On Friday, Salon magazine, never missing an opportunity to denigrate men, ran a piece titled, “In the wake of Mollie Tibbetts’ death, don’t blame immigrants for murder. Blame men.”
Writer Amanda Marcotte begins her screed by claiming that accused murderer Cristhian Bahena Rivera “is a Mexican immigrant, though his legal status is in dispute.” Marcotte makes that dubious claim based on the claims of Rivera’s attorney, despite the fact that both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have clearly stated Rivera was an illegal immigrant.
But as The Des Moines Register reported, “Yarrabee Farms, Rivera’s employer, issued a statement Tuesday night saying Rivera was vetted through the government’s E-Verify system. However, a government archive does not indicate the Brooklyn, Iowa, farm as a participating member of the system. On Wednesday, officials from the farm acknowledged they did not use the E-Verify system and that Rivera gave them false information.”
Calling right-wing pundits and Republican politicians “gleeful squadrons of vultures,” Marcotte segues to attacking the Trump administration, writing that President Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have “exploited this murder from the podium,” and have been joined in the effort by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Vice President Mike Pence.
Then Marcotte gets to the real target of her vengeful fury: men. She writes:
But if people want to talk about the link between demographic identity markers and violent crime — especially murders like this one — then they shouldn’t focus on ethnic identity or immigration status. There is one trait that Rivera has in common with the vast majority of people who commit crimes like this, and it’s not his skin color or the nation where he was born. It’s his gender.
Marcotte states further, “Instead of exploiting this situation to shore up a narrative about immigrants, people should be talking about how to change our social conceptions of gender so that men don’t resort to violence.”
Marcotte retells the apparent facts of Tibbetts’ murder, as detailed in police reports and what she terms “Rivera’s apparent confession”: “She was jogging and minding her own business until some guy started running alongside her and harassing her. She declined to give him attention, and he got angry with her. She threatened to call the police and Rivera says he blacked out after that. But he knew exactly where to find her body when the law caught up with him.”
But back to castigating men:
Women have a lot to fear from strange men. But the truth is that only 16 percent of female homicides are committed by strangers. More than half of women who get killed are murdered by a current or former partner. For violent men, the sense of entitlement to control over a woman is much greater if they’re in a relationship with her (or were in the past). So it makes sense, sadly, that that scenario can lead to murder.
Marcotte concludes that Tibbetts was murdered because her killer supposedly felt emasculated: ”… the murder of Mollie Tibbetts fits a well-known and well-documented pattern of men killing women because they can’t control them. That anger and entitlement is not inevitable, no matter what right-wingers claim to believe. Another way of viewing manhood, one that’s not about violence and control, is possible.”