On June 17th, 2015, a deranged white racist named Dylann Roof opened fire on a group of black churchgoers. His crime was despicable and heinous and openly condemned.
On August 26th, 2015, a deranged black racist opened fire on former colleagues at WDBJ in Virginia. Vester Lee Flanagan II, also known as reporter Bryce Williams, was a disgruntled former coworker who killed two white people and injured a third before going on the run. Unlike Roof, Flanagan detailed his motivations in a lengthy 23-page manifesto and repeatedly declared that his reasoning behind the shooting was racial vengeance. He claimed that one of the victims, Alison Parker, was a racist and Adam Ward, the other victim, complained to HR about Flanagan who was, reportedly, difficult to work with.
So, where is the outrage?
Of course, the media has offered their standard condolences with each outlet solemnly stating how sad the events were and how their thoughts and prayers go out to family members. However, not long after the gunsmoke cleared in Charleston had the media dutifully pounced on the “white supremacist” narrative and what followed was a months-long campaign against all things white, all things conservative and all things Southern. Confederate flags were torn down, President Obama gruesomely capitalized on the deaths to further his “America is racist” narrative and America succumbed to hysteria.
However, when a homosexual black man killed two straight white people, the best this country’s media can muster is boilerplate condolences. It’s clear that white lives simply do not matter.
Already, the questions on social media have taken a disturbing turn as some, while offering faux-condolences, have taken-up Flanagan’s racial narrative and accused the victims of being racists.
Soon, calls for more gun control will emerge. Already, Michael Bloomberg’s astroturfed anti-Second Amendment group Moms Demand Action called for more anti-Second Amendment laws “in honor of Alison and Adam.”
There are few things so grotesque as the capitalization upon death to further an immoral cause like gun control.
Conservative author Ben Shapiro offered an insightful analysis in the hours after the shooting. He writes:
Had a white straight man killed a black gay man, released first-person tape of the shooting, and then unleashed a manifesto about being victimized by affirmative action and anti-religious bigotry from homosexuals, the media would never stop covering the story. They’d be eager to report that shooter’s motives with all the attendant politically correct hullaballoo about the racism and homophobia of the United States more broadly. We would hear about white supremacy (reprehensible Black Lives Matter leader Deray McKesson actually jumped the gun, thinking the shooter was white, and tweeted, “Whiteness will explain away nearly anything”).
We would hear excoriations of the Republican presidential candidates for their failures to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement–and their opposition to same-sex marriage. In similar circumstances, the entire political and media establishment determined that the Confederate flag was somehow to blame for Dylan Storm Roof’s brutal slaying of nine people at a historically black church; just last week, the media tried to blame Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance for two thugs beating up a Hispanic homeless man in Boston.
But Bryce Williams’ self-described victim status, even while murdering innocents, will merit no rethinking of the divisive politics in which he apparently bathed. We won’t have a conversation about whether pushing a perennial picture of victimhood for blacks and gays in the most black-friendly, gay-friendly country on the planet could drive supposed victims to violence. We won’t talk about whether the Democratic Party’s takeover by the Black Lives Matter crew has encouraged some people to believe that only black lives matter, since only black lives are in danger – and even then, only some black lives matter, namely those killed by white people. Instead, we will be assured that Bryce Williams is an outlier by the same people who blamed Sarah Palin for Jared Lee Loughner shooting Gabrielle Giffords.
It is true that statistical outliers should not be used to club entire movements into submission. But leftists protesting at the linkage between Williams and their favored political causes have no ground on which to stand – they consistently blame conservatives for outlier events with no statistical basis. Moreover, Williams’ violence is part of a larger trend, not of black men killing white people (that still happens disproportionately, but the numbers are down), but of black men using supposed American racism as a rationale for violence more generally, and of gay people using supposed American homophobia as a rationale for violation of others’ rights.
Some in the media are actually going beyond delinking Williams from his politics – they’redefending Williams’ perverse worldview, questioning whether evil, racist, homophobic America created him. Columnist WonderWomanist at Gawker wrote, “I can understand him being frustrated with racial discrimination at his job but it was not worth throwing his life over… RIP to the victims even though they may have been racist.”
It is a sad testament to our nation’s culture that so much of how an event like this is viewed is through the prism of identity. Who were the victims? What did they do to deserve this? Who was the shooter? Did he have preferred “victim status” that entitles him a level of mitigation?
Our society has lost its way and as we delve further and further into the soulless chasm of identity politics, we lose ourselves and drift further and further from the shores of racial reconciliation.
Those who raised their voice in the aftermath of the Roof shooting must now condemn this shooting with equal measure or else reveal themselves to be nothing more than partisan bigots.