Friday, August 13, 2010

When is a hate crime not a hate crime?

When the suspect isn't white after all.

I'm speaking, of course, about Elias Abuelazam, the suspect in multiple stabbings in Michigan, Virginia, and (apparently) Ohio.

Here are some snippets from news stories before his capture:

State police said the stabber is described as a white man in his late 20s to early 30s, standing 5-feet 11-inches to 6-feet 2-inches tall, weighing between 180 to 210 pounds with light colored hair and usually wears a baseball cap during the attacks. Officials also said he has a large metal “rod” type piercing in the upper left ear. Survivors have described their assailant as a younger, muscular white man.
Johnson said he suspects the attacks might be racially motivated. He said the attacker seeks out smaller black men at night after asking for directions or help with car trouble.


So far, police said, the only motive appears to be race. 
"He preys on every age group," said David Leyton, Genesee County (Mich.) prosecutor. "Every victim except one has been a black male."


Michigan State Police released a composite sketch of the suspect last week. Survivors described him as a white, muscular young man, similar to the cases in Leesburg, where the attacker is described as tall with a stocky build. Police say he has stabbed 13 people in the Flint area since May, with five killed.
The motive appears to be racial.


Just before he's captured, a subtle shift takes place:

"I don't know if it's a racial thing," Capt. Carroll said. "I don't know if it's a male thing. I don't know if it's a picking on weaker victims thing. I don't really know what it is, but it's dangerous."
Huh. What changed? Perhaps this:

Police in Toledo, Flint and Leesburg say the suspect is white or Middle Eastern, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-2 in height, and 180 to 210 pounds. His vehicle is described as a GMC Jimmy, late 1990s model Chevrolet S-10 Blazer or similar vehicle, dark / two-tone green in color with a tan / beige / gold lower section.
(Source for the last two quotes.)

Of course the emphasis is mine, if you need to be told.

This is from the most recent article, the one that appears on (once again, emphasis mine...):

The youngest victim was 15; the oldest 67. At least 15 victims were black, although there's no evidence that race played a role, Leyton said. A motive was not known.

The guy turns out to be Arab, not white (also, anyone notice that he's continually referred to as Israeli, with any mention of his ethnicity suddenly left out?), and all of a sudden race isn't a factor.


Thankfully, the Virginia police, at least, aren't falling for it:

In simultaneous news conferences this afternoon, the prosecutor in Flint, Mich., where most of the assaults connected to Abuelazam occurred, and the police chief in Leesburg, Va., where the case against Abuelazam began coming together last week, contradicted each other over the assailant was motivated by race.
"My belief is he selected the victims of Leesburg based upon their color of their skin," Leesburg's chief Price said.
But at almost the same time in Flint, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton was saying that as of now, there's "no other evidence" of a racial motive.

So there's still some question, at least in Michigan.

Let me spell this out for the easily-confused:


It's been pointed out before, repeatedly, that one of the problems with hate crimes legislation is that their prosecution is woefully uneven.  And, hey, how is killing someone not motivated by some sort of hate?

You have here roughly 19 victims (numbers seem to vary), at least 15 of whom all belong to the same racial/ethnic group, and I'm supposed to buy that race is not a motivating factor now that the suspect isn't white?  Really?

That's not the way the world works.  It's just not.


Charlene said...

You say how can killing not be motivated by hate? All those [usually men] people who kill their spouse and kids and then themselves, leaving word they wanted to put them out of he misery of living without them! According to them, they kill their families because hey love them!

the pistolero said...

Hush now. The people in the ice cream trucks will hear you! (You don't think they're just selling ice cream, do you?) ;-)

TOTWTYTR said...

I've been assured by people who say that they know, that black people can NOT be racist because they don't have any power.

I guess the white half of Obama is President.