The phrase “hate crime” has been in common usage since only the 1980s, but actual hate crimes have of course been around a lot longer. So too have hate crime hoaxes. The most notorious such hoax of that decade was the Tawana Brawley case. The 1990s saw the two arguably worse hate crime hoaxes in modern history: the murder of Carol Stewart in Boston by her husband, and the murder of her two young sons by Susan Smith in Union County, South Carolina.
No, these things don’t happen only in the United States, but let’s face it, the Americans have more than their fair share of psychos. They also have more than their fair share of cretins, because hate crime hoaxes have now descended to the level of farce. Last year we saw the ludicrous Jussie Smollett hoax; although this dude has so far managed to stay out of prison, he will quite likely end up on Carey Street if he keeps litigating this hopeless case. Not all hate crime hoaxes are wilful, however, like the most recent one, in Oakland, California, home of Black Lives Matter. A number of what appeared to be nooses were found in some trees at Merritt Park. And these can only be…symbols of hate. At a time when police officers are being openly attacked, America’s streets set aflame, its stores looted, and statues of its Founding Fathers desecrated, who is agonising over pieces of rope hanging in parkland trees? Libby Schaaf, that’s who.
Libby is the Mayor of Oakland, and although you didn’t really need to ask, yes, she is a Democrat. Now here is the punchline, these so-called nooses appear to be exercise aids, according to local man Victor Sengbe, whose surname suggests he isn’t a paid up member of the Ku Klux Klan. But that doesn’t matter, according to Libby in a short video released on Twitter, these are symbols of terror, regardless of who put them there or why.
Matters have now been compounded by an effigy – a crude dummy – being found in the same area along with an American flag. Even if this isn’t somebody following up with a joke or an attempt to stir trouble, it is difficult to imagine how this kind of behaviour can be considered any kind of crime, except perhaps dropping litter.
This is far from the first time this sort of nonsense has become the focus of the national media and the FBI. Only last year a report of a noose found in a campus residence hall at an Alabama university turned out to be an extension cord someone had tied in a knot, as undoubtedly did a thousand electricians across the nation the same day.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.