#MuslimsLivesMatter has been trending on Twitter since the possible hate crime murder of three young Muslims students in North Carolina. At first main stream media was pre-occupied with news of Brian Williams’ suspension and Jon Stewart’s resignation. Twitter outrage took off and as of this writing over 1 million tweets have gone out over the #ChapelHillShooting hashtag. According to Democracy Now police are saying the murders were possibly over a parking dispute but the father of one of the victims is claiming it was actually a hate crime.
So what is a hate crime? The U.S. Department of Justice defines hate crime as “the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.” http://www.ncpc.org/topics/hate-crime
The man who turned himself in to Chapel Hill police and has been charged with first degree murder had previously posted on social media comments that were anti-religion. He’d also had previous encounters with the people who were shot on Tuesday.
Obviously, this is complex and confusing situation. Time will tell whether this was indeed a hate crime or just another dispute that went out of control. But, in the meantime, we all need to be aware of how people of different races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, sexual orientations, or disabilities are being portrayed in our media. We also need to carefully examine the differences in how people are being covered in our media. When does a killer go from being insane to a thug or a terrorist?
Pat Taylor Fuller has a blogspot named Pat’s Commentary