...to indict the proverbial ham sandwich.
I woke up this morning and was certain I was in Through the Looking Glass country. This story, which is being parodied in lots of places, needs no parody. It is a caricature of what our country is becoming, but sadly the caricature is reality.
'Hate incident' in city
, Thursday, April 19, 2007 LEWISTON - One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.
On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.
The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig's head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.
The school incident is being treated seriously as "a hate incident," Levesque said. Lewiston police are investigating, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan.
"We've got some work to do to turn this around and bring the school community back together again," Levesque said.
Okay, rewind this please? A middle school prank, immature by definition, is now a HATE CRIME?
Hold on just a minute. Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't an act have to be a crime FIRST, before it can be a hate crime? And putting a brown bagged ham sandwich "near" someone, even if done maliciously, is a crime? Please, tell me it ain't so. Because if it is, there's a whole bunch of us who are felons many times over from our childhood on.
(I will admit here that my mind is boggled by the whole concept of "hate crimes" anyway. I think here one of the unintended consequences is that a crime committed by a homosexual on another homosexual, or black-on-black crime, for instance, doesn't get punished as harshly as "inter-group" crime. I mean, if we want to reserve the stiffest sentences for the really bad sensitivity-breachers, then we have to tone down the punishment for the exact same crimes when they're committed inside one's own group. Crime is crime, and we should have standards for punishment of the severity of a crime, not the motivation.)
Okay, so true to my habit of seeing where this goes, let me ask this question: How CLOSE to the Somali students would the ham sandwich have to be in order for this to qualify as a hate crime? Two feet? Six feet? How about fifteen feet away and they could smell it and THAT was offensive? How about if the students aren't Muslim, but they're vegetarians and they're offended by meat of any kind and some mean middle schooler pushes his burger toward them? Do vegetarians qualify for victi-crat status?
Oh dear. Well how about if your middle schooler tauntingly waves a piece of candy at a classmate who is diabetic?
But unfortunately none of these professional do-gooders tend to think of the unintended consequences (to say nothing of the absurdity of the intended ones) before embarking on a crusade to get people to be more "sensitive." Now we're resorting to calling old-fashioned meanness and even just immaturity a hate crime. I can nearly guarantee you that if there's anything you dislike intensely, okay, even mildly, you can find someone to charge with a hate crime for subjecting you to it. Actually, if anyone makes you feel you don't "fit in," it's bound to be actionable:
"We didn't know what was in this bag," the boy said. "One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. It was intended for us."
The boy said he looked up at students he thought were his friends. "I felt angered, offended."
He suddenly felt like he was alone. "At the school the next day, I didn't feel safe. I felt like everybody was against me. Before I felt like I fit in, and everything was normal."
He began to think white students didn't like him, and the act was their way of letting him know.
Well I say, then go get a lawyer! You have a right not to be angered or feel like you don't fit in! It's your right to feel that "everything is normal." And it's certainly your right not to think other people don't like you. I mean, what are we, barbarians?
As a matter of fact....just as soon as I get through sauteing this pork, I'm going to find me a lawyer myself. I am personally offended and outraged by the purveyors of polical correctness. I'm angered and it makes me feel "not normal." Let's see...Persons Offended by Enforced Politeness in Society. Think that'll fly? Get within six feet of me spewing your PC drivel and I'll sue!