Friday, July 20, 2018

What If...

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 2:40 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK
  • Courtesy of BigStock
This didn't happen. Repeat: This did not happen. But what if...

A 72 year old black man living in Miami Beach was about to be evicted from his condo. He was arrested in the act of trying to burn the building down. He had already dumped gasoline down a trash chute. He was caught in the parking garage with two gasoline containers and had 28 more in a storage unit. He said his goal was to "kill the white people" in the building. In his apartment, he had speeches by Louis Farrakhan, black nationalist and leader of the Nation of Islam, and posters from the Black Panther movement of the 1960s.

As I said, it didn't happen. We know that, because if it did, Fox News would have grabbed hold of the story and run it on a loop for days, complete with mug shots, scare graphics, ominous old photos of Black Panthers and archived statements from leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Tweeter In Chief would have been on it as fast as his thumbs could carry him. Newspapers would have picked it up soon after. On CNN and MSNBC, serious talking heads would try to decide if it should be called an potential act of terrorism, mass murder or mental illness. "Was this a random act or part of a larger social phenomenon?" the earnest heads around the table would ask each other.

But here's the thing. Most of the events I described actually did happen. The 72 year old man, the condo, the eviction, the plan to burn the building down, the gasoline. Those are all for real. I just changed three details.

The 72 year old man is white. He said he wanted to "kill all Jews" in the building. And police found swastikas and books about Nazi ideology in his apartment.

Did you hear about it?

If you did, you might have caught it on July 13 or soon after in the Miami news media, a short New York Times article or a low tech digital news piece on Fox. That's as far as the news spread. An antisemitic old white guy who wants to burn down a condo full of Jews isn't especially newsworthy.

I'm tempted to draw some conclusions here, but, nah. I'll leave that to the reader.

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