Excerpt:

Imagine a black couple, minding their own business on a public street, suddenly set upon by four white, alcohol-fueled, women in their mid-20's who proceed to viciously assault the black woman at length, all the while shouting profane racist insults. They kick the victim repeatedly in the head and body, pull out some of her hair, and leave her not only bruised and battered but so traumatized that, more than a year after the attack, she suffers from panic attacks and flashbacks, can't keep her job, and is still undergoing counseling.

A clearcut incident of racist violence, right? An open-and-shut case in court, particularly if the entire attack was caught on video. But now imagine that the judge in this case lets the four perpetrators off the hook with only suspended sentences. His reasoning? He buys their attorney's defense that they weren't accustomed to alcohol, since they are Christian fundamentalists strictly forbidden to drink. He also accepts the outrageous argument that they may have felt that they were the victims of unreasonable force from their target's partner, who tried to defend her from the attack.

An impossible scenario, you say? There is no way the attackers would not be charged with a hate crime and given jail time. There is no way a judge would excuse drunken, violent offenders simply because their Christian beliefs made them unused to drunkenness, nor would he consider the victims' self-defense a mitigating factor in the attackers' motivation.


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