December 14, 2005
Too Many Cases of Hate Crime Hoaxes
Paul Mirecki -- the
Kansas University religious studies professor who derided Christian
fundamentalists as "fundies" -- is a strange man with
strange tales of alleged persecution. Contrary to his knee-jerk
defenders on the Left, it is not bigoted, hateful, or intolerant
for me to scrutinize his story.
The professor first
created controversy in November after penning an unhinged e-mail
message expressing his desire to deliver a "slap" to
the "big fat face" of the "fundies" by teaching
an intelligent design course "as a religious studies class
under the category 'mythology.'" The message was sent to
the mailing list of the university's Society of Open-Minded (snort!)
Atheists and Agnostics. Mirecki signed his taunting diatribe "Evil
Dr. P." These are the words of an individual more than a
few cards short of a full deck.
After his remarks
were publicized, KU cancelled the proposed course. Mirecki was
forced to apologize. And then, out of the blue, It Happened.
Last week, Mirecki
claimed he was beaten by two mysterious white men on a rural highway.
He says the unidentified assailants, in a pickup that tailgated
him in rural Douglas County, Kansas, targeted him for his views
while he was "taking a long, pre-dawn drive in the country
to clear his mind," according to the student newspaper. Mirecki
says he pulled over to the side of the road to let the men pass.
He then said he got out of his vehicle. The alleged attackers
got out of their truck and beat "the hell" out of him,
reportedly using a "metal object," Mirecki said last
week before abruptly clamming up about the attack and sequestering
himself in his house.
the beating aligned perfectly with the mainstream media's template
of Christian fundamentalists as right-wing vigilantes. Mirecki's
liberal supporters on the Internet swallowed the story whole.
The Wichita Eagle told those with questions about Mirecki's
account to "give it a rest." A Kansas City Star
columnist called allegations of a manufactured hate crime
a "cheap shot."
Mirecki can't remember
where the incident took place, according to local law enforcement,
and has offered only the vaguest of suspect descriptions. There
are conflicting accounts about Mirecki's physical appearance the
day of the attack. While a faculty colleague claimed that "big
swollen spots" had "transformed" Mirecki's face,
Jesse Plous and Tiffany Jeffers, two of Mirecki's students, told
the campus newspaper they didn't notice bruises or scratches when
they met for his class six hours after the alleged attack. Lindsay
Mayer, another student in the class, "said injuries weren't
extremely noticeable." Mirecki did not mention the alleged
beating in class.
Now, a week after
the alleged attack with the alleged assailants still at large,
Mirecki is poised to take both his university and the local sheriff's
office to court for their insufficient support and investigation.
The fundies! Academia! The cops! They're all in on it!
officials announced that Mirecki had voluntarily resigned as chair
of the religion department, the professor came out of his shell
to blast the school for forcing him to step down. The university
stands by its account. Mirecki has complained that law enforcement
officials have seized his car and computer, and doesn't like the
direction of the probe. "If I have to sue, I will,"
he told the Lawrence Journal-World.
None of this smells
The truth is there
are too many cases of hate crime hoaxers on campuses -- a phenomenon
most left-leaning journalists are loathe to cover -- to dismiss
the possibility in this case. Last year, Claremont McKenna College
professor Kerri Dunn was sentenced to prison after she staged
an anti-Semitic hate crime against herself. Earlier this year,
a lesbian student at Mt. Tamalpais High School in Marin County,
Calif., faked several anti-gay incidents to garner attention and
sympathy. Leah Miller, a black student at San Francisco State
University, admitted to scratching "NIGG" on a dorm
room door and writing herself a note with the same epithet. Jaime
Alexander Saide, a Northwestern University student, admitted making
up anti-Hispanic threats against himself after the school rallied
around him with "Stop the Hate" marches.
Strange, isn't it,
how leftists on campus who sneer at blind faith are so often fooled
by it themselves.
2005 Creators Syndicate