By Marilyn Robinson
Federal charges have been filed against Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in a shooting rampage at a Safeway supermarket in Arizona during a political event that left six dead and 14 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The five-count criminal complaint includes an attempt to kill a member of Congress, two counts of murder in the first degree and two counts of attempted murder.
The "shooter" kills 6 people, wounding 14 others. The "gunman" is white, Caucasian..a young man.. labeled in a delusional state. He is the “suspect”, the “accused’, a “deeply disturbed young man”.
No one calls him a "terrorist". Nobody calls this an act of terrorism. It’s an attempted murder of a member of Congress and the murder of U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.
Loughner is a “gunman.” But, god forbid, if his skin was darker or he was of the Muslim faith, he would’ve most likely been labeled a “terrorist”. Bigots, racists would once again have a field day. Prejudice rules.
Can’t you hear it? Can’t you hear the media, or the government then calling this an act of terrorism…if he was Arab, his skin color dark or oh yes, if he was Muslim. But no, he is merely misguided. He uses drugs. He is "mentally unstable"…all the refined manners we bestow.
Yes, let us be politically correct.
Of course, has anyone checked his religious background…maybe his great aunt, maybe a distant cousin’s influence..?
Everyone’s blood is the same color. We all bleed the same but somehow, it seems fit to grade one blood a bit more valuable than another.
We don’t dare blame the color of his skin or his religion….no, not this gun packing, Caucasian murderer.
I listened to the media handling this crime using an air of sadness to massage our minds. Is soft music playing in the background?
I heard on Sunday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik spoke at a news conference in Tucson, Arizona, commenting on the role media newscasters play:
"Far too many broadcasts now and so many outlets have the intent of inciting, and inciting people to opposition, to anger, to thinking the other side is less than moral. And I think that is a context in which somebody who is mentally unbalanced can somehow feel justified in taking this kind of action. And I think we need to all take cognizance of that and be aware that what we say can, in fact, have consequences."
And, on the “shooter”, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who appeared with Clyburn, said she is not aware that alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner is tied to a political movement or engaged in a politically motivated act. "You know, his favorite books are ‘the Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Mein Kampf.’ I think it’s important that we recognize that this is an individual that had — that has mental challenges, and we need to act appropriately in dealing with him and making sure that justice prevails here," she said.
Justice. Would the same words be said if the “shooter”, the “accused” was Arab and or a Muslim? I do not think so.
What I do know, is what has happened before. This above scenario has played out many times. The hypocrisy of it all is what finally put me over the edge.
It is not a joke, what happened in Arizona. It is indeed, a tragic reality. But, it’s also a fine example of hypocrisy. I just had to express my complete disgust at how we treat each other. How the media blatantly shows us to be. And we stand by and let it happen. Most of us go on with our day in a numbed state, oblivious of how we are letting this all shape us to be….to each other.
Somehow for many of us, we have grown a somewhat blind acceptance of this constant parade of injustice. Our blinders have been exchanged for a thorough lack of caring period. Just don’t think about it, it will go away. Or, change the channel. Or, this happens all the time. Or, it’s always someone else’s fault, but, not our own. Never our own. Why aren’t our elected officials doing a better job, we say, at one of our polite luncheons. Such a terrible condition this world is in, we add. We blame it on the fact of feeling overwhelmed. Or on some other external happening. When confronted, we are likely to blame our scarce, limited reactions on our “busy” lives. We show who we truly are and what we seriously believe in, when these moments happen in our lives; how we really view our fellow people, our friends, our fellow human beings. Yet, when someone calls us on our inaction, we puff up our psyches and react angrily. How can someone say we don’t care? How can someone say we are the ones letting it go on and on? Because, for some of us, we just don’t care. We can’t be bothered.
We just can’t get involved. But, we have to get involved. One way or another it does indeed affect us. We really are not better than another. No matter what the media says or the government officials or anyone else for that matter. We creatures of privilege need to stand up for all the people singled out by those spewing power as less than we are. Get involved in one cause; one injustice; one people’s difficulties, one country’s struggle. But, get involved and stay with it.
Dedicate. Make the effort even when you are tired or when you want to give up. Don’t give up. Don’t wait till it is easy or when you think you will have the time. Do it now. Do not go quietly into the night. Don’t let injustice win.
– Marilyn Robinson contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.