Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Maine... The Other White State

In case you haven't been following local news, about a month ago in Lewiston, a local guy rolled a frozen pig's head into a mosque during worship. Heinous is the only thing I can say about that.

There has--rightly--been a ton of media coverage, and today's Press Herald reports more on this story. Listen to what the pig-roller's lawyer has to say:

"It's basically a run-down storefront in Lewiston. It's not like there's any wording to the effect there's a mosque there," said Matthews' attorney, James Howaniec, referring to the Lisbon Road mosque.

Howaniec also said his client did not know pigs and pork products are offensive to Muslims.

Howaniec also alleges that police and corrections officers laughed about the incident the night of the arrest and as his client was being booked, adding that one officer even said, "I wish I had thought of that." He contends rank-and-file officers
and the community at large do not consider the case a serious hate crime.

"It was an act of stupidity. Not every stupid act constitutes a crime," Howaniec

I'm speechless. Is ignorance and racism really a defense in the 21st century?

"[Lewiston police Lt. McGonagle says that] officers may have appeared to make light of the incident during the investigation to elicit more cooperation from Matthews. Suspects often are more likely to cooperate with investigators if they believe the officers are sympathetic to their view, McGonagle said. He said Lewiston officers do treat the incident seriously.

WTF? Is McGonagle covering his ass? Does anyone have any doubt that Lewiston cops are less than enlightened about, say white privilege and race relations?

Sigh. This stuff makes me so tired.

[EDIT: The online comments on the above news article are developing exponentially & I am suddenly ashamed to live in this state. These comments are mostly horrifying and racist and awful, but there are a few bright spots. Of note (because getting angry makes me strangely satisfied and probably suspiciously superior):

RC from Damariscotta: Brent Matthews disgusts me. He knew exactly what he was doing when he rolled that pigs head in there. I don't like all of these foreigners here either; a majority of them sucking the life out of Maine and the USA in general, but a person needs to have some common decency.

c, no town noted: Haven't your politicans and cops anything better to do than crucify some guy over a pig's head? When you come to this country, better bring a thick skin. Everybody else did.

Renee, from Biddeford: the fact remains that crimes commited against any group of people are not any more or less severe because of what group the victim is part of. Beating up a black Somalian and telling him to go back where he came from is no worse than beating up a white American in an upperclass neighborhood and telling him to go back to his own neighborhood. Violent crime is violent crime regardless of who is the victim. ]


J said...

Yeah. It's a proud day in Maine.

Really, the way life should be.

Actually, I'm always a little shocked when the paper opens up comments for this type of story. They're usually very racist/classist/homophobic...and kind of scary actually

Jen said...

They seem to want comments from everyone on everything these days. Mostly the comments just make me scared.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

These are mostly the kinds of comments that, had they been sent to the paper's op-ed page would have been thrown in the trash.

You see it on Yahoo all the time. There will be a story about some horrific event in, say, Rwanda, and some idiot will post a comment along the lines of "Yay! More dead niggers!" I long ago gave up even looking at the comments on news sites. Like J said...scary.


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