All the rhetoric blaming immigrants for the economic downturn and the reasons that “good Americans can’t get work” has finally culminated in a massive shooting in Binghamton NY today. A gunman entered into a center that helps immigrants with family reunification and study for citizenship and opened fire. He killed 12-13 people before turning the gun on himself. Lucky the majority of the people taking classes managed to hide in the basement before he reached the 4 classrooms.
The gunman has not been identified b/c he was carrying fake I.D. at the time of the shooting; his alias, was apparently already known to the police. He had recently lost his job at IBM. The firing, coupled with conservative news’ and talk radio’s constant blame of immigrants for unemployment rates in the U.S., is considered to be the motivation for the shooting.
Hate crimes against Latin@s have been on the rise since the Bush administration decided to echo conservative fears of immigrants and linked the immigration issue with terrorism (miraculously focusing eyes on the Mexican-American border rather than the American-Canadian border where the actual 9/11 terrorists crossed into the U.S.). The U.S. government’s failure to reign in the Minute Men and other vigilante groups, whose large rallies almost always coincide with neo-nazi leafletting of communities prior, the rise of Sheriffs like Joe Arpaio whose criminal arrest record according to the DOJ and local papers includes an increased wait time on urgent calls and the failure to investigate rapes, some murders, and property crimes, in order to focus on large public roundups of Latin@s to check for immigration status, and the 24-7 conservative talk shows blaming immigrants and other marginalized peoples for the current crisis, have all combined to create an atmosphere in which brown people’s lives are expendable in the face of largely white male rage. (In this case, the gunman is Asian.) Beatings and beating deaths of immigrants have created momentary outcries while at the same time exposing community response along the lines of “he shouldn’t have died but . . .” So is it any wonder that today’s shooting happened? Isn’t it the logical next step in a world where disgruntled workers carrying books by conservative talk radio hosts write manifestos in their pickups and then target gay affirming churches and random brown people with jobs? And just like all bigotry the spillover of targeted hatred ultimately impacts dominant culture, b/c immigrants of all races died today alongside at least one white American working in the center.
You can read the article from Yahoo that is the source for this post here.