You may or may not believe it, but this is a true story.
On July 24, 2015, R_____ and J_____, family name withheld, were loitering in the dusty parking lot behind a townhouse complex when they saw a heap of recyclables perched against a back entrance. Their original inclination was to push the stack over, but the resultant mess was not enough to keep their interest. Paper flyers flapped over the lot. R_____ smashed a bottle that he had been drinking from, and used it to refract the sun into the stack of papers. It is presumed that they stood there for quite some time before the recyclables began to smoke, and for the fire to catch.
Given the proximity of the stack to the back entrance of the townhouse complex, it did not take long for the papers to ignite the structure. Flames reared and smoke poured. R_____ and J_____ leapt onto their bikes and rode to the adjacent park to watch the townhouses burn. People exited the doors, screaming. It was not long before sirens were heard.
The townhouses were engulfed by flame. As it was the middle of that particular July 24th day, you would assume that everyone was awake and could escape the fire. But this is not the case. A Somali family was in the far unit, and for whatever reason could not escape. Three adults and five children burned in the fire.
Overheard in a shopping mall, Savannah, Georgia:
“Do you have change for a ten? I want to buy some tennis balls.”
“What are you going to do with tennis balls? You don’t play tennis that I know about.”
“Well you don’t know it all, do you?”
“Here then, fine. Say, did you hear about that thing in Chicago?”
“The burning? Sure. Done on purpose. Domestic terrorism they’re calling it. Targeted killing.”
“What’s this world doing to itself? How come these people do this stuff and can’t just leave us alone?”
“Suppose they want to tell us how to live. Make their rules in our country. They’re taking over, you know.”
“That’s so. Come on now. Let’s buy your tennis balls. I want to see what you do with them. Going to follow you around all day until you prove to me that you have a use for them.”
Excerpt from an editorial, Chicago Tribune, July 28th 2015:
…but the most remarkable thing about this act of terrorism – of how it is specifically intended to scare the rest of us – is how blatantly the townhouse complex was targeted. This was a carefully-orchestrated killing, make no mistake about it. How can we let this continue? How can we let these people scare us off our own soil? These so-called white folks are a plague. They kill indiscriminately. They try to impose their views on the rest of us. And they won’t stop – this is just the beginning. White people are by far and away the largest criminal demographic in this country. They represent the largest segment of incarcerated individuals. They are the most likely to be alcoholics and child molesters. Yet we let them do whatever they want – even elect their own people. And what do our leaders do about it? Two days after the townhouse burning, our President was seen giving a speech in California about the economy. The attendees at this function? White people. Dozens and dozens of white people, as though what happened in our city doesn’t matter. As though it didn’t happen, and these white folks aren’t responsible…
A blue unmarked car slides up to a parked van on an empty stretch of asphalt. A man in sunglasses gets out, and opens the rear door to the van – inside are two people, staring out the tinted window at a church across the street. It’s Sunday morning, August 2nd, 2015. The church parking lot is full of cars.
“What are they doing in there?” asks the man in sunglasses.
The woman holding the listening device takes out an earphone. “Praying. Hard to make out the words, but they’re talking about righteousness and fearing God.”
Sunglass-man shakes his head. “This isn’t the only one, you know. This is happening all over the country, right now. These people are organized. They’re connected. And they don’t give a shit if we know about it, which is why they congregate like this, in the middle of the day right out where we can see them. They’re not afraid of us.”
The woman sits back. “Now they’re talking about Chicago, the burning. They don’t sound very upset about it. Talking about R_____ and J_____, calling them two lost misguided souls… I’m getting this on tape.”
“Good,” says the man. He surveys the church. It’s shining in the sunlight, and he thinks that it must have been recently-painted. If he listens closely enough, he can hear the singing inside, a strange song that sends a tremor through his veins. He takes his sunglasses off.
There’s no point in hiding anymore. There is no hiding from this.
“Oh shit,” said the husband, peering out the window. A moving truck was pulling into the house next door. He was staring at it through the shutters. “Come look at this!”
The wife sprinted down the stairs, “What?”
He held the shutter open. “The new family next door. You won’t believe this. You just won’t.”
She swore. “Oh my god… white people. Really? They had to move here? We just bought this house two years ago, this is going to sink the property value!”
He shook his head. “It should be okay as long as more don’t move in. I’m more worried about the smell. These white people like to cook animals outside. Stinks up the neighborhood. And they like to walk around without shirts on, and throw beer cans into the bushes. They make a mess everywhere.”
“Have to make sure we don’t let our kids play with them,” she returned. “People like this are always trying to convert children over to their religion. Put the shutters down – they’re looking over!”
The living room was plunged into shadow. Together, they peeked through the edge of the blinds as the truck doors opened and furniture starting moving into the house. Everything was a drab cream colour. It all looked cheap under the sunlight, as though it had been passed down from hand to hand over many generations. Out it came, in a long line that just seemed never to end.
R_____ and J_____, as the record shows, were arrested in a convenience store while buying sodas. They were led into the back of a police cruiser, at which point the extent of their crime was exposed. They were in jail that night. A procession of lawyers were in to see them, and phone calls flooded the police station as various interested parties attempted to have the boys released. This was not to happen.
Two weeks later, a trial began. The burning of a Somali family was clearly a hate crime, an affront to the country, an indicative crime attributed to the very character of these two boys: their middle-class upbringing, their reasonable education, even the nice bicycles that they had used to flee the scene of the incident. As the surge of support for these two wayward boys rose, so did the feeling of antipathy and anger towards what these boys represented: the burgeoning, increasingly-powerful race of white people that were essentially taking over the country. A very specific call went up from the people: remove them, it said. Send them away. Find a new place. They are not from here. They don’t belong. If we let them stay, that will be the end.
And so R_____ and J_____, after their trial was finished and the nature of their terrorism confirmed, were sent away on an airplane. No one knows where. There is no record of the place that would accept people like this. More to the point, it doesn’t matter. There is a world out there, beyond the confines of this country. Anywhere is better than here.
But it is the aftermath with which we are most concerned. We sent two boys away to pay for their crimes, and to try to send a message that terrorism will not be tolerated. But what does that change? Go out tomorrow. Find an intersection. A bus stop. A park or a mall. Look around you. See who is there. What do you see? They are everywhere, these people. And there are more of them every day. Look at their crimes – these are the people who buy most of the drugs consumed in this country. Molest the most children. Own most of the guns. Rape the most college girls. Commit most white-collar crimes, responsible for the majority of crime-related revenues. But somehow we think this is okay. Somehow we don’t take to the streets to protest this. No, we’re fine with it. And maybe we’re so fine with it, so consumed with not acknowledging what is going on right under our noses, that we’ll be fine right up until the point where these people finally take over, and we lose this country. Forever.
***the pieces are not related specifically, but I thank Matticus for the inspiration for this post. Check out an excellent piece at: