Normally, liberals stress the idea of our autonomous will. They believe that our "agency" should determine our life paths in all respects.
Yet when it comes to violent crimes of black men against white women the idea of active wills and agency suddenly fades away. Instead of speaking of an evil act committed by the perpetrator against the victim, the event is written of passively as a "tragedy" for both parties involved.
Lawrence Auster's most recent example is the brutal murder of a 17-year-old white girl, Lily Burk, in Los Angeles by a 50-year-old black man, Charlie Samuels. The Los Angeles Times reported that a "collision of two worlds may have led to girl’s death" and that "chance brought the two together on a quiet, tree-lined street." It's as if no-one was really to blame, there was no evil intent, just a random act of fate. Hence the "tragedy".
There's also the somewhat different case of Natalie Novak, a 20-year-old Canadian. She chose to stay in a relationship with a violent, married, 33-year-old Ethiopian, Arssei Hindessa, who twice bashed her in public. The pair quarrelled one night, Hindessa locked the door and stabbed Natalie Novak fatally nine times before disfiguring her body.
The Toronto Star did report the judge's description of the attack as "extreme butchery and degradation". But the reporter wrapped up his article with this terrible quote from a defence lawyer:
This is a tragedy for everybody, a young man will spend most of his adult life in prison and it's a tragic loss of life for a young woman.
We usually think of a tragedy as some unfortunate, unforeseen event, some act of malign fate, bringing suffering to good, well-meaning or innocent people. On the stage, it was a hero or heroine who was brought undone by fate or perhaps by a flaw in an otherwise noble character.
It's difficult to find a "tragedy" in this sense in the crime under discussion. The Ethiopian was not a young man, but a 33-year-old who repeatedly and knowingly broke the law and committed acts of violence. The report describes him as "physically abusive and a philanderer who financially exploited his wife, Indisar Buba-Rashid, during their four-year marriage". He is a dangerous man of low character who predictably has landed in jail.
The victim of the crime chose to place herself in a situation of great danger. Even after being bashed twice in public by her boyfriend, she chose to stay with him. She selected as a boyfriend a much older married man from a completely alien background with a predilection for violence. This is not the same as a tragedy in which a person is struck down by events they cannot control.
But what can explain media reports which turn brutal acts of murder into a passive tragic fate of two equally unsuspecting, equally affected people? In some ways it's surprising that the liberal media would do this. As I mentioned earlier, liberalism tends to emphasise the idea of a radically autonomous individual who self-determines every aspect of his identity and his life path. It therefore reads oddly when this radically autonomous individual is suddenly lost in media reports of murders and replaced with a notion of fate, and not choice or free will, as determining our life outcomes.
Furthermore, liberals often state as their moral ideal the principle that you can do anything you like as long as you don't directly harm the life or liberty of others. In the case of murder, it's clear that the principle has been violated. So liberals ought to be able to hold the line on this issue.
So what goes wrong? I'm not sure I can explain it to my own satisfaction at the moment. But it's possible to speculate. Imagine the situation of liberals who believe:
a) that people are in their natures good and only act to harm others because of ignorance, superstition or prejudice
b) that the moral thing is doing what you want and that it is therefore wrong to judge the moral actions of others (i.e. they believe in a radical form of non-judgementalism)
c) that there is no absolute, objective moral truth but only moral convention or perhaps no moral truth at all
If a liberal believes some combination of the above then he may not have a strongly developed sense of individuals actively choosing to commit acts of evil. Liberals can have a keenly developed sense of "political crimes" in which one group organises to limit the autonomy of another group as an act of power or prejudice. This means that a liberal might be able to see the murders discussed above as a crime of men against women (and the Toronto Star report does spin things this way somewhat). But given that the perpetrators are black and the victims white there doesn't seem to be a political crime in progress here for liberals.
So it's all explained in neutral terms as two people colliding, as a tragedy befalling two people, as a more minor offence gone wrong (a "botched robbery"), almost as happenstance.