Crime, Spite, and Everyone’s Plight – by E. Marshall Hoyt
The world is full of sick individuals.
A lot, actually. I just forget, sometimes.
Today is one of those days: by pure chance and slight boredom, I checked out the trending tab on facebook. It’s the most unreliable course of information, prioritizing the sexuality of a fictional character over a man getting robbed.
Of course, since it is supposedly based on user posting and involvement, maybe it’s the still the fault of the mainstream media and its rigid effect on the common person’s perspective. In either case, even when they do pop up a news story, facebook adds their own snippet of what the trending word is about, and many a time this has been clearly bias. Descriptions of Trump, for instance, are commonly bombastic and vile, and usually defensive of whatever asshat of the week thinks that being related to Trump is reason enough to attack or verbally assault a person.
It’s stupid, but, it’s also to be expected from facebook “reporting” at this point. Needless to say, I thought I couldn’t be any more surprised by anything that’s considered a trending matter.
It turns out I was wrong.
I saw the name Montel Williams trending. Now, more importantly, considering I don’t know who on Earth this man is, the description of “Montel Williams lashes out at accused Facebook Live torturers” certainly caught my eye, along with a snippet telling me that Mr. Williams is a TV personality and Navy vet. Certainly 3 things immediately came to mind: One, who’s stupid enough to not only post video but livestream video of their crime? Two, what in the actual fuck is wrong with people that they thought this was okay? Three, what’s the catch?
Here’s the thing, maybe I’m a bit jaded, but not only is “news” dominated by click-bait titles and misleading perspectives, but often times it has a habit of aiming its sights on the wrong target, or even worse making light of a single tree while missing a whole forest of information. What I found out, however, is about twenty levels more fucked up than I could have thought.
I’ll give you a breakdown- 4 teens, one of which was connected to the victim by the unfortunate circumstance of being his classmate, all kidnapped and tortured the victim and live streamed it. By torture, I mean torture. Cut at his scalp, put lit cigarettes to his skin, kicked and beat and verbally abused him to top it off. He was found shambling around outside near where he was beat, was taken to hospital, where the police then caught wind of the video. Now, what I mind interesting is that every article that popped up focused on one particular thing- The fact that the victim, atop everything else, was special needs.
Don’t get me wrong, that does indeed make it worse. In the grand scheme of victimization, being literally disabled and having a crime perpetrated against you is actually awful in every sense. It doesn’t go into what his disability is, but I can safely say, given the circumstance, that doesn’t even matter. He could be deaf in one ear for all I care and this is still an awful crime (Edit: it appears he suffers from mental health issues, which could be what we all deal with- depression, or something far worse). But- and it took following a single user’s post that lead to an article that linked it- I finally found out what Montel Williams had to say.
It was pretty on the nose, starting with “Life in Prison. No Parole,” and everything in it was justified. What caught my eye was the fact that his second sentence started with “Whether this is a hate crime is a distraction and irrelevant” and later contained “It’s bigger than racism (saying F*ck white people is racist by definition).” Needless to say I liked the cut of his jib but, wait a minute- what does this crime have to do with races at all?
It took a little more digging, but let me fill in the missing pieces: The four perpetrators were black, and during the beating (As can be seen in the not-so-lovely video) yelled “Fuck Trump! Fuck white people!” at the victim while delivering some thankfully non-fatal beating to him.
Again, don’t get wrong, the victim being special needs is fairly news-worthy, and it’s still awful, but- and I hate to politicize this event in any manner I really do- but why was the fact that this is very clearly a hate crime not relevant? Why does facebook and roughly 90% of all articles not find this to be important information? It must be reiterated, I agree with Mr. Williams, this is far worse than is worth the efforts to concentrate on it being a hate crime, it’s horrendous and the color of anyone’s skin is almost irrelevant when something this grueling goes down.
But, I’m still keenly aware that if the races were switched, and the criminals were saying “Fuck Obama!” instead of “Fuck Trump!” not only would CNN suddenly find more than 2 minutes to cover it, but every news station would have it be their morning story, with an hour long segment to discuss it. People would be not only saying it’s most certainly a hate crime, but at least 25 college thesis papers would be written off the incident, to further their hypothesis on the growing and worsened racism of America, and how it’s as bad as when blacks were still slaves. There would screaming and grating of teeth, and you’d hear about it for weeks.
But instead, we have people like CNN’s Don Lemon, who has literally said “I don’t think its evil” in response to the incident, instead blaming “bad home training”? What in the actual fuck? No, don’t lie, if the roles were reversed that would be far from the first thought in your mind Mr. Lemon. But because it’s a crime committed by black teens, you for some reason think they need to be made the victims in this situation, their actions the fault of their raising. That itself is no surprise it’s hardly the first on-white violence I’ve seen where some CNN pundit has declared it’s basically “Not *that* bad”.
Still, this sort of shit isn’t acceptable, because we saw this right after the election- riots, protests and city self-destruction all over an election. Not even any action taken as president, but over an election. I said it then and I’ll say it again, but I don’t recall any actions taken that are close to that back in 2008 following Obama’s election. Trust me, we would have heard about it, the media would have grabbed it up like it was a suitcase full of unmarked bills and started raving crazy about crazy right wingers. Yet, I noticed a deafening silence from the media during the post-election riots, and certainly no concentration on the multiple hate crimes that took place. I certainly saw a lot of defenses for these actions but very little actual reporting.
To some extent, it’s kind of simple how we got here. I’ve seen it develop, in the way the “news” reports events, to the way events are reacted to. Over the course of the Obama administration, demonization of white criminals perpetrating on-black-violence is common, wherein black violence has been ignored or immediately defended by the administration. It’s a whole situation, of course, the current culture brought on by hundreds of events leading up to today. But evil crimes should be simple. There shouldn’t a question that they’re wrong. There should be no defense, no forgiveness and no explanation great enough to make up for the actions of the perpetrator(s).Yet here we are.
Here we are in a deeply divided nation. As much as many liberals would like to say it is, this division is not because of the election of Trump, not because he won when they didn’t expect it, creating lines between people. It’s not because anything any Trump supporter has ever said, the most vile of which has been attacked by all people, regardless of politics. Simply, despite the god-like image they attempt to project upon the man, this sort of insanity is very simply because of the Obama administration. Entire forms of humor and friendships dwindled away at over time, the first question asked about any crime or any actions of someone with darker skin being shifted to “Was it because of the white people?” slowly but surely. The sort of books and movies that get promoted, the way you’re supposed to talk, the safe spaces you’re supposed to have because of those feminine feelings that society has clearly deprived you of expressing. Everything in the culture is different than it was in 2008- and it’s no surprise. 8 years changes a lot. Yet, I can say with certainty almost all these changes to the culture have made deeper lines between people, based on their race, gender and even sexual preference. Not even because of repeated, massive and nation-wide attacks against any particular group- other than perhaps verbal, but no one was killed from being insulted too much- but because people have been encouraged to identify themselves differently.
No longer is Joe a hardworking roofer with an odd obsession with Seinfeld, he’s a white, middle class, straight male. No longer is Alice an exotic babe with brains and looks to boot, she’s a discriminated against Mexican immigrant who doesn’t subscribe to the misogynistic views of society, and is in a sexual relationship with Jack. Jack once was a quirky theater major but is now an advocate of how evil white people are- while reflecting the sun off his ghost-like skin- and is currently in the middle of transition to the 5th gender of Twatwaffle, which uses cat pronouns.
This societal division, encouraged and nurtured by the current (And thankfully out the door) administration has divided people into their groups, and made way for the sort of culture that lead to the deep divides we experience today. Liberals surely noticed these divides, they just chose to claim “It’s because Obama is black, isn’t it?” to every criticism of him, worsening these problems but failing to see it’s not the unexplainable (And non-existent) racism of the right but in fact their own prejudices.
This crime against a disabled man is awful. But, I also believe it’s because our society made way for the conditions where these teens thought it was okay. They live streamed it, were proud of it, and thought it was justified because for 8 years of their lives they’ve been convinced that by virtue of their skin color, they are always in the right. They likely believe that racism can only be achieved by white people, sexism by males and bigotry by conservatives. They thought this was fine because in some ways, society has told them they’re invincible and exempt from criticism, all because of their skin color. They thought there would be no repercussions because they have their community, their teachers, their news channels, and even their president ready to defend them at a moment’s notice. Even now, their race is not important to any news station, the incident not interesting enough for most mainstream sources, and the crime not of the right “colors” to encourage a statement by Obama.
As I said, I do believe that is crime is evil, regardless of the people involved or what they are. But I think it’s important to notice what people think is important about the crime, and how the obvious motive of race is not worth a even a footnote. I think it’s important to know this because crimes like this can still happen, because the motive that drove these criminals, is the same motive that drives millions in their daily actions, and it’s probably only a matter of time until someone else takes it too far.
I hear that, despite all this, the teens were indeed charged with hate crimes and additional felony charges, and I guarantee they thought that they could never be charged of a hate crime. I hope these years in prison teach them a few things about the world, and what it’s really like past the coddling they’re received. Additionally, my thoughts go out the victim, hopefully he recovers not only physically but mentally from this incident, and he has my support in light of this truly evil act.