Here's a comment I recently read on an Alternate Right blog:
Commenter: "UPDATED: Story of Syrian refugees raping Idaho girl is wrong, prosecutor says.
Shhhh, they were Somali..."
My first impulse, which I am glad I resisted, was to post a comment asking if Commenter had even read the article in the link. "Shhh, they weren't Somali, they weren't Syrian, they weren't even rapists. 'They' were a trio of juveniles aged 7, 10 and 14, from Iraq and Sudan who did....something..."
...and that's what stopped me from commenting, my uncertainty about what exactly had happened to the little girl, whose trauma is not to be minimized. Reading that the call that first came into the police was about "something less serious than a sexual assault or lewd and lascivious conduct," I wondered if the accusation was about a touch (such as a pinch) that was non-sexual in the boys' culture, but was considered sexual in ours.
But I did some more digging. I listened to an interview, aired on local station KITV, with a woman who described the scene in the laundry room, where she had found the two younger boys and the five year old girl. If it's true, her account reveals that the assault on the girl was indeed very serious. There's a reason why details for juvenile cases are not revealed to the public. In some ways, I wish I hadn't watched the interview. It made me sick.
I'm so angry about what happened to that little girl, I don't really feel like finishing this post.
But I'm going to, because I'm also angry that anti-refugee groups, unsuccessful in their campaign to keep Syrian refugees out of Idaho, disseminated half-truths which went viral on social networks and were picked up by news outlets like Drudge and World Net Daily. The stories feature accounts of Syrians refugees (no), who had taken over an apartment complex (no) and committed gang-rape (no), at knife point (no)...
If rapes of Americans by Syrian refugees are so common, why did the anti-refugee groups need to embellish this story? There must have been a real dearth of stories about refugees who are rapists if they had to pick this story and embroider it with such frightening details.
On the other hand, this event happened close-to-home, in their state, and they were frustrated by the lack of information the authorities were giving about the case. On the other hand, information is withheld from the public in all juvenile cases, not just this one. On the other hand, the disgusted townspeople shared the details they'd heard. That's what people on social media do.
On the other hand, Syrian refugees, who had nothing to do with this story, are coming from hell holes, and they have become targets of hatred in the land where they sought refuge.
There, mission accomplished. I've managed to put myself in the shoes of all parties involved, understanding the hurt and anger of everyone: the little girl; the parents of the little girl; the falsely accused Syrian refugees; the outraged neighbors of the little girl...
Gee WILLIKERS, I feel terrific!
The pain and the horror isn't just in Over-There-Istan anymore.
One of these days, it might end up right at my door.
Someone looking for trouble, or someone looking for help.