At a Fourth of July concert in Cincinnati, police had to fight their way through a mob to rescue a white male who had been nearly beaten to death as the crowd made up primarily of African Americans and Hispanic-Americans mocked him. Here is a video of the scene, if it is still up: YouTube has removed it more than once.
1. What kind of people act like this? How do they get this way?
2. There is a controversy over whether the incident should be investigated as a hate crime. Idiocy. Madness. The discussion itself shows how silly the entire hate crime concept is. Would a group of whites mocking a bleeding white man be any less offensive to community values than a group of blacks doing so?
3. It is especially silly, not to mention offensive, when the government applies the law in a biased fashion—but then, that was always its intent. Here is law professor Jonathan Turley tripping over his metaphorical tongue to avoid stating the obvious:
“It is not clear if there was a racial component to the crime and I would not immediately expect a hate crime investigation in such a case. Various blogs however are arguing that the Administration and local officials often immediately pledge to pursue such cases involving a black victim and white officers or assailants as a possible hate crime. I have tended to caution that such early framing of cases can have a distortive or dysfunctional impact absent clear evidence of a racial motivation. For example, while some in this crowd may have been celebrating the fact that the victim was white, it does not mean that the original attack was racially motivated.”
Oh, come on, professor. Stop spinning. The Obama Administration, the Justice Department and local officials in many cities have displayed a hair-trigger readiness to automatically consider any incident a suspected “hate crime” where a white police officer is involved in harming a black victim, absent taunting, absent the kind of revolting evidence present in this case. It isn’t “early framing,” it is racial politics and pandering to the mob and the media. On what basis were George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson subjected to federal hate crime investigations, if this video won’t prompt one?
4. For the 1000th time, hate is not a crime. It’s not even unethical. If I hate you while saving your life, my act of compassion is no less virtuous. Arguments have been made by some ethicists that the hate makes my act more virtuous, because it means that I rose above my animus. Who is more unethical, the member of the mob who mocks a man he hates as the man is suffering, or the one who mocks a man he doesn’t hate, just to go along with the group?
5. The miserable wretches who stood and laughed at a bleeding, perhaps dying man broke no laws. In the United States, it is not merely legal to mock a dying man, but protected speech. The government not only should not punish speech, it should not go looking for hate to punish.
6. Turley properly expresses alarm at YouTube repeatedly taking down this video because of “disgusting content.” It is a private company and can do what it wants, but YouTube has also become a vital means of communication and the conveyance of culturally valuable information. YouTube profits from this status and has an obligation to do its job fairly and responsibly. The shooting of Walter Scott in the back, by a police officer wasn’t disgusting?
7. Had the colors been reversed in this incident, would the media coverage have been different? Why? I can see no ethical justification for that at all.