anti-Muslim sentiment day in and day out finally getting just the excuse he wanted to kill people. People who don't matter. People so vilified that they deserve to die. People whose murder might even end up making him a national hero. Somebody Judge Jeanine would be proud of...
To all my Muslim friends who want nothing more than to live their lives in peaceful coexistence with their fellow Americans and share in the freedoms this country was built upon... I am sorry.
I am sorry that a tiny fraction of the world's two billion Muslims who dedicate their lives to terror are made to define you.
I am sorry that every possible negative connection to your religion... no matter how tenuous... make the news where positive reflections of your faith rarely do.
I am sorry that you have been made into an object of fear and loathing by a systematic campaign of hate meant to dehumanize you, your families, and your friends.
I am sorry that our society fosters an environment where your community is marginalized and your contributions are dismissed.
I am sorry that you have to find a way of explaining to your children how their very existence is a catalyst for exclusion and hostility... not by your country's enemies or by religious radicals in a land half-a-world away... but by a frighteningly large segment of their fellow citizens right here at home.
But most of all... most of all... I'm sorry that nobody is asking the hard questions that need to be asked about what lead to the horrifying events in Chapel Hill yesterday.
Because three human beings gone too soon from this earth deserve more than to be reduced to a parking space.