Monday, November 30, 2009

A different kind of hate crime

On November 20, 7 students at a California school were attacked by a group of 8 others. While that might not seem so weird, the motivation for the attacks is. Each of the victims were red-headed boys.

The problem starts with a Facebook posting promoting something called "Kick a Ginger Day", ginger being slang for redhead, obviously, and inspired by an episode of the Comedy Central series, South Park, which has entertained more than its fair share of controversy over the years. As of this writing, three of the 8 attackers were arrested and released into their parents' custody. 2 of the boys are 12, the other 13, and one imagines that the other five still at large at this time are around the same age. What the Police should consider, too, is pursuing the person who posted the initial "Kick a Ginger" message in the first place.

While it's seemingly easy to motivate a group of kids into attacking other kids for whatever reason, targeting those kids because of hair color, not skin color or religion or any other normal motivation for a hate crime, suggests a prank that has gone hopelessly wrong and spiraled out of control. You can bet that if/when the person responsible for "Kick a Ginger" is brought forward, that's what the defense is going to be, unless the person really is a few fries shy of a Happy Meal.

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