We were there to make a point and the point was that all of our residents here in Lowell are human beings to be treated with respect and dignity and that incidents of vandalism, no matter the root cause, are to be condemned.
In the case of the Babylon Restaurant, Wednesday morning last week, at about 3 AM, someone threw a 20 pound stone through a front window. There was an article about this in yesterday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun.♠ In that article the question was raised as to if this was a "hate crime":
Patrick Scanlon, coordinator of Veterans for Peace, said that until police can prove otherwise, evidence suggests the restaurant was targeted based on who the owners are.Perhaps, but the fact is, hate crime or not, such an incident will be more traumatic to recent immigrants than to a long established family running a family business. Support from the rest of the community is well in order. And, such support sends a message to all who are new to Lowell that we have some standards and it sends a message to those who think in terms of intimidation of others that the rest of us don't approve of such actions.
"I find it hard to believe that somebody is going to pull up at 3 a.m., with a 20-pound stone and randomly pick the Middle Eastern store out of all the other businesses on the street," Scanlon said. "In my opinion, this was a hate crime."
However, we don't really know the motivation for the attack. I speculated last night that it was entirely possible that this was the act of a drunk Lowellian with a car registered in New Hampshire. Thus, when the police track him or her down, they can charge both vandalism and improper registration of a motor vehicle. It turns out that this really was someone from New Hampshire, as reported in today's edition of The [Lowell] Sun. Per the paper, Lowell police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee reports that this was not a hate crime.
Actually, I am a little unhappy about the term "hate crime" in that it seems to flow against the freedom of the First Amendment. Actual crime should be punished by the law. "Thought" crimes should be dealt with by society in its attitudes toward people who think outside acceptable boundaries. We learned about that in grade school. And we acted on that last night, as Veterans for Peace and others filled the Babylon Restaurant two times over (100 patrons for 50 seats).
Reverend Lara Hoke, of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Andover, MA.
For me, it was comforting to see a lot of different people, different in race, religion and military service, come together to send a message of acceptance.
And, not everyone at the restaurant was there because of the incident. Lily Faulkner and her Father were there for the food. It was obvious to me that they are regulars.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Remember, articles in The Sun go away after a while, to a different place. I will not be updating their links unless I am bedridden and have read every book in the house. And, besides, the Editor tells me the links cost money after a few weeks. It is the new business model.
♥ In checking on the spelling of Sam Poulten's name I read the Wikipedia article on WCAP and found out that Ray Goulding was an early minority partner and that Ray, and his on air partner, Bob (Bob and Ray) were on the air for the first day of WCAP operations. Bob and Ray were favorites in my home when I was growing. I still remember some of the characters, like Kindly Doctor Bob.