Stalking the halls of his one-time elementary school here on Thursday, 23-year-old Brazilian Wellington Oliveira killed 10 girls and two boys aged between 12 and 14, most with shots to their heads, even as children begged him to stop.
The worst school massacre in Brazil's history ended when Oliveira, who was carrying a suicide note, took his own life after a police officer shot him in the leg and sent him toppling down some stairs.
Another 18 people were reported to have been injured and several were seriously hurt.
Witnesses said Oliveira entered the Tasso da Silveira school in Rio de Janeiro, which has about 1,000 pupils, at around 8.30am, armed with two pistols and an ammunition belt, shooting at students and repeatedly yelling: "I'm going to kill you all!"
Later reports corrected the reported number of those slain to a total of 11, but updated reports have done little to expand on a critical piece of information neglected in many reports: Oliveira’s Islamic extremism. An article at LibertarianRepublican.net observed that “The 36-paragraph AP article, makes no mention of his Islamic affiliation or beliefs. In fact, no American MSM are reporting on the Islamic link. CNN report, even suggests that he may have gone on the rampage over an infection with AIDS. Only a handful of right news blogs, are reporting the full story.”
An April 7 story for the New York Times does make several passing references to Oliveira’s beliefs, noting that in his suicide note, “He asked to be buried in a way that reflected some aspects of Islamic tradition,” and “A longtime neighbor and former member of Mr. Oliveira’s church said Mr. Oliveira had been a lifelong Jehovah’s Witness before turning to Islam two years ago.” Such details were only included after a gratuitous swipe against American schools that says more about the parochial views of the author of the article than it does regarding the tragedy in Brazil: “But the specter of the schoolhouse massacre was thought to be a mostly American affliction.”
In an interview with Radio Band News from Rio de Janeiro, Roselane, the foster sister of the shooter Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, 24, said he was very attached to Islam, do not go far from home and stayed the entire time on the computer. "It was very strange, had no friends, lived on the Internet, " said his sister. "He speaks of a Muslim business [negócio]." She said he lived alone for eight months, at a place near the school in the Realengo district. The boy's adoptive parents have died.
And the article notes that Oliveira’s intentions were immediately apparent to the Brazilian authorities:
In an interview with Globo News, Colonel Djalma Beltrame, commander of 14 Battalion (Bangor), confirmed that Oliveira left a letter indicating that he intended to kill himself. "It was a premeditated act, " said Beltrame.
According to the colonel, the letter was "confusing" and features “Islamic fundamentalist” content.
Undoubtedly, there will be many in the media who will attribute Oliveira’s actions to mental illness; but those who remember how the American media followed the lead of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and attempted to blame the "Tea Party," "talk radio," and the conservative movement, in general, for Jered Loughner’s alleged attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) can readily recognize the double standard.
It seems that for the media, the only time religion is not to blame for a person’s criminal actions is when that person is an adherent of Islam.
Photo: A women cries while attending the funeral of one of 12 children killed the day before in a school shootout in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 8, 2011: AP Images