The Hook is a popular free weekly newspaper in Charlottesville. Like Charlottesville itself, it is true, i.e., almost exclusively, blue, which makes baiting it great fun. For example, take the two sentence opening paragraph to this article about yet another attempt to combat violence perpetrated by black teenagers, possibly gang-related, on various passersby who happened to be accessible to them.
In the spring of 2003, when popular, mostly African-American, Charlottesville High students were charged — and later convicted — of beating up UVA students, a galvanized community met to take action. Concerned citizens gathered at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, committees were formed, and fundraisers held for the defense of the young perps.
Leave aside the “merely” factual error that these students were convicted in the spring of 2002, not 2003. Much more noteworthy were a couple of omissions: first, this was not an isolated incident — there were a series of attacks by black teenagers on UVa students that occurred over a number of months in 2001 and early 2002; and second, these students admitted that they had selected their victims because they were (or the perps thought they were) white.
Were these students prosecuted under state or federal hate crime statutes? Of course not.
What really caught my eye about this lede, however (dare I describe it as eye-opening?) is the glaring disjunction between its first and second sentences. What did the “galvanized community” galvanize itself to do in response to these vicious attacks? Read that second sentence again. It organized to support the perpetrators! As I wrote in a long post about double standards in Charlottesville and at UVa (comparing the response to this series of violent attacks against UVa students with the alleged attack against one UVa student, Daisy Lundy):
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does: there was actually a good deal of sympathy and support in the community … for the assailants. Rev. Alvin Edwards, pastor of the Mt. Zion African Baptist Church who is also a former mayor of Charlottesville, led a prominent and noisy faction that was much more solicitous of the attackers than the attacked. He denied that the attacks had anything to do with race [despite the admission of the assailants — jsr], claiming that “many local teenagers, particularly African Americans, resent the university because they consider it largely inaccessible to them.”
Committees Rev. Edwards set up had bake sales and raised over $3000, all of which was going to be donated to the legal defense of the assailants until criticism caused 30% to be donated for the victims’ medical expenses.
Alas, the disjunction between that first and second sentence is invisible to The Hook , and no doubt to most of its readers. In any event, if the community re-galvanizes itself to combat violence by black teenagers, let’s hope it comes up with something more creative than paying their legal fees.