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Newsflash -- Alabama burning

Man, talk about having interesting timing...

Just as I start a discussion about hate crimes, five churches in Alabama's Bibb County catch fire overnight. All five were Baptist churches, while yesterday the Old New Harmony Church was gutted by flames.

As I have said before, I am an agnostic. I belong to no church, and don't anticipate that changing. But this is just unconscionable. The arsonists (if they are indeed arson, which is virtually a guarantee) need to be caught and punished -- severely.


Comments (10)

It will be interesting to s... (Below threshold)
JD:

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the media. Last time that I recall a string of church burnings, it was big media coverage, as they were predominantly black churches. It was reported, in general, as a crime against blacks, rather than a crime against churches, or Christians.

I remember that. Then ther... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

I remember that. Then there were all sorts of statistics on a huge number of black church burnings. Turned out they were counting burglary and vandalism as "burning." Then some others turned out to be insurance fires, and still others just bad wiring. So much for THAT story.

Want to see some unhinged, ... (Below threshold)
Forrest:

Want to see some unhinged, unadulterated, left wing hatred for Christianity and/or the South? Check out the comments on this headline over at Fark. Unbelievable.

I live in Alabama...have for all of my life. What happened is horrible. Thankfully, as far as I know, no one was hurt. This will probably turn out to be the work of some stupid kids looking for a cheap thrill rather than an organized string of hate crimes. Either way, no penalty for the perpetrators will be harsh enough.

I grew in AL and used to hu... (Below threshold)
JL:

I grew in AL and used to hunt quail out that way.

Note the names of the churches, these aren't Black churches, so expect little national attention.

Hate crime laws are not onl... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

Hate crime laws are not only intolerable, but they are also completely unnecessary, even in a case like this.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this (or some other) church-burning was done with the racial-animus that Democrats accuse all conservatives of secretly harboring.

Why is this crime more serious than your garden-variety arson, such as one that's committed in the course of insurance fraud?

Well, for starters, a likely secondary effect of the racially-motivated arson is to intimidate the church members and/or other black residents into leaving town, becoming less organized as a community, etc. (Let's ignore the fact that the opposite result is actually more likely -- racist arsonists aren't the smartest bunch).

Assuming the racist motivation could be proven, it would be perfectly in accord with a conservative legal philosophy for the racially-motivated arson to be treated as not one but two separate crimes: (1) ordinary arson, committed with the highest degree of intent possible (i.e., not an accident), and (2) some form of offense of making terroristic threats.

In other words, if the State can prove that the intent behind the act of burning the church was not merely to destroy the church, but also specifically intended to cause other specific people to be in a state of fear, then that should also be a crime.

A terroristic-threat offense does not have to have any "hate crime" or other racial component to it at all. The racially-motivated arson can easily be treated as a more serious offense than regular arson, solely based on the fact that, as a matter of cultural inference, the act was intended as a symbolic communication of a broader threat.

Fortunately, there is more ... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

Fortunately, there is more to Alabama than bigotry and church burning. As Jay Tea was working on Hate Crimes, I was working on this:

Yesterday, the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana, Haley Barbor, Kathleen Blanco, appeared before a Senate committee investigating state and federal response to Hurricane Katrina last year. Many people, including some in the US Senate, have forgotten that the state of Alabama also experienced severe damage in its southwest coastal regions.

I mention Alabama for a reason. I am a transplanted Yankee living in the Atlanta, Georgia area. My wife, who fancies herself to be a Southern Belle, is from Alabama. It is a fact which continues to spark some "lively" conversations ("Ah just know how much you Yankees love to come down here and marry all these lovely southern women" "Yes, dear, and if we didn't you'd be back home in some doublewide married to your cousin.."). Bob Riley, the governor, is from her home town and is a close family friend.

The point here is to observe that were it not for the state of Alabama, and all the truly rich possibilities it offers in the area of humor, things like this (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183644,00.html) would be even more intolerably prominent. That it happens at all is nominally outrageous. That it happened in Georgia, and not Alabama, is an injustice of cosmic proportion.

Yankee carpetbagger that I may be, I can only shake my head in abject empathy and wish this young man well. Lord knows he needs it. Expect Jeff Foxworthy to give prominent mention of this poor kid by this evening's first performance.

I bet those churches regret... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

I bet those churches regret printing those drawings of Mohammad in their newsletter now....

I bet those churches reg... (Below threshold)

I bet those churches regret printing those drawings of Mohammad in their newsletter now....

Well, there goes another keyboard.

Well the FBI and the state ... (Below threshold)
K:

Well the FBI and the state are going to be on it. Not good odds for idiots.

It is most unlikely that one person did five. And when multiple people are involved secrets aren't kept.

I doubt if it was teens or an impulse thing. People like that get shook after they do one and wimp home. Five means something else.

It may even be a third force. Terrorists would love more class/race divsions here. We shall see.

Only one church was predom.... (Below threshold)

Only one church was predom. black:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183704,00.html

Of course, that fact is lost on some people at DU:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss...317611




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