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Friday, July 20, 2012
White Terrorist James Holmes -- what, no demonization of "his" people?
You can bet your last Falafel that if James Holmes were Abdullah Arak, or some Middle Easterner, the United States would be on the brink of racist chaos and the media would be stoke the flames of hatred using its worthless newsprint.
But James Holmes, 24, is a White Man who walked into a movie theater featuring one of the most recent violent movies to hit the big screen, and he was carrying a rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, along with a few other incendiary devices. He was wearing a mask and bullet-proof vest.
Yes, a White dud in a bullet proof vest with his arms full of weapons won't raise an eyebrow or cause anyone to wonder or ask, "What is that guy up to?"
But put a Black kid in a hoodie and a neighborhood watch activist with a jittery gun can shoot him dead. And it will take a month before anyone figures that maybe, just maybe, George Zimmerman should be arrested and the crime properly and fully investigated.
Welcome to America, the land of the free ability to stereotype and pre-judge people based on their skin color, the exotic clothing they might wear and their religious beliefs.
The murder of 12 innocent movie-goers and the wounding of 72 others is a horrendous tragedy. But it is also a tragedy that it occurred in the middle of a national debate about how a crazy Tea Party Congressman, Michele Bachmann, can denounce a woman who is a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because of that aide's religion. The controversy surrounding Huma Abedin was knocked right out of the headlines by James Holmes, a person who surely will be labeled a "lone gunman," an adjective phrase used mainly to describe non-Arabs who commit horrific acts of violence.
It's not the worst act of mass murder in America. That was and is Sept. 11, 2001 and the killing of nearly 3,000 people that day by 19 religious extremists with a political agenda who happen to be Muslim. But the massacre at the Aurora, Colorado theater sure comes close to being one of the worst individual acts of killing we've seen in a long time.
There will be the obligatory flame war of words over gun control. And some will talk about the need to increase security. But no one will say that people of Holmes' age -- he was only 24 -- should be rounded up and profiled in order to prevent this kind of mass murder from happening again. They won't call for White males who might be collecting guns and other weapons to be rounded up and investigated and monitored. Although, maybe they should!
Holmes was a brilliant student, his friends testified to frenzied reporters who converged on the town just outside of Denver. Imagine saying that Mohammed Ata, the lead hijacker int he Sept. 11, 2001 was a brilliant man. Watch out!
Arab terrorist can never be described in any positive way. But White murderers can be excused because, well, they acted alone. Alone in the physical context. But what about the crowded world of hysteria that dominates our political environment, where hate passes off for debate and stereotyping is considered evidence?
Don't hold your breath for a badly needed public discussion on this topic.