‘A lie will gallop halfway round the world before the truth has time to pull its breeches on.’ So said Cordell Hull, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of state, long before the internet. Now we live in the virtual age. What’s true is barely relevant. No sooner has a man shot 10 people dead and been taken into custody than his suspected motives are shoved into the great culture-war grinder and splatted out of a million social media accounts. So we saw this week with the arrest of Ahmed Al Aliwi Alissa, who was presumed white as quickly as he was guilty after pictures of his arrest yesterday in Boulder, Colorado circulated online.
Alissa made the mistake of looking a bit pale in the grainy images. This triggered an avalanche of apoplexy from social-justice warriors, enraged that yet again a white mass shooter had been allowed to live. If he had been a person of color, well you can probably guess…
Take a bow Amy Siskind, activist and social-media moron extraordinaire, for jumping the gun:
By 11:32 the next day, as the identity of the suspect became clearer, Amy switched tack:
And step forward Meena Harris, Second Niece and ‘reluctant activist’, who followed this bold tweet…
…with this barrel roll…
Congratulations must also go out to Alex Cole, founder of something called ResistFix, which apparently ‘filters out all the bull.’ Alex bravely rushed to judgment:
We saw exactly the same unseemly haste to ascribe racist motives last week with the similarly grizzly murder of eight people in Atlanta. The alleged killer in that case actually was white, which helped, though now reports suggest he may have been sex-mad more than he was racially motivated. But who cares about why someone did anything, when there are so many ‘likes’ to be gained from claiming another instance of white supremacism?
Of course, now that Alissa’s identity has been revealed a similar frenzy is happening in the opposite direction. ‘Islamist’ and ‘He’s Muslim’ are now trending, even though the bodies are barely cold. The truth is nobody has any clear idea of what is going on in his head, apart from perhaps his brother Ali, who told the Daily Beast his sibling was ‘very anti-social’ and paranoid. Reports also suggest he may have posted anti-Trump Facebook messages, so it’s the conservative blue-checks on social media who get to play victim and talk about prejudice and bias in the media.
Meanwhile, 10 more people are dead. RIP. We should all be deeply ashamed and stop pontificating on social media for at least a moment or two. We won’t though will we? We can’t.