Racial Revenge?

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Last Friday, the day after two whites in Georgia were arrested in the vastly publicized killing of the black jogger/prowler Ahmaud Arbery, a young black gunman murdered two octogenarian whites, Paul and Lidia Marino, while they were visiting their son’s grave at a veterans’ cemetery in Delaware. After a six-hour firefight with the police, the shooter, a 29-year-old black man, was dead—whether at police hands or his own remains unknown.

In contrast to Arbery’s killing, this second interracial killing case has gotten virtually zero national media attention through Tuesday morning, even though it’s fairly spectacular in scale and quite curious in motive. For example, an eyewitness speculated that the killer appeared to have brought extra ammunition for his planned shoot-out to the death with the police.

The cops don’t have an explanation for the killer’s actions yet. It wasn’t a robbery. It doesn’t sound like a contract killing. (I can’t rule that out, but I did check if the victims, a retired lithographer and a housewife, were close relatives of any mafioso of the same surname, but found zero connections.) It could be some kind of personal beef, but nobody has found a connection between the killer and the killed at this point.

No confession note, social media, or interviews with the shooter’s family have yet emerged to explain his motivations. Although, to be frank, the press doesn’t seem to be all that motivated to get to the bottom of this seemingly random slaughter. There isn’t even much talk about what kind of weapon the killer used, in contrast to the gun porn after similar mass shootings.

Imagine that the circumstances were reversed and if on Friday a young white man had hunted down an elderly black couple visiting their son’s grave at a veterans’ cemetery.

The national media would be in full cry over this racist atrocity. President Trump would attend the funeral. The prestige press would demand that whatever web sources of information and opinion the gunman had followed should be, First Amendment or not, permanently exterminated.

But what happens when it’s The Megaphone itself that may have egged on the killer? For example, a search of the New York Times archives finds 104 articles mentioning the name of Ahmaud Arbery so far just in the month of May. That’s even more saturation coverage than the Times normally devotes to late-breaking developments in the Emmett Till case.

The possibility that the cemetery killer was inspired to shoot some random whites by the enormous media hoopla over the still-ambiguous death of Arbery is not something that the prestige press is rushing to look into. We are never supposed to consider whether The Establishment getting all hyped up over the shooting of blacks by whites (or by nonwhites in the case of Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile) might inspire other blacks to shoot whites.

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