On the morning of August 26, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed on live television by Vester Lee Flanagan, who later shot and killed himself after the shootings. Flanagan, a gay black male, was a reporter for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. He had complained of being a victim of racism by his former colleagues and a former news station. The Huffington Post reports:
Flanagan filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in March 2000 against WTWC-TV. According to court documents, Flanagan, who is black, had been employed at WTWC as a newscaster and anchor. He alleged racism in his workplace and retaliation for reporting it. The parties reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.
Flanagan, in a suicide note, stated how the Charleston church shooting a couple of months prior in which Dylan Roof, a white male, took the lives of nine black people, was the last straw. He even praised Seung–Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter calling him his “boy”. Both of Flanagan’s victims were white, and Flanagan was intent to retaliate in what he believes is a race war.
As expected, many people immediately lost their minds on Twitter trying to latch the senseless shooting onto the Black Lives Matter movement:
If a disgruntled white ex-employee had shot 3 blacks, killing 2, the #blacklivesmatter crowd would already be in the streets looting.
#WDBJ shooter was a black SJW. Feminists and #blacklivesmatter are at fault here. Racists
#BlackLivesMatter Is at fault for #WDBJ. Make no mistake about it. We live in a world where you can lose a job and its “Racism’s” fault.
It’s hardly a surprise that this would follow this tragedy. Instead of expressing sympathy and sending condolences to the families of the victims, some people decide to use this opportunity to take a dump on a movement trying to save as many black lives as possible. Whenever something like this happens, you can best believe that they will find some way to blame this on black people. The action of one man is enough for them to blame it on an entire movement.
What most people fail to understand is that the Black Lives Matter movement is not about showing that the lives of some matter more than others. Living in this society has shown that that is true, but only in favor of whites. Instead, this movement is meant to show that all lives should be respected and treated as equal as others. In a racist society like America, black lives are considered expendable and worth less than that of whites. The Black Lives Movement is meant to show how wrong that is and that black lives are worth as much as white lives and should be treated as such.
Vester Flanagan’s actions should not and will not be counted as part of such a movement, nor should it define what Black Lives Matter is about. However, many racists have sought to attach his actions as the fault of the movement. As stated earlier, this is no surprise. Racists try to so hard to prove that Black Lives Matter is racist itself by countering with their own statement that all lives matter. But in America, all lives never mattered, unless they were white.
During this difficult time, let’s express our sympathies to the victims and their families. To use the shooting to unload one’s racism is utterly disrespectful to the lives and families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward and is harmful against a movement that seeks to uplift, honor and save the lives of those who are constantly disrespected in this nation.