Sticks, stones, nooses and blood­shed

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - DEB­O­RAH SIM­MONS Deb­o­rah Sim­mons can be con­tacted at dsim­mons@wash­ing­ton­

If this is cur­rent Amer­ica, what will the fu­ture look like? A Demo­crat al­ready hold­ing a statewide elected in the Com­mon­wealth of Vir­ginia calls the pres­i­dent of the United States a “nar­cis­sis­tic ma­niac.” The man, who is an Army veteran and a physi­cian, wants to be gov­er­nor.

In Mont­gomery County, Mary­land, one of the wealth­i­est coun­ties in the na­tion, re­li­gious hate is fast be­com­ing a main­stay. Of 94 hate crimes in the county in 2016, re­li­gion was a fac­tor in 38 cases, race was the fac­tor in 34 cases, eth­nic­ity played a role in 12, and gen­der/ sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion fac­tored into six.

Ever heard of a “coal burner?” It’s crass jar­gon for “a white girl who is spoiled rot­ten and rebels against her wealthy or mid­dle-class par­ents for some imag­ined af­front some­time in their short lives” by hav­ing sex with a black guy, ac­cord­ing to ur­bandic­

The Paris-born James Smith­son, the Bri­ton whose phi­lan­thropy gave us the Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion, must be rolling over in his crypt be­neath the Cas­tle build­ing. On Fri­day author­i­ties found a noose hang­ing from a tree out­side the Hir­sh­horn Mu­seum and Sculp­ture Gar­den. In another “Strange Fruit” move, author­i­ties on Wed­nes­day dis­cov­ered a noose at an ex­hibit on seg­re­ga­tion at the Na­tional Mu­seum of African Amer­i­can His­tory and Cul­ture.

And then there’s the shiny ve­neer of Port­land, Ore­gon, whose sooth­ing shades of Pa­cific blue man­i­fested in the bloody at­tack aboard the MAX light rail. The killer spewed white su­prem­a­cist rants be­fore turn­ing a knife on un­armed pas­sen­gers. Some ob­servers now are point­ing out that pro­gres­sive Port­land has long been the mask of re­gres­sive Port­land.

The city of East Lansing, Michi­gan, is row­ing another boat. As farm­ers mar­kets pre­pare for their spring and sum­mer gath­er­ing spots across Amer­ica, East Lansing has ousted Coun­try Mill Farms and Or­chard. An old-school, pick-your-own fam­ily farm, Coun­try Mill is stocked with ap­ples, berries, a kid­die pump­kin patch and hay rides, and even or­ganic ap­ple but­ter, ciders and vine­gar (if those suit your taste buds). Now the owner, Steve Tennes, has taken on the LGBT com­mu­nity be­cause he won’t sign onto host­ing gay wed­dings. Mr. Tennes, whose fam­ily is Ro­man Catholic, has filed a law­suit against East Lansing.

Makes you won­der if re­li­gious free­dom has be­come another of Amer­ica’s one-way streets.

Amer­i­can Univer­sity, Howard Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Mary­land have more in com­mon than be­ing sought-af­ter in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing. They also have in­trud­ers who use blood­shed and racially tinged hate mes­sages to mar those schools’ cam­puses.

At UMd.-Col­lege Park in April, a noose was found in­side the Phi Kappa Tau fra­ter­nity house. Last month a young man named Richard Collins III was fa­tally stabbed at a bus shel­ter. Collins, who was black and a re­cently com­mis­sioned Army 2nd lieu­tenant, was mor­tally wounded by Mary­land stu­dent Sean Ur­ban­ski, who law en­forcers said be­longed to a Face­book group that dis­par­aged mi­nori­ties. The weapon of choice was a knife, and the feds are in­vest­ing.

In early May, ba­nanas in­scribed with the words “HARAMBE BAIT” were hung from nooses at Amer­i­can Univer­sity, an ur­ban cam­pus of di­ver­sity if ever there were one. And yes, the feds are look­ing into the case.

The Depart­ment of Jus­tice also knows what’s go­ing on in Chicago, too.

How­ever, while the me­dia has been fo­cus­ing on the un­ac­cept­able high rates of gun vi­o­lence, the law en­forcers also have looked into a ris­ing sui­cide rate among mem­bers of the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment.

Last year was clearly the dead­li­est on record for Chicago: There were more than 800 mur­ders and more than 2,300 shoot­ings in 2016. This year, mean­while, has recorded 233 killings and more than 1,250 shoot­ings. As im­por­tant are the po­lice sui­cides.

Re­ports Bre­it­ “In its re­port, the DOJ noted that the rate of sui­cide among Chicago of­fi­cers is 60 per­cent higher than the na­tional av­er­age. The Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice in Chicago told the DOJ that there were 29.4 sui­cides per 100,000 of­fi­cers from 2013 to 2015. Of­fi­cial depart­ment num­bers place that rate at 22.7 sui­cides per 100,000.”

The na­tional av­er­age for po­lice of­fi­cers re­port­edly is 18.1.

There also are the sideshow acts: “Co­me­dian” Kathy Griffin hold­ing a blood­ied, de­tached head of Pres­i­dent Trump in a de­ranged photo shoot. The N-word scrolled on the home fence of NBA great LeBron James. Jimmy Kim­mel feel­ing “wealth guilt” af­ter his son is born sickly.

And there is the mother of all cur­rent move­ments.

Stick and stones, for sure, can break you bones, as do nooses, if knot­ted cor­rectly to break your neck. And, un­for­tu­nately, blood­shed has be­come as much a part of daily Amer­i­can life as beer, pizza and car com­mer­cials.

As for words — those nasty, in­cite­ful, deroga­tory words that lye soap and parental ad­mon­ish­ment used to take off? Well, they have been re­placed by emo­jis and blasts we hoped would stay in the past.

Much of what Amer­i­cans are do­ing is re­act­ing to one sim­ple, two­syl­la­ble word: “RE­SIST!” It means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ages, cul­tures, eth­nic­i­ties, re­li­gions and gen­ders.

In­deed, this is Amer­ica.

The ques­tion for the re­sisters is, Do you even en­vi­sion a fu­ture Amer­ica?

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