South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Politicization of tragedy is derailing conversations we should be having


The problem with over-publicized tragedy is that mourning and grief is given a small window of time before it is overrun by political stances. 

We live in a highly reactionary world, where both political parties can find issues with mainstream events and occurrences. 

Mollie Tibbetts was reported missing on July 18, and for over a month, there was an outpouring of support on social media for Mollie and everyone her age; safety tips seemed to be the most highly-shared posts. 

When Tibbetts’ body was found — and her death confirmed — those who had been invested in the her story grieved. 

Cristhian Rivera was charged shortly after her body was found and the conversation quickly turned from one about the atrocities of Rivera’s act, to one that dredged up arguments regarding immigration policies. 

Tibbetts’ family blatantly rejected the calls to action against the Hispanic community. Her father told the Des Moines Register the Hispanic community was extremely helpful to him and sensitive to his situation while he was searching for his daughter. 

In an interview with ABC News, Rivera’s lawyer refused to comment on his client’s citizenship, saying that it had nothing to do with his actions.

The media’s shift in attention takes away from the tragedy of Tibbetts’ death, and it takes away from the compassion that her story, and all of the stories like hers, deserve. 

We, at The Collegian, want to help redirect the conversation. 

In the first few weeks after her disappearance, social media turned into the hot spot for informative and encouraging messages, all in hopes to protect young men and women from the relevant sex trafficking problem in the Midwest. 

When immigration policies came into play, the conversation was completely rerouted. If the people we voted into office invested as much energy into solving the sex trafficking issue as they invest in making radical statements about walls and documentation then tragedies like Tibbetts’ wouldn’t be so easily politicized. 

For a short period of time, Tibbetts’ story wasn’t about the left or right, it was about protecting ourselves and our loved ones.

We encourage everyone, regardless of political affiliation, to step away from their keyboards and consider the real issues of the evil in the world, not the immigration policies. 

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.

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