A tragic death that was wrongly held up as a racial attack has forced many on the left to quickly backpedal, but a Democrat congresswoman is bizarrely doubling-down on her inflammatory rhetoric.
Back on Dec. 30, a 7-year-old girl named Jazmine Barnes was shot and killed in Houston. Barnes was black, a fact that should not matter but quickly became a major factor in the case.
At first, authorities thought a white man may have been involved in the crime. They posted details about a person of interest in the case, but made it clear that this was only one of several angles they were looking into.
As it turns out, two men have been arrested in the case and charged with capital murder in Jazmine’s death, according to USA Today. Both men are black, and authorites now think the killing was a case of mistaken identity.
The first arrest was announced Sunday. The second on Tuesday.
But before those arrests were made, and apparently eager to push a specific narrative, voices including “social justice” activist Shaun King used online platforms to openly declare that a racist white man had murdered the black girl, despite the fact that this was nothing but speculation.
“A 40 y/o white man w/ a beard … pulled up on 7 y/o Jazmine Barnes and her family near a Houston Walmart and shot and killed her,” King posted on Jan. 1 to over a million followers from his verified Twitter account.
URGENT. ALL HANDS ON DECK.
A 40 y/o white man w/ a beard in a red pickup truck pulled up on 7 y/o Jazmine Barnes and her family near a Houston @Walmart and shot and killed her and injured others.
I am joining the search for her killer and have a $25,000 reward.
Need him NOW. pic.twitter.com/ugfA2nJ1k8
— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 1, 2019
Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee quickly jumped into the fray. During a news conference on Friday, she declared that the girl had been the target of a racially motivated hate crime.
“I believe – and having written hate crime legislation, knowing the criteria, I believe that this should be looked at as a hate crime,” the outspoken liberal declared. “We don’t want to have on the street someone who is willing to kill children and possibly kill them in the name of hate.”
She said similar things the next day, saying “do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be — a hate crime,” according to ABC News and The New York Times.
An attorney working with Barnes’ family echoed the same theme, and seemed to blame the girl’s tragic death on widespread racism in America. “(W)e do believe that (the killing) was racially motivated in part because our nation at this moment is highly racially charged,” he declared, according to Fox News.
That narrative, of course, quickly fell apart with the arrests of the first black suspect.
Incredibly, however, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee refused to acknowledge that she may have wrongly rushed to call the incident a hate crime and essentially pin it on white America — when a black man has reportedly confessed to the killing.
“Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, when asked Sunday by a reporter about some of the comments made in the aftermath of the young girl’s death in Houston on Dec. 30, said it was ‘absolutely not’ irresponsible to make that suggestion,” Fox News reported.
“(N)othing is irresponsible when it comes to the loss of a precious 7- or 8-year old,” the Democrat pushed back.
Nobody disputes that the girl’s death was tragic and senseless, but for a sitting congresswoman to say that “nothing is irresponsible” when pushing potentially inflammatory narratives about a matter of life and death is an appalling statement.
Really, nothing is irresponsible, ever? What she’s essentially saying is that the ends always justify the means, at least when a victim happens to be a certain race.
What if a man had been wrongly linked to a crime he didn’t commit because people like Jackson Lee refused to wait before all the facts had come in? What if people incorrectly believed that racism was behind the girl’s death, and a wedge of hate between Americans was driven even further?
The fact of the matter is that yes, there is a point where this is very irresponsible. When someone is killed, what they and their families deserve is calm and clear-eyed justice, not widespread speculation and race-baiting.
Jumping to the wrong conclusions and making everything about race — facts be damned — is exactly how shameful lynchings used to happen in our country’s darker times. That was deeply wrong then, and would be just as wrong now even if the skin colors involved were switched.
We need less inflammatory rhetoric, not more. We need the patience to wait for facts, not a rush to push narratives over reality. Yet liberals like Jackson Lee seem to view everything through the lens of racism, even when it’s not there.
That’s sad … and if she truly wants a better America for all races, she should acknowledge that her words sowed seeds of division, and think carefully before fanning racial flames. We can all be better than that.