January 24, 2006
The things nice people do!
I see that a sickening Philadelphia story involving the apparently random, near fatal beating of a Haitian immigrant has reached the attention of Drudge, who links to this Breitbart report. The facts are appalling enough simply because of the cavalier nature of what was done:
The Inquirer version reads differently, adding details about the victim's Haitian identity, and a discussion of whether this attack (which the police describe as "mind boggling") was a hate crime:
Four University City High School students have been arrested on charges of randomly beating and nearly killing a Drexel University graduate student by shoving him into traffic in West Philadelphia - all the while videotaping the attack, police said yesterday.If the facts are as stated and the victim was singled out at random, I don't see how could it legally be a hate crime. For starters, where's the hate? It would be as if a sniper just started shooting at whomever came along. (Well, no it wouldn't be. Because snipers use guns, and we all know that guns are the actual cause of shootings.)
What I find most appalling about this story is something that I keep seeing in reports involving horrendous crimes -- recitals that the accused criminals are actually good people. Breitbart quotes the mother of one of the accused:
Osbourne's mother said he was an innocent bystander who happened to be nearby and caught on tape.Yes, she did tell the Inquirer that, and I suppose it's something that a mother would be expected to say.
But the Inquirer also quotes teachers who say pretty much the same thing:
Jeffrey Rosenberg, a health and physical education teacher at University City High and the teachers' union representative in the building, said one of those arrested was a student in his class.I don't know how to react to this. Should I take Mr. Rosenberg at his word that he had a "good rapport" with "these kids"? I mean, assume that he was scared to death of them. Would he tell the Inquirer that?
The football coach of these is quoted as being "stunned" by the fact that a "nice young man" would do something like this:
Ken Gritter, University City High's assistant basketball coach, said word of the arrests had already spread among basketball players yesterday when he heard about them from a reporter.I'm wondering if we'll ever know why nice people behave like criminals.
Fortunately for law abiding firearms owners, there weren't any guns involved. (The word "children" seems to be reserved for occasions when a teenager gets shot.)
Still, there's the lingering question of what would make nice people go out and do something like this.
To make a video?
Video. That must be it.
I blame violent videos for video violence. Plus the easy availability and low cost of video equipment.
posted by Eric on 01.24.06 at 01:07 PM
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