News & Politics

Police: Attack on Jewish Cemetery Was a Drunken Rage, Not Anti-Semitism

Sally Amon of Olivette, Mo., reacts as she saw the toppled gravestone of her grandmother Anna Ida Hutkin at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, a suburb of St. Louis on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The first thing most everyone probably thought upon hearing about last year’s destruction of headstones in a Jewish cemetery was that it was a message of hate for the Jewish people. How likely is it that it could be anything else?

Apparently it was. The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Alzado Harris, 34, confessed to toppling the headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in February 2017, causing more than $30,000 in damage, according to court documents.

Ed Magee, the spokesman for Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, described his motivation pretty simply: “He was drunk and mad at a friend.” Apparently the friend had dropped him off near the cemetery, so that’s where he took out his rage.

Time and time again lately, alleged hate crimes turn out to be hoaxes. In this case, there was apparently no real motive of hatred or even a “false flag” motive. Just a nasty case of vandalism.

Although the incidents of hoaxes are primarily committed by Leftists on or near college campuses, they have been carried out by those of other political movements, too. And I’ve fallen for one myself.

We’re all so willing to believe in the worst from our opponents. We’re ready to believe any manner of horrors being inflicted by them onto people they don’t like. We’re ready to accept them at face value.

We shouldn’t. A bit of healthy skepticism might be in order. For all of us.

Yes, our opponents have actually done some truly awful things. And not just once, either. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wait until all the facts are in before labeling something as hate.

Then again, that’s easier said than done. Today, speed is the way of the world. We see information and make a statement on that information based on not just the info itself, but also on our own prejudices as well, and the world isn’t better off for it in the least.

For what it’s worth, this case has reminded me to think before I comment on the news.