For those that haven't been following what was horribly dubbed 'The Blue Moon Triple Murder' from July 28th in Pensacola FL, I urge you to do so. Whether or not you are Pagan, the misrepresentation of our faith and misleading comments about our practices made by both the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and several news stations, are not only false, but they have laid the groundwork for the next wave of hate crimes.
Following the discovery of three tragic murders, the unresearched and irresponsible comments of Sheriff David Morgan at a news conference claimed the horrific murders were ritualistic in nature. When questioned, he elaborated that "The method of the murder, blunt force traumas, slit throats, positions of bodies and then our person of interest has some ties to a faith or religion that is indicative of that." Based on the murders occurring on what he incorrectly believed to be the eve of the rare blue moon (which fell on. Friday 31st), the method of the murders and the person of interest's alleged affiliation with said faith practice, when questioned what religion, Sheriff Morgan said without hesitation "It's witchcraft."
This should have been the point when somebody questioned the Sheriff's source for reaching such Hollywood stereotypical conclusions, because any good reporter does not just accept statement as fact. . . but nobody did. Instead, one news station after another started posting headlines suggesting that whoever committed these gruesome murders was doing so in accordance with traditions of those who practice the Craft.
Adding insult to injury, NBC quickly quoted Sgt. Andrew Hobbes who then incorrectly used two terms synonymously when he said the murders "might be connected to some type of Wiccan ritual killing," showing further ignorance in his failure to distinguish the practice of Witchcraft from the religion of Wicca.
I (along with the greater Pagan community) was absolutely furious at the Sheriff's department for their complete failure to properly investigate what they believed to be religious ties to the case and the media's absolute absence of responsible journalistic reporting. Both whom have continued to show a lack of accountability for the domino effect they created in compromising not only my personal safety, but the safety of thousands of my Pagan brothers and sisters.
We are peaceful people as a whole. As a Wiccan, I follow the Rede "An ye harm none, do what thou wilt." There are no sacrifices of any kind in my practice or of an other Witch I know. In fact, most of us seem to favor meat free diets out of our immense respect for not only the life of man, but also that of animal. I tear up when I see animals on the side of the road for goodness sake! I use candles, crystals, cards, and herbs to help tune in to the Elements and energies, and I pray for peace, love, tolerance and positive change in the world just as many of my fellow practitioners of the Craft do.
And today? Today I am praying for Sherrif Morgan and Sgt. Hobbes and the media that they may find a way to clean up this mess they made spreading lies about us. I pray that tolerance and accountability leads them back to a path of love and light. I pray that the person responsible for these horrific murders be brought to justice and that those who are blinded by the veil of gullibility see that nobody who walks our path could've committed such terrible acts.
I urge all of you, whether you are Pagan or not, to demand accountability for the truth from those who have put our safety at risk, and who've attempted to take us back to The Burning Times (never again)! Please considering signing the petition at Change.org to demand that the Sherrif's office and the media Stop the Witch Hunt and seize further associations of any and all sects of Paganism from being linked to these murders. Don't stand by and watch the next wave of hate crime burn brighter than ever before.