I don't make a habit of posting local-type crime stories, but this one is so horrific, and that we've heard nothing about it (at least I haven't) is very interesting to me. One thing that freaks me out about this story is that it is so unlikely that any one of the attackers would've done such evil if others hadn't been around, if "group think" hadn't played a role. It's all so "Lord of the Flies."
It also freaks me out because of the racism involved on the part of the attackers and on the part of the media that tend to bury such stories when so-called "white people" are the victims. We rightfully heard about the evils committed against James Byrd, who was dragged like a dog behind some racists' truck, but we hear nothing about attacks by "black" racists against "white" people. It's as if "the powers that be" want for us to think in terms of race by, first of all, dividing people into "African Americans" and "Caucasians," allowing "people of color" to enjoy ethnic (even "racial") pride and a sense of their history, and putting the blame for the world's evils at the feet of so-called "white" people who'd otherwise not naturally think of themselves as "white people," but as "Polish" or "Italian" or "English" or "German" or what not -- said ability to overlook mere skin color being seen as just more evidence of "white racism." In other words, they are forcing "white" people to take the blame for all evils as "whites" and to think of themselves as "whites," and are, at the same time, denying them the ability to defend themselves as "whites."
I mean, consider half of the reason why I am posting this story: I don't know the unfortunate victims. I don't know if they're of Spanish descent or Dutch descent. I don't know if they are Christian or Buddhist or Wiccan. I don't know if they are heterosexual or homosexual. I don't know if they prefer German food or Greek. But I know that if they'd been "black," this story would have been all over the newspapers for weeks and I'd be expected, as a person who appears "white," to feel "white guilt" over it. So here I am in Indiana, a total stranger to these California girls, "forced" to feel some "solidarity" with them based on the injustice afforded to them by the media because of mere skin color, and I am "forced" to because that is how the enemy treats things, something that is proved by the hidden-ness of this story. It is disgusting! We're supposed to look beyond "race" all while being blasted as "white" people, forced to deal with unjust race-based quotas, and expected to keep silent in spite of such obvious disparities in the treatment of "hate crimes" (a category of crime which shouldn't exist in the first place).
My analogy (which I've posted here before) is that of a bus load of baseball fans who wear red hats as do the players of their favorite team. They meet up with a bus load of other baseball fans who also wear red hats as do the players of a different team, their favorite team. Those two teams aren't allies, pals, or friends; they have no shared history, no shared loves, no shared "sports culture, no shared lingo, the food and music at their ballparks are totally different, and so on. They're in competition, and they jibe each other the way sports fans do. The only thing they have in common is that the color of their hats is red and that, underneath, they're all just brands of sports fans.
And then the two buses pull into the town of people who wear blue hats in honor of the team they love. The blue hats have been taught that people who wear red hats are evil and wicked, the cause of all the woes that ever befell the blue hats. They go around knocking the red hats down and generally causing mayhem for the red hat people. They accuse red hat wearers of X, Y, and Z, and when the red hat people defend themselves, they are accused of more hate. If the red hat wearers decide to buddy up because they're both under attack just for wearing red hats, they're accused of "red hat supremacism" -- even when both are being attacked because of mere hat color.
The sane red hat wearer knows that under the hats everyone is just a plain old baseball fan, and that fans of teams naturally flock together because of shared interests and history. He knows that charity is due to all hat wearers and wouldn't dream of harming someone who wears a different hat (in this analogy, such sportsmanship symbolizes Catholicism). Though he has pride in his team and wants to keep the fan base going, he knows he is not ontologically superior to the fans of other teams. He knows, too, that a blue hat wearer can adopt the ways and loves of his fellow fans and become one with them. He knows that what makes a fan isn't the hat, but the love of the team and the team culture. But in the climate described above, that sane person is almost forced to look beyond shared interest and history (i.e., the meaningful ethnic considerations based on mutual views of the true and good) and think of himself as a "red hat wearer" (i.e., "racial" considerations) and an ally of other "red hat wearers" because that is how the race-baiting enemy is operating -- the race-baiting enemy who mucks things up among the different types of people on earth by pitting them against each other when violating subsidiarity and by going beyond simply encouraging love for all men and looking past mere skin color to the truly important considerations of shared ideals. And they do this, laughably, in the name of "combating racism." Some racists are more equal than others, I guess. If you want to know why so many "white" people are going the vile White Supremacist route, this is it. So sad, and so preventable with a good understanding of traditional Catholic social teaching, with charity for all, and if everyone were to ignore the race-baiters.
It's late and I'm tired; did that analogy work the way I wrote it this time?
And a note to those who might respond to this note: I am wary of posting things having to do with "race" because it tends to be seen as an invitation to the "Nazi types" to post. I won't be having it. To kill this metaphor, anyone who thinks that "hat color" rather than "love for the team" makes the man might be more comfortable at a different forum. At the least, I don't want to hear those ideas here at mine. My family is very "racially" mixed, and such talk is not only un-Catholic, but a personal insult to me and those I love.
Anyway, here's the story, from http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_4602384 (and note that the hero of this story is a "black" man. May he be blessed, and may the victims of this crime be healed):
Victims of attack share their story
Crime: 10 arrested after attack on Halloween; $2,500 reward offered for information about other suspects still at large.
By Tracy Manzer, Staff writer
Article Launched:11/03/2006 10:52:39 PM PST
LONG BEACH - Several suspects including at least three men who savagely beat three young women in a horrific hate crime attack Halloween night remained at large Friday.
The three victims - two of whom are 19 and the third 21 - agreed to sit down with a Press-Telegram reporter and discuss the painful attack in the hope that someone who knows the culprits will turn them in to police.
The young women asked to be identified by only their first names of Laura, Michelle and Lauren because they and their families fear for their safety. The assault, they said, was so savage they thank God they are alive.
`A pack of hyenas'
The victims - along with throngs of other people - had gone to the 3800 block of Linden Avenue around 9:30 p.m. for a popular Halloween block party. As they walked up to an elaborate haunted house, they said, a group of about a dozen males began taunting them.
"They asked us, `Are you down with it?,' we had no idea what that meant so we didn't say anything and just walked by them up to the haunted house," said Laura, "They were grabbing their crotches - we didn't know if it was a gang thing or what."
After making their way through a maze at the house, the three girls said they were back in the same spot where they were confronted and next to the same guys, who again taunted them. Still saying nothing, the three victims tried to walk away but were pelted with lemons and small pumpkins that split the seams on their costumes and left lumps and bruises on their bodies.
The taunts and jeers grew more aggressive, the victims recalled, as did the size of the crowd. Now females joined in, and everyone began saying "We hate white people, f--- whites!"
At this point, the girls began to run, but the pack of assailants ran ahead of them and kept them surrounded.
"It was like animals, like a pack of hyenas," Michelle said.
She was trying to call 911 on her cell phone when the taunts began, but kept getting busy signals. She tried three times to call, she said, but never got through to an operator.
The suspects also began to gradually separate the girls, first by grabbing Laura by her long hair and yanking her backward.
She said she tried to fight off a group of girls who surrounded her and were clawing and hitting her, but then a man came up and slammed her in the head with a skateboard, knocking her unconscious.
"One of the witnesses told the police that he saw my legs go straight up in the air and I hit the ground face first," she said, accounting for the bumps and bruises on her forehead and around her nose and eyes.
Her friends watched, horrified as the man raised the skateboard over his head and slammed her again as she lay on the ground. Others in the pack also began to hit and kick her motionless body.
Fearing their friend would be killed, the other two girls rushed to her aid.
Saved by a Samaritan
Lauren was the first at Laura's side, and a group of people immediately jumped on her and began punching her in the face and back of the head simultaneously. Some kicked her in the back of knees, causing her legs to buckle. At one point, when they got her cell phone away from her, Lauren said she knelt down to try and retrieve the phone.
"Once I knelt down, there was too much of a force on top of me to get back up," she said. "They were pounding on my back, on my head. ... They were kicking at the ball that was me."
Lauren suffered 12 fractures in her face, including four to her eye socket, three to her nose and three to her cheek.
Doctors don't yet know if she will regain all of her eyesight. Until the swelling goes down, they won't know if she'll require surgery to repair the many broken bones.
Forced to drop her college photography classes this semester because she cannot see well enough to use the camera, Lauren also can't blow her nose or sleep lying down. The pressure, doctors told her, could cause any of the fractured bones to shift, which could lead to her eye becoming detached from the shattered socket.
Michelle said she saw the group drag Lauren down as she rushed up and knocked the man with the skateboard off Laura. But then he then turned on her, punching her in both sides of her face and in the ribs.
Her face, like Lauren's and Laura's, is bruised and swollen. The lining that surrounds her lungs is also bruised.
As the man beat on Michelle, Laura regained consciousness and tried to pull him off her friend. But others in the pack immediately began to hammer at her again, she said.
She, like Lauren, suffered a concussion as well as multiple contusions. The lumps and marks on the back of her head and her back show where she was stomped, kicked and punched as she lay on the ground.
In all, the attack lasted about 10 minutes, and it ended only when a Good Samaritan driving by the melee stopped and physically blocked the battered girls bodies while yanking the assailants off the victims.
Maybe because he was also black, or because he was so tall and strong, the group broke up and scattered to several cars and fled, the victims said.
"If it wasn't for that guy, honestly, I don't think these two would be here today," Michelle said.
Shortly after the attack, police arrested 10 juveniles on a charge of felony hate crimes, including counts for assault with a deadly weapon, battery and robbery.
Some of the 10 youths - nine girls and one boy ranging in age from 12 to 17 - were found wearing the victim's earrings - which were ripped from their flesh - and had Lauren's cell phone.
Others still at large
The victims were able to identify all 10 but said there are several others who participated who remain at large. They estimated that at least 25 people took part in the attack, while witnesses who live on the block told police the crowd looked to have between 30 and 40 people.
"I heard these thumping sounds and all these people yelling "F--- whites, f--- whites!" said one resident who witnessed the attack.
She spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing the assailants might return to her neighborhood and attack her and other witnesses.
"I have such mixed feelings," she added. "I'm so ashamed that I didn't try to run out there and stop them, but it was terrifying."
"I've never seen anything like that in my life," she added. "I can't even describe it. I'm still terrified."
She said she called 911, along with several of her neighbors, and screamed frantically for help as a dispatcher tried to calm her down. North Division officers found the 10 youths not far from the scene of the crime in a grocery store parking lot.
One girl's mother said she doesn't blame witnesses who were too frightened to intervene.
And she and the other mothers said over and over how grateful they are to the man who saved their daughters' lives.
"I can't imagine," Barbara said, her eyes shining with tears. "I can't imagine anyone doing that to another human being, or even an animal."
Now the mothers are working with police and imploring the district attorney's office to prosecute the youths as adults and to seek the harshest sentences possible. They have raised $2,500 for a reward fund so far, and are taking more donations in the hope it will spur someone to turn those responsible in to authorities.
Most of all, the girls and their mothers want the three men - who appeared to be in their early 20s - to be arrested.
A team of detectives have been assigned to the case, and the police response has the victims and their families confident that the men will soon be found.
Anyone with information about the suspects or the incident is urged to call police at the Youth Services Division, at (562) 570-1426, or Violent Crimes Division, at (562) 570-7250.
"Anything anyone can do, please help," said one of the mothers. "These people ... they don't belong in society."
Tracy Manzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (562) 499-1261.