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No time for speculation

A flurry of theories over the motives for the killing of a Popular Party politician is out of place

The commotion over the fatal shooting of Isabel Carrasco, the head of the Provincial Council in León and of the regional branch of the Popular Party (PP), is due to the victim’s notoriety and to the identity of the the two women who have been arrested for allegedly perpetrating this despicable crime.

All parties have suspended their European campaign activities as a token of respect and mourning — with a few notable exceptions, such as the Basque radical leftists, who conveyed their condolences to the PP and the victim’s family but failed to cancel their agenda. While it is debatable as to whether such an incident should alter the normal activities of an entire country, it makes sense that politicians should temporarily put their campaigning on hold, as well as their usual exchange of accusations, to focus on the underlying message: violence should never be viewed as commonplace or unimportant. And recognizing the importance of this and all other crimes also requires a condemnation of all the speculation over the alleged killers’ motives, or about the victim’s personality, as though these were valid explanations for the assassination.

It is one thing for the León crime to trigger intense feelings, and a very different thing to see this ominous carrousel of interpretations that has emerged to explain away the tragedy — interpretations ranging from the hostile environment toward politics in Spain to an expression of overflowing citizen anger. The desire to find an explanation for unsolved mysteries excites our need for instantaneous crime-solving and for information about all the causes and circumstances behind it. But it has also produced some shameful displays of contempt for the victim. Even the Socialist Party has had to demand that two councilors resign over unseemly comments published on the social networks.

We need to wait for proven facts, instead of attacking the victim’s memory or jumping to conclusions

Over the course of many years, ETA’s numerous attacks made Spaniards familiar with the reality of violence against politicians. But the long absence of crimes of this nature has made us forget about a decades-long phenomenon, and also about the fact that many other murders and homicides are committed each year with no political motives. Neither this context, nor the death of a public figure, should make us forget that the crime rate in Spain is relatively low compared with the European average.

Yet violence cannot be ruled out in our society. Barbaric behavior affects a wide range of people, and emotions are running high in this case, which seems taken right out of a noir film or a crime novel. But we need to let the police and the justice system do their work without influence from social pressure. We need to wait for proven facts, instead of attacking the victim’s memory, jumping to conclusions or falling into the toxic habit of speculation.

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