Another graffiti "hate crime" is solved

Last year, at the height of all the reports of Trump being a racist, “emboldening racists” and all the rest, the nation’s college campuses were hit with a series of hate crimes including “nooses” hanging in trees and racist graffiti scrawled all over the walls. One of the hardest hit was Eastern Michigan University, where hateful racists struck on three different occasions, with instructions for black students to flee the campus or pay the ultimate price. (Translated from the somewhat more crude language originally used.)

Well, good news, citizens! After a massive investigation involving school, state and federal authorities, the culprit has been found. Unfortunately for the activists pointing to these events as evidence of how awful the world is, this particular hateful racist was, shall we say… someone who doesn’t fit the usual profile. (Washington Post)

On Tuesday, the university was shaken again when police announced that a 29-year-old black man, a former student, had been charged with all three crimes.

The suspect was identified as Eddie Curlin, a student at the school from 2014 to 2016, currently serving a one-to-five year sentence on an unrelated charge of receiving and concealing stolen property, according to a university statement.

Curlin was arraigned in Washtenaw County District Court on charges of malicious destruction of property, identity theft and using computers to commit a crime. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 9.

This isn’t the first time one of these incidents had turned out to be a hoax. In fact, it’s far from the first. What’s more noteworthy here (once again) is the way the story is being characterized both by school officials and the Washington Post. First of all, you won’t find the word “hoax” anywhere in the entire linked article.

Then there’s the chief of the campus police. He described the result of the investigation by saying, “it was not driven by politics and it was not driven by race. It was an individual item done by one individual.” Perhaps even more off-putting was the response of one of the black students who chimed in.

“To know that it was a person of color is hurtful,” a black student, Jaiquae Rodwell, told the paper. “As a black student, to know that another black person is using the N-word in a negative way is embarrassing.”

Two things about this. First, saying this is “one person” and “one incident” is pretty meaningless. Virtually all instances of such vandalism (real or fabricated) are the work of one or at most a few people. Nobody is setting up national organizations for tagging to the best of my knowledge.

Perhaps more to the point, are we being asked to believe that this guy was tagging the n-word all over campus “in a negative way” because he’s a racist who secretly joined the klan? This was obviously a hoax to make it look as if there was more racism flaring up than there actually was. Unless and until somebody can provide a verifiable history to prove otherwise, that’s my take on it.

Exit question: Can this guy actually be charged with a hate crime if he was faking it? Not that I approve of or believe in so called “hate crime” laws to begin with, but if you’re going to be charged with one it seems like you should actually be hating on somebody.

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