Sunday, July 23, 2017

I Don't Have All The Facts But...

The shooting of the Australian woman in Minneapolis last week and the aftermath of hate that has been posted on the internet has me wondering what happened to the Christian America we are supposed to be.

I'm going to irritate some people with my opinion today but that's OK. It won't be the first or the last time.

The police officer in question is a legal immigrant from Somalia. He is also a Muslim. But while there has been no evidence made public that shows Islam was the reason for the shooting, it's all some right-wing web pages and right-wing citizens are talking about. Some have called for him to be executed for the shooting of Justine Damond without knowing all of the facts of the case.

I had a conversation with one such person on Friday. He said the officer, Mohamed Noor, should be shot for his actions. I asked him what evidence he had that would support Noor's execution. He said “I have all the evidence I need.”

Article after article since the shooting describes the “Somali Muslim police officer shooting the white woman in her pajamas.” For me that description, while accurate, is prejudicial against the officer whose statement has not even been released yet.

Did his nationality have anything to do with the shooting? How about his skin color? Were his Islamic beliefs the cause of it?

See, that's the problem. We don't know. He is exercising his 5th Amendment right to silence (thanks to our Constitution) and apparently hasn't made any statements to authorities about why he shot Ms. Damond. Should we deny his 5th Amendment rights? After all, he's from Somalia...

The hatred I've seen spewed on the internet in the last week for this man is appalling. If Mohamed Noor was a white, native born American people on the right would be saying “Let's wait for the evidence. The shooting could have been justified.” Yet because he's a Muslim who immigrated from Somalia he has been pronounced guilty without a trial; even without evidence.

I remember in July of 2009, just a day after Professor Henry Gates was arrested by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police, President Obama went on national television and said “I don't have all the facts but the police acted stupidly.” Republicans and conservatives across the nation went crazy, saying (accurately) that it was inappropriate for the President to form an opinion of the Cambridge police without “all the facts.”

But that's exactly what is going on in the Noor/Damond case. People are jumping to conclusions about Noor's guilt, motive, even his feelings about living in the United States without having all of the facts.

The only thing we know for sure is that Ms. Damond was unarmed, Noor pulled the trigger, and Ms. Damond died. So far there is no official explanation of why the trigger was pulled – only the rants of hate filled people who believe that Noor's nationality and/or religious beliefs are the reason and that's all they need to convict.

What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? That's the scary part about all of this. Because Noor is a Somali immigrant and a Muslim people are over anxious to dismiss his constitutional rights and the legal process we so greatly cherish in this nation and pronounce him guilty.

Before someone gets the wrong idea – I'm not saying in any way that Noor's actions were justified. I'm not saying they were not justified. I'm saying we simply don't know yet and the hatred being professed by some of my fellow Americans for this man is astounding given the fact that they have no idea why the shooting took place. It's scary and sad at the same time.

Everyone has the right and deserves due process in this country. Yet so many are willing to simply deny it so Mohamed Noor because of who he is.

So who do I blame for the reaction to this shooting? Islam. The worldwide terrorism carried out in the name of Islam combined with the great lack of denouncement of said terrorism by the majority of Muslims who do not take part in it but remain silent about it are the reasons that many Americans are hostile when it comes to Islam. Right or wrong it is understandable to a point.

I don't know if Noor's Muslim beliefs had anything to do with the shooting of Ms. Damond. I know many people believe that to be the case. And if it turns out to be true then Noor should face several charges, including murder and a hate crime. But please people... wait for the evidence.

I've been told that I need to shut up and allow people to have their own opinion on this issue. I'm not sure why because I haven't told anyone they can't have their own opinion. All I've said is that we don't have any evidence to prove anything right now. And that's a fact. So if that's taken as me telling someone not to have an opinion on it perhaps that person should re-evaluate their opinion based on the facts they actually have.

This is only my opinion. I could be wrong.

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