No, no and no.
Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us. We hereby reclaim our Mollie.
Mollie was a young, intelligent, caring woman with a ready smile and a compassionate heart. So many across the state of Iowa and the entire country embraced her, and us, as we all searched and hoped for her safe return. It was not to be. Mollie was killed, and a man has been arrested and charged with her murder. Yes, that man is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty as to his legal status. But it matters not. He could have been a citizen, born in this country; he could have been an older, white man from anywhere; he could have been a man from Mollie’s world. He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie’s life, with tragic results. He is a man who felt entitled to impose himself on Mollie’s life, without consequence. He is a man who, because of his sense of male entitlement, refused to allow Mollie the right to reject his advances – the right to her own autonomy. Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say no.
Our national discussion needs to be about the violence committed in our society, mostly by men, as seen by these grim statistics from the FBI:
• 89.5% of murders are committed by men.
• 98.9% of forcible rapes are committed by men.
• 80% of violence against families and children is committed by men.
• 85% of intimate partner violence is committed by men.
We must be willing to address the way we raise our boys and young men, so that violence is not a part of their response to this world. Like the recent murders of the Colorado family or the similarly tragic homicide of Kate Steinle, Mollie’s death is further example of the toxic masculinity that exists in our society.
Mollie’s murder is truly tragic and horrifically painful for all of us who knew and loved her, the extinguishing of a treasured spirit much too soon. It is not your right to exacerbate this grievous act by hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering. You do not get to use her murder to inaccurately promote your “permanently separated” hyperbole. You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.
No. We reclaim our Mollie
I posted to following comments on my wife’s page:
First, this piece was posted by the victim’s sister, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, on her page. She appears to be speaking for herself, not the whole family. That said, I agree with her that Mollie Tibbetts’ murder should not be exploited to imply that all illegal immigrants are violent criminals. I cringed when I saw some doing just that. Rivera is one single illegal immigrant, not representative of all illegal immigrants. But I take issue with the rest of the Murphy’s statement. It morphs into a smear piece against men and political dissenters.
The statement calls for “Our national discussion . . . to be about the violence committed in our society.” Fair enough. But it blames “toxic masculinity” for the violence generally and for Tibbetts’ murder in particular. Merriam-Webster defines “masculine” as A: “male” and B: “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man.” Violence is not a “quality.” Nor is violence “appropriate to” men. She cites FBI statistics to “prove” her case. But statistics, of course, are worse than damned lies. The statistics Murphy cited notwithstanding, the vast majority of men do not commit violence. That nonviolence doesn't make them unmasculine. Rivera is one single man, not representative of all men.
The statement condemns “those of you” for “hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering.” While the exploitation of Mollie’s murder to make a point against illegal immigration may be unsavory, you can’t automatically assume that opposition to illegal immigration equates to racism, as Murphy implies. Those using her murder to make a statement against illegal immigration may be using bad judgement. But they are not necessarily racist. The tarring of masculinity as violent, as this statement does, is itself racist--against the male race. The tarring of all opponents of illegal immigration as racists is, if not racist, certainly unjust.
As a husband, father, and grandfather, my sympathies go out to this family. I recognize that anger and grief can cause people to say thinks they may later regret. But, I cannot give my unqualified endorsement to Murphy’s statement. It seems she engaged in the same tactic as she chastises others for; using her sister’s murder to advance her views on a controversial issue, in this case immigration and gender--in the process painting entire groups with a broad brush. Murphy concludes, “You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.” Neither do you, Sandi.
I speculated that Murphy's language was the work of a political activist. My suspicion was confirmed when I read the following from Marxism in the Mainstream:
It bears repeating: “today’s political left” has a “neo-Marxist view.” The watchwords of this ideology are commonplace. As Jordan Peterson said to Tucker Carlson, any time you hear the words “equity, diversity, inclusivity, white privilege, systemic racism, any of that” you are hearing someone spout off their neo-Marxist indoctrination. One might also add terms like “tolerance,” “multiculturalism,” “toxic masculinity,” and people “of color” (code for “the oppressed”). [my emphasis]
I had never heard the term “toxic masculinity.” But it sounded like a Leftist slogan. I was right.
I continued to discuss this in the comments section. You can follow the conversation on my wife’s page, where you can find three comments and 25 replies (so far).