According to the FBI’s website, “Congress has defined a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
Given this definition, it is inexplicable to me that the authorities found a 19-year-old college student was not the victim of a hate crime last weekend after he was asked if he were Jewish and then brutally attacked.
ABC News reported that the kid was attending a party near Michigan State University early Sunday morning when, he said, he was approached by two skin-head types who asked if he was Jewish. He reportedly said he was, and then the two men “raised their arms in a Nazi salute, chanting ‘Heil Hitler,’ and said they were members of the Ku Klux Klan” before attacking the kid. During the attack, the kid was beaten, his jaw broken and his lips stapled together, with staples also forced into his gums.
These monsters left the kid unconscious and when he woke up, he took a cab to a hospital where he underwent surgery, and later called police, according to the report.
However, the East Lansing police department reportedly said in a statement that they do not believe the assault was a hate crime.
Orwell would call this double-speak. Up is down, black is white, right is wrong and someone attacking a kid because he’s Jewish is not a hate crime.
It’s like in my own town several years ago, when the city’s only synagogue was vandalized and set on fire and police said this was not a hate crime. I wrote at the time, that in my experience, synagogues rarely spontaneously combust. Similarly, in my experience, if the subject of Jewishness comes up before or during a violent crime and/or if Nazi salutes and/or symbolism and/or positive references to Hitler inform a violent episode or other crime, this is rarely by coincidence. The perpetrators aren’t usually just making polite conversation when this stuff comes up – again, in my opinion.
Maybe, the explanation is as mundane as laziness. Maybe if a city reports a hate crime, the work level surrounding it increases.
According to the Anti Defamation League, the largest number of law enforcement agencies (14,977) since the start of the hate crimes annual report in 1990 participated in the 2010 collection of data. Yet, only 13 percent of these agencies reported a single hate crime to the FBI – the lowest number of agencies reporting one or more hate crimes since 2002. Disturbingly, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide did not report at all to the FBI, including at least three in cities with populations of 250,000 or more and at least twelve in cities with populations of 100,000 to 250,000, ADL reports.
So, maybe it just means more paperwork and unwanted attention to report a hate crime. Maybe, many agencies fail to identify a crime that pretty clearly meets the hate crime criteria, to save themselves a lot of trouble, hoping the incident won’t make national news.
This attack in Michigan has garnered some attention, so, we’ll see if that makes a difference in that police department’s ultimate findings.
Or, maybe it’s a sea change – a shift in public attitudes. Maybe something is not a hate crime anymore if the victim is not Black. Or, maybe, it’s just not a hate crime if the victim is Jewish. I know that, as far as the mainstream media is concerned, it’s not terrorism if the victim is Jewish or Israeli. That has become abundantly clear in recent years. Maybe it’s another manifestation of whatever sickness prevented the International Olympics Committee from suspending the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich after 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were kidnapped, held hostage, tortured and murdered even as the games went on as though nothing were amiss. Another example of the disease that prevented the committee from holding one minute of silence during the recent Games in London in honor of the 40th anniversary of that atrocity. Maybe, it’s more of that. But, I hope not.
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