Normally I do not like to discuss controversial issues, like immigration, so soon after the horrific murder of someone. But, several anti-immigrant politicians have invoked Mollie Tibbetts for their immigration rhetoric. Tragically, Miss Tibbetts is not alive to share her thoughts about the issue. However, those closest to her have chosen to be the voice for Tibbetts making their thoughts important to the national debate. As such, their voices should be part of the dialog.
I’ve elected to leave the language as posted, so if bad words offend you, please skip this post. I have also not corrected the grammatical or spelling errors.
The first voice came from her 2nd cousin, Samantha Lucas on August 21, 2018. Lucas wrote on Twitter:
“hey i’m a member of mollie’s family and we are not so fucking small-minded that we generalize a whole population based on some bad individuals. now stop being a fucking snake and using my cousins death as political propaganda. Take her name out of your mouth.”
Another cousin, Sandi Tibbetts Murphy, followed on Facebook with a post on August 24, 2018.
No, no and no.
Especially for those of you who did not know her in life, you do not get to usurp Mollie and her legacy for your racist, false narrative now that she is no longer with us. We hereby reclaim our Mollie.
Mollie was a young, intelligent, caring woman with a ready smile and a compassionate heart. So many across the state of Iowa and the entire country embraced her, and us, as we all searched and hoped for her safe return. It was not to be. Mollie was killed, and a man has been arrested and charged with her murder. Yes, that man is an immigrant to this country, with uncertainty as to his legal status. But it matters not. He could have been a citizen, born in this country; he could have been an older, white man from anywhere; he could have been a man from Mollie’s world. He is a man, whose path in life crossed that of Mollie’s life, with tragic results. He is a man who felt entitled to impose himself on Mollie’s life, without consequence. He is a man who, because of his sense of male entitlement, refused to allow Mollie the right to reject his advances – the right to her own autonomy. Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say no.
Our national discussion needs to be about the violence committed in our society, mostly by men, as seen by these grim statistics from the FBI:
• 89.5% of murders are committed by men.
• 98.9% of forcible rapes are committed by men.
• 80% of violence against families and children is committed by men.
• 85% of intimate partner violence is committed by men.
We must be willing to address the way we raise our boys and young men, so that violence is not a part of their response to this world. Like the recent murders of the Colorado family or the similarly tragic homicide of Kate Steinle, Mollie’s death is further example of the toxic masculinity that exists in our society.
Mollie’s murder is truly tragic and horrifically painful for all of us who knew and loved her, the extinguishing of a treasured spirit much too soon. It is not your right to exacerbate this grievous act by hijacking Mollie and all she believed with your racist fear-mongering. You do not get to use her murder to inaccurately promote your “permanently separated” hyperbole. You do not have permission to callously use this tragedy to demonize an entire population for the acts of one man.
No. We reclaim our Mollie.”
On August 26, 2018, Rob Tibbetts, Mollie’s father, was quoted by the Des Moines Register as stating:
“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”
The bottom line is that Mollie Tibbetts was murdered by an animal that has no place in any society. Murderers come in all shapes, colors and social-economic statuses. They do not represent anyone but the evil of a murderer.