Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who Do You Hate?

Image from Wikipedia

Personally, I think a better title would have been The Hate Crime Most People Don't Think About ... "

If I'm an example of the average Joe Cripple, I catch almost any mention of such crimes that comes across The New York Times, Google News, or via Google Alerts. And it's funny how such stories play out in the media. For example, several years ago there was a gang rape of a young woman who was mentally challenged. I think it was somewhere on the east coast. The case dragged, and I never learned who was convicted of what. I know it made good fodder for a Lifetime television movie. And I know Law and Order (the original) did the story after a couple of years. In that story, the victim refused to testify because she would be labeled.

I've never had any one harass or try to intimidate me. But I once did something foolish when working with the public. I was in the office alone, and a middle-aged fellow came in to talk business. He strayed off into the things popping up in the news, as people do, and I was offering the usual, "Yeah, that's right." "Yes, that worries me too."

Then his politics turned into an anti-Semitic rant, truly vulgar and hateful and paranoid.

"The customer is always right," and I didn't own the business.

But sometimes enough is too much.

"You can't spout that crap in here. For all you know, my mother may be Jewish. I won't listen any longer. Get the hell out."

All that's paraphrased, of course, but I did tell him to leave, using a swear word or three, and I suggested he wasn't firing on all eight cylinders.

I don't know if all anti-Semitics are insane, but this one apparently was. 

I learned later that he rented a little cabin down on the river about five miles south of town, and a woman well-past seventy owned the farm. He was at her house one day, and she confronted him about something while they were standing on the porch. He picked up a brick and beat her into intensive care.

I think they locked him in a mental ward, but I don't know how long.

The problem of "hate crimes against people with disabilities" is illustrated in that example. 

Bullies prey on the perceived weak. 

It matters not the bullies' motives, whether it is a missing morality gene or something as primal as the instinct that propels certain species to kill (or eject to die) the weak or injured.

Anyone who has raised a flock of chickens knows that.

And the man, Jack Levine, who wrote the story linked was intelligent and sophisticated enough to cover that point, among others.

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