Is silence still violence? If it is, then a whole lot of people, from the Hollywood set to the virtue-signalling left, are guilty of some serious violence right now. Their silence on the Waukesha massacre, on the slaughter of six innocents by a man wielding his SUV as a deadly weapon, is deafening. More than that, it is sinister. Dancing grannies, an eight-year-old boy, people singing and cheering at a Christmas parade, all mown down. Six killed, 62 injured, in what police are treating as a suspected act of intentional homicide. That is, mass murder. And yet there’s been nothing from Hollywood stars who normally love to hold forth on terrible acts of violence. Influencers seem to have been struck dumb. There are no blacked-out squares on Instagram. The big woke corporations aren’t pumping out pained, concerned press releases. It’s just tumbleweed, everywhere.
This is the case of the brutal vehicular attack that took place at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday. The death toll was grim. Three members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies were killed, their ages 79, 71 and 52. An 81-year-old man succumbed to terrible injuries. Two brothers – 12-year-old Tucker Sparks and eight-year-old Jackson Sparks – were struck. Tucker survived, Jackson did not. The driver of the SUV was Darrell Brooks. We still don’t know why he did what he did, though the initial reports that he was simply driving very fast to get away from a knife fight appear, unsurprisingly, to have fallen apart. Who flees a fight by driving at high speed into a tightly packed crowd of people? Brooks has now been charged with five counts of intentional homicide. A sixth may soon be added, following the death of eight-year-old Jackson on Tuesday after undergoing brain surgery for his injuries.
Where is the anger over this? The social-media solidarity? The woke left’s ferociously tweeted concern about a rising tide of extremist violence? Even here in the UK the left and the Twitterati are able to rattle off the names of the three people shot by Kyle Rittenhouse – even while conveniently forgetting that one of them was a convicted paedophile – but I bet they couldn’t name a single victim of the far larger, seemingly more intentional act of violence carried out in Waukesha. The right-on remember and mourn the horrific killing of one woman by a far-right man who used his car as a weapon in Charlottesville in 2017, and yet already they’re staring awkwardly at the ground, virtually shrugging their shoulders, over the killing of six people by a man using his SUV as a weapon in Waukesha. Is this act of violence less important? Less horrific? Why?
Yes, the wretched events in Waukesha are being covered in the media. Of course they are. But there is unquestionably something missing – the something that always, without fail, follows acts of violence carried out by white nationalists or increasingly, if we’re being frank, white people full stop. What’s missing are the angry talking heads on ‘liberal’ news outlets. The ceaseless tweeting about the scourge of violence in modern-day America. The ostentatious IG posts about the relentless rise of hate in our society. The frenzied efforts to pin the blame for this suspected act of mass murder on a politician or a commentator, on anyone who has ever said something too heated, too allegedly prejudiced. We saw that in relation to Rittenhouse. There was an explosion of it after Charlottesville. But now? All those folks are schtum.
Even the media coverage is radically different to the kind of reporting we see in the wake of other forms of violence. It is passive, treating the massacre almost as a natural disaster. Or as the evil handiwork of the SUV itself. ‘Here’s what we know so far on the sequence of events that led to the Waukesha tragedy caused by [an] SUV’, said the Washington Post. Caused by an SUV. The agency of the suspect is diminished. The problem, it seems, is killer SUVs. We seem to be witnessing in the wake of the Waukesha massacre the same kind of attempted manipulation of the emotional response that we see after acts of Islamist terrorism. It’s sad, regrettable, awful even, but don’t look back in anger. Don’t obsess over it. These things happen.