Playing politics with the memories of victims
Several reporters who reached out to me last week to learn more about Tess Majors mentioned that the tragedy had touched New York in a way they had not seen in years.
Predictably, sadly, that outpouring of emotion for Tess and for her family has started to take a dark turn.
I hate to say that it was inevitable, but that’s the world we live in.
A vigil for Tess last night featured a speech by a New York City Council member about poverty in New York turning young people to crime, which, if all we were talking about was an attempted robbery, even then, you’re pushing things to justify the crime by making poverty the root cause, but we’re not talking about an attempted robbery here, rather the wanton taking of a life.
That episode came hours after a police union head used Tess as a political wedge against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a radio interview, bringing into the mainstream similar nonsense comments from de Blasio critics that had been soiling social media the past several days.
So, Tess is used to kneecap the mayor, from the right, to rationalize crime as a logical outcome from the ravages of capitalism, from the left.
Bill de Blasio, as a public official, is not above reproach, and there are no doubt countless reasons to raise question with his management, policy directions and the rest as New York City mayor, as there are countless reasons to raise question with any public official.
Poverty, education, economic opportunity, equal opportunity – all debates that we need to have, because we’re not getting it right, in myriad ways.
None of either have anything to do with Tess.
She’s not a weapon to use against a mayor.
She’s not a footnote in a public-policy discussion.
Those discussions, those political debates, all worth having.
There are other ways to have them.
Just as there will be other senseless tragedies where this cycle will play itself out, and other families who will see their loved ones turned into political footballs.
Please, some consideration for them, as they mourn their loved ones, and endure having their names dragged through the mud in the process.
When the world has moved on from Tess, her family will still be grieving, for the rest of their days.
Let’s all please just try to remember that.
Story by Chris Graham