Riding the wave of such powerful protests from the weekend and positivity from Michelle Obama’s feature on Oprah I was left with that familiar sadness I think I’ve been putting off for a while. Listening to her words, and having followed Obama this week as well, I couldn’t help but long for a different timeline. I don’t like when people say that they always thought Hillary would win or that #Trump was never really a threat. If that is true then why now, when he is our sitting #PEOTUS are the racist tapes still not being released but bubbling up like false warning flares: too little too late. Last night I felt the tears of sorrow welling up inside my soul screaming at me to do SOMETHING….anything…
I find myself plagued with the knowledge of how malicious and evil spirited domination is. The concept alone is what seems to be causing so much pain in the world as it stands. There have been more hate crimes since the election of Donald Trump than following 911, on the day after the election there were almost 200 reported incidents of hate crimes. That’s 200 people that actually reported the vandalism, physical assault, verbal assault, urine thrown on them, being chased by cars, not being sold to in stores, and worse. And where are the majority of these hate crimes taking place? In k-12 schools. The SPLC has been diligently tracking and prosecuting these hate crimes, but when I saw that the schools are the source of violence and hate I was shaken. That somehow, over the last 8 years there has been deep and underlying hate bubbling just waiting for the right moment to expel itself, it feels like betrayal and hidden threat wrapped in a confusing encrypted message that is so blatantly hate driven.
Today, John Howard and Tanner Ward, 18 and 17 year old High School students in Idaho below:
who not only sexually assaulted a mentally disabled African American student by repeatedly kicking a metal coat hanger into his rectum after stripping him naked: had been bullying and racially abusing him while the school, the principal, and their football coaches turned a blind eye. Still, when initially reported in October 2015, John Howard was rightfully being charged with Felony Rape and possible Life in Prison and as the principal of the school looked into the matter interviewing 30 students who confirmed details like one who said that after hearing sounds like loud thumping and hitting walls this student saw the victim limping and then one of the attackers bragged:
In this story the family of the disabled African American victim who adopted him, Football Teammate to the boys who offered him hugs to lure him into the locker room to strike, that town is pushing them out:
Instead of showing compassion for the adoptive parents and son the town of Dietrich Idaho has made it clear that they, like the principal and coaches of the football team, don’t believe that the lives of the white boys should be forever tainted like the life of the victim who did nothing wrong who did nothing to provoke their attack.
John Howard did not get charged with Felony Rape nor did he receive a sentence of life in prison, he got what being white in a small white town gets you: a Get Out of Jail Free Card. This story chisels deeper and deeper into my moral compass with each detail. The judge decreed that he be allowed just 2 years probation with 300 hours of community service. For taking advantage of a mentally disabled and vulnerable boy, causing him internal bleeding by kicking a coat hanger deeper and deeper into his rectum: for good behavior the judge said that John Howard can have his RECORD EXPUNGED. His name will not go on a registered sex offenders list, he will not be monitored for sexual assault, he will have no felony against him, no he will have a clean slate. Meanwhile, John Howard is moving to Texas where the judge is also allowing him to continue his community service/relocation assistance program where he can peacefully reinsert himself into society and assimilate without anyone the wiser of his heinous hate crime and violent rape against a disabled person. Tanner Ward who was initially the one who inserted the hanger in the first place, was set to be tried as an adult, conveniently had his case kicked down to juvenile court.
When similar instances are carried out today, like when John McGraw violently elbowed Rakeem Jones in the face at a Trump Rally in March, and Mr. McGraw was allowed to simply return to his seat after physically assaulting someone in front of witnesses and many Policemen the message is clear: If you are black you are not welcome here, and if you are white you can do whatever you want to an unwanted black man. If that black man is being escorted by police, as Rakeem Jones was, then knock him to the ground and threaten his life like Mr. McGraw did no one will stop you.
The law was on the side of John McGraw too though. Not only was there video footage of the assault and death threat where Mr. McGraw said he “Might have to kill him” next time he sees him, and ample witness testimony, but there was enough to charge McGraw with Felony Assault. Only, now that his attack was being featured on news channels around the nation McGraw was being seen as somewhat of a hero. He felt like he could do no wrong. When the judge gave him the sentence of “a suspended 30-day jail sentence and a year on unsupervised probation” it was like he WAS getting exactly what he wanted, the judge even lifted the provision that would suspend his right to own a firearm. So, not only did he outright assault Rakeem Jones, threaten his life on national TV, but he would go unsupervised and could walk the planet with firearm in pocket knowing that the police and legal system had little to no regard for what he did to minorities. WHY?
Case after case after case, stories from cities progressive cities or cities so lost in the past, they all point to systems of hate and segregation. Systemic Racism is in our schools and fills our jails, it allows people like John Howard and Tanner Ward to find new unsuspecting victims with not a mark on their record: I truly wonder where their lives will lead, what colleges they will now be allowed into all because they were let off for their felony rape, sex crime, hate crime, and assault. Systemic Racism leaves no warning other than this feeling of disgust sitting in the pit of my abysmal gut. For people with disabilities who don’t have anyone who will standup for them, who get bullied until something worse happens, we must choose to speak out: this is never going to be acceptable.
A Teacher assaulting a disabled student, restraining her over and over, this is abuse:
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