In the last week, we have seen the bombings in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon which killed 3 and injured so many more and now the explosion in West, TX as a result of a fire at the local fertilizer plant which has reportedly killed up to 15 and injured over 150 so far. These horrible events prove that life is short and evil does exist when and where you least expect it.
Most of us come together in times of loss to help our fellow Americans, our fellow human beings, our neighbors. We pray for one another, donate our time, money, food, clothing, or even blood to assist in the rescue and recovery for those affected.
But on the other side of every kind act, word, or look are those that look for the negative in every situation and thrive on the suffering of others in order to further some agenda or darker purpose. It’s these people who take away the positive thoughts of others and replace them with anger.
We have all seen it happen. When Boston was thrust into chaos on April 15th, it didn’t take long for the ‘haters’ to show their faces. Less than 12 hours after the bombs blew up and destroyed so many lives, the political and racial accusations began. Some in the media incited others to join in the false narratives and blame. Fox News anchors began to speculate on the ethnicity of the bomber(s) by noting the similarities of the homemade bombs created in pressure cookers and the IEDs used in Afghanistan by terrorists there. This instigated the not-forgotten hate that came as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks committed by Islamic extremists. Those looking for answers about Boston were quick to adopt the seemingly logical explanation and place blame squarely on an innocent victim of that very same event. Though the authorities admonished the media for reporting and speculating on the identity of the suspect and falsely accusing an innocent Saudi national who was simply a spectator of the marathon, the rumors and falsehoods had already spread to many.
Media outlets such as Salon.com, MSNBC, and CNN also began their own blame-games which included accusing conservative extremists of perpetrating domestic terrorism to make a statement about taxes or the attendance of the families of Newtown or Boston’s celebration of Patriot’s Day. The pundits debated the points that extremism is prevalent in the “right-wing” groups such as the Tea Party, Timothy McVeigh, or others. Chris Matthews, of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, assigned blame for most acts of domestic terrorism in this country to white conservatives while ignoring the extremism from other political ideologies. David Sirota of Salon.com wrote an article in which he claims that we should all hope for a white bomber because the political and national defense response to a white perpetrated act of domestic terrorism would be less than the reaction to some other ethnicity. This blatant attempt to claim “white privilege” does nothing to help the victims of the Boston bombing and only instigates more racism in a country struggling to overcome it. But the narrative took on a life of its own and has spread throughout the liberal community escaping the common sense that most people possess.
With regards to the explosion in West, TX last night, April 17th, from which many people are still waiting to be found under rubble or treated for injuries, the speculating and hate have similarly begun. Statements of blame, cheers and jokes, and politics are running rampant on Twitter’s #WestTX hashtag among others.
For the most part, the media are reporting the facts as they are released without bias. But the viewers and readers of those media outlets have taken cues from the Boston Marathon bombing and are applying them to the explosion in Texas.
So far, it has been reported as an accidental ignition and subsequent explosion of the chemicals used to make fertilizer at the local plant in West. The plant came to the area many years ago and the people began to build around the centerpiece of the town which employed many and provided the small farming community with the necessary elements to keep the crops growing.
So, how is it that so many can use this event to laugh and cheer on the jokes about death and destruction of an entire town? Those that are not making jokes are using West’s crisis to implicate the fertilizer sales company as the guilty party or implying residents and government officials are stupid for allowing people to live so close to the plant. The rest are using Governor Perry’s bid for the presidency in 2012 as an excuse to bash him and the predominately republican state of Texas in general.
My question is this: When will we stop using tragic events, intentional or accidental, natural or created, as personal excuses to display disgust for an opposing ideology or view? When will people from every spectrum stop using skin color, religion, or origin as a reason to persecute innocents guilty only of being tan, Muslim, or coming from middle-eastern descent? When will we stop using the acts of one individual as ammunition against the opposing political party, effectively demonizing their private views and ideals shared by millions more, just for a few more votes or points in next week’s poll.
We are all human beings, people. The majority of us love this country and have it’s best interest at heart and in mind. The violent tendencies of the few that seek to destroy the unity America thrives on are not representative of any majority in any ethnic or religious background. We need to take to task those that use these horrible events, these crimes of hate, these indiscriminate acts of violence, as political fodder and leave them behind while the rest of us continue to evolve and look past physical or ideological differences and see the HUMAN within.