More on the San Antonio ICE office shooting

First thing this morning, Taylor looked at the shooting that took place at the ICE offices in San Antonio. While we can all be grateful that nobody was injured (though someone apparently missed taking a headshot by a matter of inches), I wanted to circle around and hit a couple more details. The first thing to note is that they took a suspect into custody earlier, but later cleared the person of any involvement and released them. Perhaps more interesting (and valuable) is the evaluation of these events from San Antonio Field Office Director Daniel Bible. (KENS News)

ICE ERO San Antonio Field Office Director Daniel Bible says the national discourse surrounding ICE and the topic of immigration is reckless, blaming today’s shooting on politicians, media and activists.

“This attack at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office in San Antonio is completely without justification,” said Bible. “Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts. ICE officers put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. This disturbing public discourse shrouds our critical law enforcement function and unnecessarily puts our officers’ safety at risk.”

Let’s keep in mind that this isn’t an isolated incident. Here are the attacks on ICE offices just from this summer.

Aug. 13 – San Antonio, TX
July 16 – Washington, DC
July 14 – Tacoma, WA
July 12 – Aurora, CO

The next thing to note is that most of the media appears to be treating this shooting as a “local news story,” as we so often say. As I’m writing this post this morning, I have seen a grand total of one mention of this on CNN today, though I suppose it’s possible I missed one. And there hasn’t been any deeper analysis of why it happened, etc. Just the straight “who, where, when, how” type of journalism. I checked on their website to see if there was more coverage and tweeted the results of my search.

The thing is, you can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to blame Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration for shootings targeting minorities, you can’t simply turn around and ignore this. We have Democratic presidential candidates, “squad” activists, cable news anchors and editorials from major newspapers constantly demonizing ICE, calling for it to be abolished and blaming all manner of human misery on immigration enforcement offices who are simply upholding the law.

How can you observe all of this in context and not blame their rhetoric for the fact that people are shooting up or trying to bomb ICE offices and last night came within inches of murdering someone? The answer is that you can’t, at least if you want to label yourself as an unbiased observer of events.

We’re also seeing far too much conflation of the various moving parts in these stories. That’s another reason I wanted to follow up on Taylor’s post. While he covered the facts of the case as we know them so far and was careful to insist that nothing excuses the actions of the person or persons doing the shooting last night, he spends four long paragraphs on all the rest of the noise. He talks about videos of crying children whose parents have been detained and questions whether we have the constitutional right to enact immigration restrictions. Links to stories about “concentration camps” and a humanitarian crisis are included.

As far as I’m concerned, none of that has a place in the coverage of any of these attacks. If you disagree with current immigration law or the policies guiding the actions of immigration enforcement agencies, fine. Protest those. Work to change them. Vote for Democrats if you want the agencies abolished and the borders open. All of these are options open to one and all.

But the urgent matter of the moment is the fact that people are shooting at and trying to bomb federal offices and personnel and if this keeps up, our luck is going to run out sooner or later and someone is going to be seriously injured or killed. If you want to use your opposition to immigration policy as a reason to cheer on, excuse or simply ignore these attacks, you are no longer part of a political debate. You are sanctioning terrorism. And if you are one of those high profile individuals who are out there demonizing ICE and you’ve been blaming the President for inciting violence, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.