‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’
– Edmund Burke
I was shocked and horrified as I read this report of a transgender woman being beaten in a Baltimore McDonalds (hate crime, Bilerico Project with video) . Two teenage girls viciously assaulted the 22 year old woman, even kicking and hitting her as she lay on the ground. I’m not sure whether to be outraged or heartbroken that two girls who are just 14 could express such physical vitriol against another human being. But their attack is only part of the reason I am angry and ashamed of our society right now.
Other patrons of the restaurant stood around watching during the assault, leaving just one employee and an elderly woman to attempt to break up the fight. Disgustingly enough, instead of helping, one of the men thought it best to film the whole event, and in the video you can hear other men laughing as the transgender woman is beaten to the point of a seizure.
It’s one thing for an individual to express hate and violence – we know there are tortured souls in our midst. But to stand around and watch and laugh while someone is being beaten is as good as being an accomplice to the crime. I’m sure any one of the men at the restaurant could have easily held the two teenage girls at bay. Yet they chose not to.
This is not the worst of it!
One would think that a hate crime perpetrated by two young girls while others looked on and laughed would be shameful enough, but that is not the part of the story that I mourn most. The video taken by that cowardly man was posted online and went viral across the Internet. Shame on him for being so heartless in his calm consideration of the aftermath. Shame on us for reveling in the violence of this hate crime.
Are we becoming the mindless watchers in Running Man who delight at seeing others killed and maimed? Have our hearts grown so cold that we can’t muster empathy from the comfort of our living room sofa?
I pray that we can find within ourselves care enough to weep at suffering and – at injustice – still muster enough outrage to change the world we live in. To the woman in the story, I’m sorry that you were put through such trauma, and pray that you can find strength to forgive and move on with your life – even though they, and we, do not deserve it.