I wonder what she was thinking as she tied her running shoes. Did she jog every day, or was this a spur of the moment idea? I don’t jog outside, but I used to. I loved the feel of the wind, and the fresh air filling my lungs. I never listened to music, only the sound of cars passing by or my own thoughts to keep me company. I never considered the thought that something tragic could happen to me. I would go through my neighborhood, down a side street and over to a county road. The road wasn’t paved and had several pot holes and no shoulder. Looking back, I can see how unsafe this was but it wasn’t until a truck slowed and began hollering at me that I ever stopped to think that maybe I shouldn’t be running by myself on back country roads. My current boyfriend is a police officer and all but forbids me to run at night by myself. Some would see this as paranoid, but I see it as protective. Mollie Tibbets probably never considered something bad could happen in her town. And now the world is left wondering why her? Could he have picked someone else? Would this have happened if she wasn’t running that night?
The news cycle is over. Her fifteen minutes of fame are up. It’s no matter that they were caused by a tragic murder. She did her job. She filled the spot, created an outrage, and her family was drug through the whole affair. No time to grieve, only time to ensure Mollie’s legacy was one of her own true self instead of a media creation. Her father spoke out. We all held out hope that she would be returned home until the news cycle shifted. A body was found. She was gone. More uproar but no one is focusing on the murder. It is immigration this, and immigration that.
Her death has caused a media frenzy with immigration at the forefront. They are framing her death as the result of our failing immigration policies. They are like buzzards circling their prey because her story can fit their agenda. An undocumented immigrant, who passed a government background check, murders a small town girl. It is a tragic story, but what about the other tragic stories? How many other women died that day? How many undocumented immigrants committed other felonies? This is not the first exploitation of a victim, and it will not be the last. President Trump used Kate Steinle’s death on the campaign trail to promote his ideas for deporting illegal immigrants living in the United States. I tried to locate a positive illegal immigrant story while working on this piece and came up with nothing. There are success stories, those of finally becoming a citizen or living the American Dream. I wouldn’t call this positive. It is very rare. Hell, I am not even living the American Dream. I’m not sure it exists in the same way it once did.
Studies show that immigrants do not commit more crimes but they are more publicized. The numbers are also skewed because of inaccurate reporting. Most studies focus on the criminals who make it to lockup. Not all do. Many are deported before being incarcerated. This is a cycle that is hard to break but is not a problem that is unique to immigrants. Criminals are criminals. One person does not determine an entire group. There are bad Americans, bad Canadians, bad Mexicans. Bad people find a way to do bad things, no matter the laws of the country. So why does the media throw this in our face?
We live in a 24-hour news cycle era. There isn’t a minute of the day where we can’t turn on the television and watch the news, slide open our home-screens and read an article about Trump’s latest Tweet, or look on social media websites to see the latest fatality accident blocking our way to work. We are becoming immune to violence and pessimistic about other people. This 24 hour cycle doesn’t allow for our brains to process the information before we are hearing about the next horrific accident, murder, fire, or abduction.
I watched a CBS clip of the Tibbets case where a man who had been convicted of harassment in the past that lived near her had been interviewed five times. He was asked to take a polygraph. He did not have any motive. Now, he has been brought into the news cycle. As well as the police who felt an urgency to solve this as the media pressured them for answers. The power of the media is not decreasing as some would have us believe. They still control the strings.
This was a case plastered across every media outlet around the world. Now, what are we hearing? Nothing. The media has moved on. They left her small town, her family, and her friends. The night she decided to go for a jog is a long distance memory. The streets have returned to normal. The last article mentioning Tibbets was posted back in October, it is now December. The new headlines are discussing Trump’s Stormy payments, the new chief of staff, and a call to oust Trump. Can we assume that no murders occurred last night? Or did they not fit the current agenda?
It’s time to change the agenda. It’s time to change the narrative.