What if I told you there was a mass shooting in this country on Sunday, but you were never told about it? What if I told you that it happened at a Church in the South? What if I told you a man killed a woman of a different race in front of that church in what may have been a racially motivated murder?
And what if I told you that you were never told about it because it didn’t fit the desired narrative of those responsible for telling you about it?
On Sunday, while the American news and sports media were breathlessly reporting on which NFL players and teams would stand up to President Trump by kneeling for the national anthem, Emanuel Kidenga Samson calmly walked up to the Burnett Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee and shot a woman to death in the parking lot.
He then walked through the church’s front doors and, without saying a word, started firing indiscriminately, seriously injuring seven parishioners.
This could only be described as a terrorist attack, not terribly unlike the mass murder at the Emanuel United Church of Christ in Charleston, South Carolina two years ago that left nine people dead and America stunned.
Yet while that shooting dominated the news cycle for weeks, Sunday’s shooting was barely mentioned beyond its immediate aftermath. The New York Times relegated it to the 14th page of Monday’s edition, while cable news networks devoted just a few scant minutes to the story, preferring instead to focus almost solely on the NFL protests.
Was this because it became very clear very quickly that Sunday’s shooting wasn’t as similar to the Charleston shooting as it would first appear? And was it because those differences made the story less convenient to plug into preconceived narratives about race relations and gun violence in America?
In Charleston, the gunman was a white supremacist who targeted a historically black church and killed eight black parishioners and the black pastor. In Antioch on Sunday, a black gunman—an immigrant from Sudan—killed a white woman. Was this because she was white? The media never seemed interested in finding out.
Moreover, until Monday (the day after the shooting), President Trump’s so-called “travel ban” on citizens of countries with known terrorism problems included Sudan. Could highlighting the fact that a Sudanese immigrant had just engaged in an act of terrorism serve to prove the President right about the need for checks on immigration and visa visitation from certain countries?
What if I told you that the gunman immigrated to the United States as a refugee from his war-torn homeland back in the 1990s? Could highlighting the fact that a former refugee became a terrorist (albeit decades later) serve to prove that there is the potential for refugees from other war-torn nations to also harbor terrorist tendencies?
And could highlighting the heroism of the young man who stopped the gunman on Sunday serve to prove that private citizens who responsibly use firearms can (and do) stop crimes and save lives. Robert Caleb Engle, a 22 year-old church usher, charged at the gunman when he momentarily stopped firing. Although Engle was pistol-whipped, he managed to wrestle the gunman so effectively that the gunman accidentally shot himself. Engle then ran to his car, grabbed his gun, and trained it on the injured gunman to subdue him until police arrived a few minutes later.
What if I told you that this heroism, that this hero, were being ignored? And what if I told you that this might be because highlighting such heroism with a firearm serves to prove that firearms themselves are not responsible for mass shootings and that disarming law-abiding citizens actually increases the likelihood of violent attacks?
What if I told you that every aspect of this violent attack, this mass shooting, this terror attack served to disprove nearly every liberal narrative about terror attacks and mass shootings? The gunman is black and may have targeted white people in a racially motivated attack. He is a refugee from a country on President Trump's so-called travel ban. And he was stopped by a law-abiding citizen responsibly using his firearm.
And if I told you that it is precisely because of this--precisely because that this shooting did not fit into a desired narrative--that the national media has simply ignored this shooting?
Would you believe it?