About that "Vote Trump" church burning

You probably recall the shocking story which headlined every major paper in the country and ran in a loop on all the cable news stations during the final week of the election. Some horrible, racist Trump supporter burned down a church in Mississippi, scrawling the words, “Vote Trump” across the side of the gutted building. It was clearly yet another example of the Basket of Deplorables who were supporting Trump’s bid for the presidency and one more reason for Americans to turn their backs on such hatred and intolerance. This was the picture which was literally burned into everyone’s retinas.


Well, yesterday they made an arrest in this tragic case of hatred but the story seems to be changing. (WREG)

Mississippi authorities have made an arrest in the burning of an African-American church spray-painted with the words, “Vote Trump.”

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain says Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi, who is African-American, is charged with first-degree arson of a place of worship.

McClinton was arrested Wednesday. Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, was burned and vandalized Nov. 1, a week before the presidential election.

That’s certainly awkward. If you read the Washington Post’s coverage of the story (which was nowhere near the front page, by the way) you’ll need to scroll down five paragraphs to discover that Mr. McClinton is African-American. He’s also got a rather impressive rap sheet and more than a decade of cumulative time in prison.

Here’s the interesting part: the local authorities who had initially been checking into this as a hate crime are now describing it somewhat differently. (Emphasis added)

We do not believe it was politically motivated. There may have been some efforts to make it appear politically motivated,” Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who is also the fire marshal, told AP.

Absent some sort of statement from McClinton himself it’s impossible to say for sure, but it’s not too hard to read between the lines here. You can’t simply say that it’s “not politically motivated” just because it turns out to be a different political motivation than the one you originally suspected. Let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Now, I’m never going to deny that there is still some residual racism left in the country and it can even bubble up into politics. But what sort of room temperature IQ moron would think that the best way to get out the vote for Trump would be to burn down a black church? What sort of result was the arsonist expecting?

Oh, well… I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but if the other side is willing to take the time to burn down our church, maybe I should give this Trump fellow a second look!”

Compare that against the second possibility. If you really want to drive out the black vote against Trump, what better way to incite them to action on election day than torching the church and making it look like it was related to Trump? As I said, that’s unproven at that point but you can apply Occam’s Razor to the question for yourselves.

This would be less remarkable if it was happening in a vacuum, but as our friend Mickey White pointed out last night at Red State, this is turning into something of a pattern.

Remember that spike in hate crimes the media keeps reporting? They may need to begin a feature dedicated to corrections after this week. We’ve been following the story of Yasmin Seweid, a young Muslim woman arrested for lying to the police, after her story of a Trump inspired hate crime went viral. Adam Saleh a serial hoaxer claimed Delta airline discriminated against him for “speaking in Arabic, already other passengers are coming forward to discredit his version of events.

Just something to ponder going forward. When you see a story of some sort of racially motivated incident of violence which looks too incredibly overt and stupid to be true… maybe it’s not.