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A savage beating raises questions of race

By Scott Tibbs, December 21, 2007

A letter to the editor sparked several comments on the Herald-Times website, and inspired me to research the subject further. A Google news search confirms the facts as stated in the letter: several black teenagers, after telling a 26 year old white woman she could not sit on a bus, attacked the woman and gave her a severe beating. The photograph to the right reveals the damage done by these thugs. For more, see the following articles on the story from michellemalkin.com, baltimoresun.com, abc2news.com, wjz.com, wbaltv.com, baltimoresun.com, and wjz.com.

The facts are valid, but the conclusions are off base. Rosa Parks was arrested because she disobeyed a law that was both immoral and unconstitutional. She was fighting against an entire system of segregation and institutionalized racism. While the crimes committed against Sarah Kreager were sick and depraved, this is not a civil rights issue and does not demonstrate the need for "another American civil rights movement". This is about violent crime. The police have arrested suspects in this crime and, if convicted, they will be punished for the crimes they committed. There is no systemic injustice to fight against, only criminals to punish.

That doesn't stop racist hate groups from pouncing on the Kreager story, however, using fear tactics to mobilize their members. It is stupid, ignorant, immoral and sinful to look down on all people with dark skin pigmentation because of the actions of a few thugs in Baltimore. The criminal actions have many causes, but skin pigmentation is not one of them. The white supremacist groups are fools and deserve no refutation other than that.

This case is similar to the infamous "Jena 6" incident where several black teenagers attacked and pummeled a white classmate. The prosecutor overreacted in that case and deserves much of the criticism he got, but there should be no question that a 6-on-1 beating carries the potential for serious harm. We saw that in the Kreager beating. Prosecutors must not be intimidated by the marches on Jena and should seek to punish the human debris who attacked Kreager as harshly as legally permissible. This includes charging them as adults, because this is an adult crime. Giving these thugs a slap on the wrist endangers society.

Conservative opponents of "hate crime" legislation need to avoid hyping this incident as a "hate crime". Whether it was racially-motivated or not should not change the punishment. Hyping this incident as a "hate crime" leaves one open to charges of hypocrisy that are not without merit. It appears this case is being handled appropriately and does not need to be a political issue. It does, however, merit observation to ensure justice is done.

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