(UR) Reno, Nevada — The world distinctly remembers the evening of July 14, 2016, when a cargo truck drove straight into a crowd celebrating Bastille day in Nice, France, killing over 85 people. The perpetrator was identified as self-radicalised man of Tunisian descent, and the attack itself marked yet another vestige of the ominous wave of terrorism that has been sweeping across France and surrounding countries as of late.
This attack, like many others that preceded and succeeded it, was not only observed by all in horror and reported on extensively by the media, but it was also reiterated in commonplace exchanges and interactions for days, even weeks.
But when a pickup truck similarly rammed through a group of Native American protesters in Downtown Reno, Nevada, this past October 10, the incident went largely unnoticed by the international community. The group had gathered to peacefully march against Columbus Day, as they have done in previous years, to draw attention to the injustices their community continues to face, when they were targeted by the truck.
In footage described as ‘very horrifying’ by the Reno Police Chief, himself, the truck is seen driving through the crowd in full force, directly hitting a woman who was later hospitalised, and injuring others.
One protester described how the men had been at the rally beforehand, and how they deliberately drove up to where they were marching.
“This was planned, this was premeditated, this is what we deal with on daily basis as indigenous people,” the protester said in a Facebook video right after the incident.
“It can’t be justified as anything other than he has a racial problem with Indians,” another protester told CBS News.
But despite both protesters’ and bystanders’ confirmation that there was indeed an intention to do harm, the truck’s 18-year-old driver and 17-year-old passenger were only briefly questioned by the police and then released on the same day.
Three days later warrants were issued pressing only misdemeanour charges against the driver and two others in a disappointing move that was described by one of the protest organizers as an instance where ‘justice has not been served.’
Though the cases from Nice and Reno are not identical, the two incidents have more in common than the world has cared to admit. In this light, why we have chosen to treat one attack as an act of war against humanity and the other as simply a heated argument that took an ugly turn is something worth thinking about, to say the least.
In spite of what seems like a disheartening conclusion to the Reno attack, the indigenous community appears more determined than ever not to give up.
“This fight is far from over,” Quanah Brightman, executive director of United Native Americans Inc., told the Reno Gazette Journal. “We’re going to have to take it to the (Nevada) Department of Justice and then the Nevada Legislature.”
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