Monday, July 28, 2008

The Knoxville Shooting and the Danger of Demonizing the Other

I just read the horrible news about a man opening fire at a Unitarian Church in Knoxville, killing two and wounding six.

This may be an extreme case. But it is clear that there is a dangerous far right in America, political currents of an increasingly fascist nature.

It has long been clear that the anti-immigrant movement of the past few years, often exhuding deeply racist messages and imagery, had the potential to provoke violence. The demonization of difference and the satanization of "the other" creates a public culture permissive of violence against homosexuals, Mexicans, Muslims or whatever segment of the population is blamed for "all of our problems."

This is, sadly, not the first instance of such violence. We can also look to the beating death of a Mexican immigrant in Pennsylvania by white high school students.

Or to the case of of Ali Al-Mari, arrested 8 years ago for credit card fraud in Florida and now sitting in military custody as an "enemy combatant" without charges. Waiting for the War on Terror to wrap up, I suppose.

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