Racism, Ignorance, 9/11, all wrapped up in one story

So after 9/11, a guy went on a shooting spree against people who seemed Arab as some sort of payback. He murdered one, a Sikh, and his victim’s name was placed on a September 11th memorial in his home state of Arizona because he was, in fact, a victim of that day. His death was due to blind racism and gut-reaction thanks to the attacks, and he absolutely deserves to have his name memorialized for this fact.

Remembering September 11th isn’t just about remembering that we were attacked by Al Qaeda. It’s about remembering who we were when that happened, what went right and what went wrong, and understanding that even in the face of tragedy what we cannot do is let it cloud our judgement. Remember September 11th because America is not invincible, and if we can’t keep our shit together when things go wrong, we’re in a lot of trouble.

An Arizona Republican (surprise), sees it differently. He wants Singh Sodhi’s name stripped from the memorial, proving that government time and resources are okay to use when it’s for idiotic flag-waving purposes. Get ready for a wash of stupid.

The bill, which passed both houses on party-line votes, was sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who said Monday that he did only a cursory Internet search on Singh Sodhi’s murder. Kavanagh said it was unclear to him that the shooting was directly related to 9/11.

However, Frank Roque, who was convicted of murdering Singh Sodhi, told Mesa police during a tape-recorded interrogation that he was consumed with hatred toward “Arabs” after 9/11. He admitted shooting Singh Sodhi and firing on two other targets that day: a gas station with Middle Eastern owners and a house Roque sold to people of Arab ancestry.

One can only wonder what “cursory Internet search” Kavanagh actually did if it didn’t involve the actual statements from the perpetrator. Best I can figure, it means he was aware that the murder took place, and then stopped there.

The reasoning behind this legislation is simple. There are pieces of the memorial that don’t fit in with the Republican story of “rah rah America, bomb the Muslims”. It highlights post-9/11 violence and denounces war and, as we all know, it’s impossible to commemorate 9/11 victims and disagree with war. The two notions are mutually exclusive.

As the Sikh community states, the memorial is about more than just the attacks. Unfortunately, that means admitting faults. Arizona Republicans clearly don’t like that idea.


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