Trinity International University is a Christian school located in Bannockburn, Illinois, about 15 miles north of Chicago. Earlier this month, three minority students received threatening letters, one of which mentioned that the writer had a gun. Yesterday, Bannockburn police announced that they had arrested a suspect in the case. She was a young black woman by the name of Alicia Hardin. Apparently, Hardin didn't like the school and wanted her parents to send her elsewhere. She sent the letters so she could convince her parents that minorities were not safe at Trinity.
If you only catch an occasional report of phony hate crimes on the nightly news, you might be inclined to interpret them as isolated incidents, mere anecdotes. If you have been closely following race relations, diversity and so on, you know that "phony" crimes are quite common. Since reports of "hate crimes" are often used to influence public policy or popular sentiment, it is important for everyone to know that, in many cases, such "crimes" have been staged. Here are a few links to help you get started learning about this important topic:
It would be wrong to dismiss serious allegations as "phony" without an investigation. On the other hand, it would generally be prudent to put off the anti-hate rallies and the candlelight vigils for a few weeks, at least until officials have had time to look for the story behind the story.
More commentary on Alicia Hardin can be found in the realclearpolitics.com article Phony Racism and the Allure of Victimhood by Steve Chapman.
Addendum, April 18, 2006:
Last week, Alicia Hardin was found guity of "felony disorderly conduct." See Ex-student at Trinity convicted for threats (Barbara Bell, Chicago Tribune) and Woman pleads guilty to racist threats (Dave Newbart, Daily Southtown). Hardin is mentioned in Racism 101 at Duke (Peter Bradley, The American Thinker).
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