We heard about it yesterday as we got back in the car and turned on the radio. A Carabinieri was killed. Stab wounds in Rome. Immigrants did it. Africans did it. The country threw up their arms. A cop being killed is bigger here. All of the politicians jumped on it, “He was killed by two assholes. I hope they get them as soon as possible and that they end up in jail with forced labor for life,” Salvini said. “This is a time of great pain for the state. If it were to be non-Italian people who killed the Carabiniere, I hope that the prison time they get will be at home and not here, if they are illegal they should not be here, with the system of repatriation we must act more strongly,” Di Maio said. As we drove out of the mountains and down into the Arno valley, the radio repeated again and again. Policeman, killed, foreign.
Today the photos were released and a confession was made. Two American kids. A drug deal gone wrong. They stabbed him eight times. Their skin is white. Their passports are as blue as the striped buttondown that one was wearing when they were caught, and they haven’t burnt them like the refugees, they were going to use them to run back to the US – they’d booked plane tickets for Friday night.
I don’t know how the next few days will unfold. I don’t know what these politicians and papers will do with this new information if it’s proven true, though they seem to have a lot of evidence. Will the politicians hold onto their hatred for these kids, even if their skin is white and their passport blue? There shouldn’t be any difference – where they’re from doesn’t matter. What they look like doesn’t matter. Who they pray to doesn’t matter. If they killed someone, they should suffer the consequences.
But if they are convicted, will there be calls for all Americans to be ousted from the country? Cold-blooded killers they’ll call us. No one is safe with Americans around and their tendencies to murder. Will my neighbors spraypaint my front door with YANKEE GO HOME? Will I be shunned from my Italian friends? Will Rami be, because he’s married to one of “them”? Will I be slandered on the street because someone else from the same country decided to take a knife out? Will there be protests to send us all home? Put us in camps? “They’re sending people that have a lot of problems,” they’ll say about us. “They’re the reason for the drug problems and they’re bringing crime,” they’ll insist. “They’re pouring into our great country,” some Italians will say, talking about the millions of US tourists and students that infiltrate Italy every year, “who knows who they are — some could be murderers,” they could say. An American ban. Kick them all out. We don’t want them here. They’re evil, uncivilized people that are more like animals.
It won’t happen. Not like it has before for other groups of people. No one will look at me any different in the grocery store, or stop talking to me because I’m American, and I only wish that was the case for all people, everywhere. If it sounds ridiculous that someone would treat me differently here as an immigrant because of something like this, it’s because it is. But then I see news stories just like this one where one individual has done something so terrible, and I see them being used as an excuse for the hatred of entire populations, or religions, or jobs, or skin color, and it’s just so crazy how I won’t be touched by something like this, but if I looked different, or if it was another country, I may be nervous about leaving the house tomorrow, just because someone else I’ve never even met decided to murder a policeman or blow up a building.