In July 2017, Australian, Justine Damond (nee Ruszczyk) was gunned down by Minnesotan police officer, Mohamed Noor. Damond was fatally shot in the stomach after calling 911 in response to a woman screaming in an alley near her home. After a second call to 911, police responded. As Justine approached the vehicle, Noor shot her, later claiming he was defending against what he had determined was an ambush.
Noor was found guilty and sentenced in 2019. Over the course of that year instead of the media lamenting the murder of Justine, or calling for the reform of Minnesotan law enforcement culture, practices, and training, the mainstream media saturated its reporting with a pseudo-defense of Noor, claiming racism played a crucial role in his conviction.
The New York Times headlined with ‘A Black police officer, a White Woman, a Rare Murder Conviction. Is it hypocrisy, or justice?’. The ACLU called it ‘What Officer Noor’s Conviction Says About Racism in America’. Even the Canberra Times chimed in saying ‘Damond shooting points to U.S. police racism’. The Washington Post was less belligerent, more diplomatic, but couldn’t hide its own sway towards the “it’s because of racism” bent being applied to the officer convicted of Justine’s murder.
This phenomenon wasn’t unique to 2019. Days after Justine’s murder, VOX contributor, German Lopez wrapped the cold boney fingers of racism all over the Damond case. Lopez’s “exposé” set its sights squarely on what he alleged was a disparity of protest between the death of a white woman, and the deaths of black men in the hands of police.
The article took this “observation” and proceeded to use selective quotes from “right-wing” media as proof of bias, and white systemic racism. Lopez equated “blonde, white Justine” with innocence, and “Noor’s blackness” with crime in an attempt to paint the right-wing media as racist. By doing so he furthered the stigma of crime with African American ethnicity, something those deemed to be right-wing media never did.
Lopez constructed a racist narrative in the name of fighting racism. By publishing it VOX plugged themselves into a direct attempt to profit from a tragedy. This wasn’t “brave”. It was reckless because it embeds racism within the American community through a false narrative by allegedly uncovering hidden ‘systemic bias’’ against African Americans within right-wing media. The majority of racist narratives they will find are the ones planted there by Leftists.
To paraphrase a Booker T. Washington quote shared by David Webb in his address to Oxford Union in 2015,
There’s a class of people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of African Americans, before the public. Some of these people do not want African Americans to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs. There’s a certain class of race problems solvers, who don’t won’t the patient to get well.
Lopez’s apparent obsession with racism illustrates how the leftist media wallows in its own systemic bias. Then psychologically projects that onto their opponents. To borrow Melanie Phillip’s assessment of Al Gore’s apocalyptic climate change propaganda film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’: there’s a tendency to ‘state a threat where none exists, or exaggerate threats where they may exist.’ [i]
The media coverage about Justine’s death infers that mainstream media willfully look for confirmation of their narrative. Call it confirmation bias, call it manipulative propaganda. Regardless of the name given to the process, it seems that if the largely leftist-controlled mainstream media can’t find that confirmation, they’ll construe words, and events, even hijack the emotion of a tragedy, and milk it for political leverage. In Lopez’s case, a well-intentioned fight against racism becomes racism, by giving tragic events a racial twist.
Those on the Right aren’t exempt from promoting half-truths that confirm a certain narrative either. However, the difference between both political isles is that the Right are often more tactful about it, and they don’t get away with it as much as those on the Left. Most, at the very least, refrain from using the suffering of others as a means to promote their own virtue or piety. For the Right it’s generally about addressing the argument, not attacking the people.
For evidence of this chase down any number of examples where Conservative voices have been blocked, banned, or suspended on Social Media sites for even the smallest “infringements” of their EULAs.
One quintessential example of this is the treatment of Tommy Robinson, and Free Hong Kong supporter, Avi Yemini, in contrast with the free ride given to foul-mouthed feminist, Clementine Ford by the Leftist mainstream media, and Social Media platforms.
For both sides, what tends to get lost in the noise is clarity.
In Justine’s case, the urgency for law enforcement reform is drowned out by a narrative of racism that is superimposed over the top. As her family recently stated, ‘the fact that another person has died at the hands of the Minneapolis police using excessive force shows that they have not made adequate changes to their practices and training as we had been told they would after Justine’s murder.’
There is no real justice for Justine or George if their murders are used as a springboard to further entrench the false narrative of white systemic racism. Yes, racism exists. It’s an undeniable reality, which among others, proves the accuracy of the biblical indictment about the condition of the HUMAN heart, the biblical injunction against sin, that all have sinned, and God’s decisive gift of liberation from it in Jesus Christ.
Instead of focusing on the issue, which was supposedly the abuse of power by law enforcement; instead of pushing for reform of the culture, practice, and training, the Leftist mainstream media chose to tilt at windmills, chasing the “white supremacy crisis” narrative they’ve been pushing since Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election.
That narrative is now costing lives. I think it’s fair to say that if Justine’s death hadn’t been hijacked to confirm the bias of those on the Left, who now sadly, are so thoroughly dominated by the inflexible and intolerant Leftist ideology, George Floyd may still be alive today.
As we say George Floyd’s name, may we say Justine Damond’s also.
[i] Phillips, M. 2010. The World Turned Upside Down, Encounter Books