To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hate's On the Rise...Because We Say It Is

Baltimore is a violent city. Pretty simple. I'd have thought that the local daily would be aware of this. Turns out not so much...Or perhaps they are using one isolated instance of white, neo-nazi thugs assaulting an elderly black man as evidence for a easy-to-write scare piece about hate crime on the rise. That wouldn't be possible...would it? Baltimore Sun piece titled Hate Rise?:

When people pack assault rifles at presidential forums and town-hall meetings dissolve into shouting matches, it's easy to imagine such anger spilling over into the nation's simmering stew of racial prejudice.

A day after a self-proclaimed white supremacist was arrested in Baltimore for attempted murder in an assault on a 76-year-old black man, law enforcement officials and politicians expressed concern Wednesday that the tenor of current politics could prompt an increase in hate crimes.

"I think that for people who may be on the fringes already, the mood right now in the country might just be the little push they need to act on their feelings," said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger. "Fortunately, we're not seeing that just yet."
Actually, it is pretty hard to imagine honest -- but passionate disagreement on a huge national policy issue "spilling over into the nation's simmering stew of racial prejudice." What I can imagine is a couple of thugs who happen to be white, senselessly beating the shit out of an elderly black man for no other reason than they didn't like the way he looked. You know why I can imagine it? Because pointless violent crime happens all the fucking time in this city -- And it has nothing to do with a national debate on health care! The Sun disagrees though...I think:

There is no telling whether Calvin E. Lockner, 28, the man charged in the beating early Tuesday, was inspired by the national brawl over health care reform, but he told police officers that he "did not like people who were different from him."

Lockner goes by the nickname "Hitler," a name ascribed also to President Barack Obama by some of his more virulent critics.
Wait -- So there's no telling if the neo-nazis beat up the black guy because they don't like the public option being back on the table? Great reporting. What other assumptions are you going to throw out there with the caveat that there is "no telling" if it's true or not? Why not just report what you actually know about the case instead of further stoking racial tensions? Not sexy enough? Doesn't draw the same amount of page hits?

Related: Nick Gillespie takes on the subject (though not the Sun article in particular.)

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