The savage beating and sexual assault of a 17-year-old boy last weekend was horrible beyond comprehension (WaPo):
Investigators said Tuck and Turner dragged the Hispanic youth into the back yard between 5 and 8 a.m. Sunday, beat him with their fists and then, while he was on the ground, began kicking him in the head with their steel-toe boots. They then allegedly sodomized him with a plastic pipe from a patio table umbrella, while shouting ethnic slurs.
They then kicked this pipe – hard – into his body with their steel-toed boots. The boy is terribly damaged, and it’s said that he may very well not survive this.
Given the highly-charged atmosphere in Texas — a state wrestling first-hand with enormous numbers of Hispanic illegal immigrants — the question of ethnicity here is significant. Did this boy suffer such an atrocity because he was Hispanic?
Early reports described one of his attackers – Tuck – as a known White Supremacist in the community. All by itself, that throws red flags for me.
[Polimom note: I’ve revised / removed part of this post for editorial purposes…]
Unfortunately, whether it was initially racial or not, it seems to have ended that way. All sources report racial slurs and epiphets during the beating.
There are numerous problems with what happened at that house last Saturday night, including an apparent lack of adult supervision, and allegations of drugs and alcohol. There’s something larger here, though – and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee said it very well (my emphasis, from the WaPo source above):
“This is a Hispanic young man, but more importantly, this was done against the backdrop of a very divisive debate on immigration,” Lee said.
Exactly — because what you may not know is that the White Supremacist groups are having a heyday with the country’s heated debate. From the Anti-Defamation League:
While white supremacists have for many years attempted to exploit rising anti-immigration sentiments in the U.S., the level and intensity of their attacks against Hispanics has reached dangerous new highs, with right-wing extremists joining anti-immigration groups, distributing anti-immigrant propaganda and holding frequent anti-immigration rallies and protests.
And from the Southern Poverty Law Center:
A prominent anti-immigration leader has secretly urged the nation’s largest neo-Nazi group to launch a campaign of violence and harassment against undocumented workers in the United States.
Hate groups thrive on this type of controversy, and whether those vicious, brutal boys in Spring were motivated by the increasingly hostile racial undercurrent or not (and frankly, I suspect at least one of them was), it is obvious that the rhetoric has opened the door into some of the very ugliest closets in people’s minds and hearts.
Unlike Becky at Preemptive Karma, I don’t think we’re facing genocide in the US. Unfortunately, I do think that we’re going to read and hear more stories about racially/ethnically motivated violence.
We have to calm down. We really do.
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Update: The Houston Chronicle has more this morning on one of the attackers, and the victim.