Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Unspeakable, Unimaginable, Unacceptable Hatred

If there is any lingering doubt as to the fact that some crimes can indeed be termed hate crimes, well, meet Megan Williams, a twenty-year-old black woman who was the victim of unspeakable violence and cruelty at the hands of her white captors:

The Associated Press generally does not identify suspected victims of sexual assault, but Williams and her mother agreed to release her name. Carmen Williams said she wanted people to know what her daughter endured.

"I don't understand a human being doing another human being the way they did my daughter," Carmen Williams said Tuesday from her daughter's hospital room. "I didn't know there were people like that out here."

Another mother--West Virginia mobile home owner Frankie Brewster--and her son Bobby, along with at least four other white people, kidnapped, imprisoned, raped, tortured, and beat Megan. They did all this while screaming racial epithets at the terrified victim, and in case she somehow missed the point of that little excursion to the depths of Hell, one of them carved into her ankle with a knife and told her, in no uncertain terms, why this was happening to her:

"(the suspect)...used the N-word in telling her she was victimized because she is black."

The details are almost impossible to read. I urge you to read them anyway, though. And stop pretending that violence with the added measure of targeted, deadly hate--toward minorities, toward women, toward gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens--is the same thing as random violence and mayhem.

Inside a shed on a remote hillside of this coalfield community, authorities say a young black woman was tortured for days, sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat rat droppings.

If she wanted water, she had to drink from the toilet.

Her captors, all of them white, choked her with a cable cord, poured hot water over her and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, according to criminal complaints. It wasn't until an anonymous tip led Logan County Sheriff's deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended and she was able to limp to safety, arms outstretched as she cried "help me!"

As usual, the neighbors are shocked:

"I don't understand such a horrific crime being committed here," said Johnny Meade, pastor of the community's Apostolic Church of God in the Name of Christ Jesus.

Authorities said they were investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

A possible hate crime? Good God, what more do they need--a flashing neon N-word sign suspended from a branch over the trailer?

Investigators are still trying to determine how the woman ended up at the property and whether she knew any of the six people arrested or the two others, suspected of driving her to the home, who are being sought, said Logan County Chief Sheriff's Deputy V.K. Dingess.

You have to love the customary invocation of blame-the-victim subtext, a journalism tic so ingrained as to usually pass unnoticed--until and unless one is a victim oneself. How did Megan end up at the property? As though she had some hand in it! Shouldn't they be asking What method did the criminals use to bring her there? I'm going to take a wild guess: these disgusting sociopaths, violent criminals all, simply attacked and overpowered the woman. They've had plenty of practice--look at their records:

The suspects in the case have prior arrest records going back several years, according to records from Logan County Magistrate Court. Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham said, "I have some familiarity with all those individuals."

The owner of the mobile home, Frankie Brewster, 49, was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information during a felony investigation in connection with Williams' case.

She had been released from prison in September 2000 after serving five years for manslaughter and wanton endangerment in the death of 84-year-old Polly Ferrell, according to court records.

Brewster's son, Bobby R. Brewster, 24, also of Big Creek, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony.

Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, is charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding.

Karen Burton, 46, of Chapmanville, is charged with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony. Her daughter, Alisha Burton, 23, of Chapmanville, and George A. Messer, 27, of Chapmanville, are charged with assault during the commission of a felony and battery.

There's your answer, Pastor Meade of the Apostolic Church of God in the Name of Christ Jesus.

And now for you, sir, as well as Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham, whose statement "I have some familiarity with all those individuals" is both laughable and bitterly tragic, I have a couple of questions:

How in the Name of Christ Jesus is it possible that violent, racist, hate-filled rapists and thugs like these are walking around the communities of America as free citizens?

And what are you going to do about it?

(H/T Lisa in Baltimore)

Also at Shakesville.

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