Why we do this

It’s very easy to react in haste. It’s oh-so straight-forward to take the easy road and make with the knee-jerk reactions about a person, a community and an entire faith. I dare say I have been guilty of this in the past, and I will be guilty of it in the future as well. I only hope I can catch myself when I start down that road.

It takes more conviction to not behave like this. It takes but a moment to stop and think – am I being fair? Only yesterday there was a tragic attack on the streets of a town  called Birstall, England, where MP Jo Cox was killed. It would be very easy to start pointing fingers at certain groups – and indeed this has already started happening – but as with any situation like this, it takes but a moment for us to realise there is always more to what’s going on that first meets the eye.

At first there were suggestions that she had been attacked by a radical Muslim – but the facts are different. It would appear the suspect is a white male, British-born, with ties to far-right groups in both South Africa and the US (and we must be careful here, for this information is not, as far as I know, verified at the time of writing). He has alleged to have twice shouted ‘Britain First’ during his attack (Britain First is the name of a far-right political party here in the UK). His shouts may also relate to the upcoming EU Referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union (Mrs Cox was a Remain supporter).

This is where the scope of the reactionary approach saddens me. A woman has died, her husband and children must somehow rebuild their lives, and already this tragic event has been seized upon by Brexit supporters who argue this is a ‘false flag’ situation (that is, that what happened was somehow ‘planned’ by the Remain camp to damage the Brexit campaign). Instead of thinking things through and remembering that a person has died, there are those within the Brexit campaign (and I must stress, not all, not nearly all) who are trying to use this event for political advantage.

I don’t doubt that there will be Remain supporters who are right now doing the same thing, and I disagree with it from their campaign as much as I do Brexit’s. It is wrong, completely and utterly, to try and turn this into some kind of ‘points-scoring’ game. The focus should be on helping Mrs Cox’s family in what is a time of grieve and shock. It is not the time for finger-pointing, and if we all stop to remember that, we might be able to effect real change.

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