A Polite Reminder
Seriously, it does, and a good reminder (to people left, right, and otherwise) to always be hesitant to speculate about motivations behind high-profile attacks (and especially high-profile threats). From a Post article by Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky:
The FBI on Friday arrested a former journalist and said he was behind at least some [but not all] recent bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the country, describing them as part of the man’s campaign to harass a woman…
It’s been my rule of thumb that when we hear an announcement in the popular press about a bomb threat or a high-profile shooting, high profile assault, or a high-profile act of harassment, that two things are true:
- Wait until we know who committed the act, because as often as not it’s not who people say it. Politicians on both sides are often wont to use the case to bolster their narrative–and more often than not, the narrative doesn’t match reality.
- More often than not when we discover who committed the act, chances are, that person was bat-shit crazy.
There are countless cases, ranging from the Gabrielle Giffords shooting (reportedly done by a republican advocate riled up by hateful rhetoric, but actually done by a registered independent who was, by all accounts bat-shit crazy and probably acting on orders from the gas people of Jupiter), to the the bomb threats at Concordia University against Muslim students (reportedly done by Trump supporting Muslim haters, but actually committed by Hisham Saadi, a 47-year-old Muslim who is now undergoing psychological assessment), where the crime is held up as an example of hate against a group, but in fact was committed by someone who is, at some level, crazy–or at the very least trying to stir up shit.
We have a Claremont McKenna College professor spray painting her own car with racist slogans, then blaming the students for their obvious racism. We have a noose found hanging on the door of a Columbia University professor’s door, which was denounced as evidence of ongoing racism at that university, which was apparently hung by the professor herself. We have three black students at the University of Albany claim white men attacked then and used racist slurs as other passengers sat idly by–denounced by Hillary Clinton herself–who turned out to simply not be true: security cameras on the bus show the three black women assaulting a 19 year old white woman on the bus.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for politicians who grabbed onto the issue to push their agenda, and protesters who went out to disrupt the status quo in order to demand change–some of whom then physically threatened their political opposition.
So when you hear about some act which seems to be an example of “Racist Trump Supporters”, wait. Wait until after the investigation. Because sometimes truth doesn’t fit the narrative. And at the bottom of the stack it’s not an example of a politically charged assault–but a deranged individual seeking attention.