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Immune from Racist Media

Ditulis tanggal 13 Oktober 2010

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Racist quote (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A shooting tragedy happened in Las Vegas and took place on October 1, 2017 at local time. A shooter caused 59 deaths and hundreds of injuries was then known as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white guy.

Paddock’s crime makes the public reopening list of violence in the past which involved white people. Five years ago, a shooting happened in Aurora, Colorado, where the perpetrator was a white guy named James Holmes.

Three years after Colorado’s tragedy, a white guy named Dylann Roof conducted shooting at a church which consisted of African-American descents. The jury recommended capital punishment.

Paddock’s fate was absolutely luckier than Roof’s. He already died before the society berated him and before he was brought to the court. However, that is the main problem. Since Paddock already died, we would never know what exactly motivated Paddock committing such vile action.

An investigation on Paddock’s crime is currently ongoing. Likewise, mass media attempts to ‘precede’ statement from the authority by digging up Paddock’s background and motive.

The Telegraph reveals that Paddock was a “silent and good” man, quoting statement from Paddock’s lover, Marilou Danley. Meanwhile, Slate Magazine, an online media operated under Graham Holdings Company, stated that based on an interview with perpetrator’s brother (Eric Paddock), Stephen was a rich guy who liked gambling.

Another media focuses on digging information from the police, which so far, does not provide useful information. “We have no idea what his belief system was,” said Joseph Lombardo from Clark County Sheriff.

Based on narrations above, it seems the media less assertive in judging Paddock’s characteristic. On which ‘side’ did the man slept at Mandala Bay hotel stand? Was Paddock Clarice Starling or Dr. Hannibal Lecter? Batman or Joker? A good or evil guy?

Of course, serial killing is an unjustified action, and whomever does it, automatically falls into the “evil” category. However, existing narrations complicate such categorization.

Aaron Rouse who heads Las Vegas Division in the FBI already asserted: “I need to deal with facts. The sheriff needs to deal with facts. He’s not going to make assumptions. I’m not going to make assumptions.”

The decision to avoid apriority is actually a decision worth appreciation. Both Clark County Sheriff and the FBI restrain from rash conclusion regarding the bloody tragedy as an attempt to uphold presumption of innocence principle.

Unfortunately, the public cannot wait any longer. Various accusations come to the surface basically assess that Clark County Sheriff and the FBI do not want to avoid apriority. Both of them avoid ‘terrorism’ labelling against white criminal, a label whom, on the other side, they frequently attach to brown criminal (Middle East descent). 

Tracking back series of events in the past months, law enforcement officers in the United States (US) were increasing surveillance against Muslims. A data showed, the number of brown suspects targeted by the FBI escalated as much as 12 percent. In another institution like Custom Border Protection (CBP), there was an eight percent increase. In the society itself, the number of harassments against brown people escalated as much as 16 percent.

Donald John Trump’s victory as a President in the beginning of 2017 was touted to contribute worsening violence against Muslims. Trump’s policy also triggered sentiment against refugees from the Middle East. Some Muslim association organizations in the US received “extremist” labelling, which most of the time became a justification for white people to commit violence against Muslims.

Now, narrations established by racist media become easily accepted by many people, or at least, people who chose and supported Trump. Perhaps, back then, the society was over-sensitive to the policy of racist media, regarding how the racist media inserted stereotype on minority as a marginal society through various sitcoms, as well as reality which demonstrated that brown people did not work in front of TV screen.

Right now, people are laughing when they are watching “mildly-racist” sitcoms and understanding brown people who work as technicians. Anyways, if everyone works as a news anchor, therefore, nobody works as cameraman and light setter, right?

A settlement on issue above can be sustained. What is urgent is categorization against white shooter. One must admit that Paddock, Holmes and Roof were terrorists. Perhaps their crimes did not fulfill “organized” characteristics and their motives did not to “protest government policy by violent measure.” Nonetheless, the impact was similar: feelings of being terrorized and frightened.

In the history of the US, one-third of attacks committed by right-wing extremists resulted to deaths. Ratio of fatal attacks committed by white people is also higher than Islam extremists, which is 2:1. A reporter named David Neiwert also states that the most significant domestic terror threat comes from right-wing extremists.

Eventually, the US still needs to clean up its internal enemies before it is trying to deliver peace in the Middle East and African countries.

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