MUHAMMAD: Stoking the Fires of Race War

A roll of police tape (police line) lies on the ground outside a home being foreclosed on in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2009.
Courtesy of Wikipedia

It’s a blood sport now. It seems black folks and Muslims are being attacked, just for the fun of it.

While there is much hand-wringing over the shooting at the congressional baseball game practice in suburban Virginia, which injured three Republicans, including the third-ranking House member, and two Capitol Police officers, the carnage aimed at Muslims in this country and abroad, is rapidly accelerating.

And what’s worse, the cops who are killing, beating, and maiming black people are getting away with it, exonerated by largely white juries.

What’s brought this to renewed public attention is the June 14 shooting injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others, and leaving the shooter dead. It was the second mass shooting that day. In San Francisco, three people were killed a continent away by another angry shooter at a UPS facility.

Ironically, Scalise confessed in 2014 that he may have spoken at a 2002 rally organized by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. The two officers on Scalise’s security detail that day, who surely saved his and the lives of others when they returned the shooter’s fire, are both black. After four days in intensive care, and several operations, Scalise’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious by officials at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

The Capitol Police Board and many in the Congressional leadership commended two officers assigned to Scalise’s security detail for their “immediate and decisive actions” which prevented more injuries.

“We are profoundly grateful for the heroism of the Capitol Police, whose bravery under fire undoubtedly saved countless lives,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “On days like today, there are no Democrats or Republicans, only Americans united in our hopes and prayers for the wounded.”

Another irony — contradictions seem to engulf Republicans every day now — is that Republicans are the ones who consistently voted to allow people with pre-existing mental conditions to buy firearms, yet they also voted to deny those same folks from obtaining health insurance which would cover their treatment for those conditions.

“They brought this on themselves,” a senior staff aide for a member of the Congressional Black Caucus told this writer. “And it’s only going to get worse.”

So the chickens are coming home to roost. At least five years before President Donald Trump urged audience members at a campaign rally to “beat the crap out of” a protester, and later promised to pay the legal fees of another of his supporters who sucker-punched a black protester who was in police custody. But its Democrats, black people and Muslims who have been under relentless attack.

In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. Before that shooting, 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs, according to The New York Times.

“The sad thing is that these mass shootings have become the new normal,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told news organization Democracy Now. “I mean, the extraordinary thing about what happened to Steve Scalise is that he’s a member of Congress. But, of course, that’s not even the first time that happened. Gabby Giffords was shot as she was doing Congress on Your Corner in her district only a few years ago. So even members of Congress getting shot somehow has not prompted us to take a look at what we’re doing, and what we’re not doing, when it comes to making the country safer.

“I do think, you know, just the Wild West atmosphere that we have, in terms of regulating firearms, is ridiculous,” Ellison said. “And other countries don’t do this. And, of course, as a result, they’re a lot safer, when it comes to this danger.”

That Wild West atmosphere has resulted in four of the 45 U.S. presidents being murdered in office and even more have survived serious assassination attempts. No other modern industrial country has a record of violence in high office that even comes close.

“I above anyone in here,” Pelosi said on the House floor the day after the shooting, “And I can say that quite clearly, have been probably the target of more — I’m a political target and therefore the target of more threats than anyone, other than the [former] president of the United States, Barack Obama.” Black folks know that’s the truth.

And in the few days since the Virginia baseball practice attack, violence against Muslims has escalated in this country and in the United Kingdom. In suburban Virginia on June 18, Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim girl on her way home from Ramadan prayers at a mosque, was abducted, assaulted and murdered, her body dumped in a pond.

And a van plowed into worshippers near a London mosque in the early hours of June 19, injuring 10 people, two of them seriously, in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a sickening, terrorist attack on Muslims.

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About Askia Muhammad 76 Articles
WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.