Of Burning Crosses and the First Amendment

Westchester County, an affluent, predominantly white suburb of NYC (where the Clintons, among others reside) was the site of a crossing burning on the night before Thanksgiving.  As of yesterday, a 21-year-old white man has been charged in with a hate crime. The suspect is the older brother of a girl who was involved in a fight at the local high school with a class mate, Timothy Artope, who is African American; the fight apparently included use of a racial epithet. The cross appeared on the Artope family’s lawn just hours after the fight. The report from the local news channel here describes the Westchester D.A.’s response to the family this way:

She praised Wesley and Clara Montague-Artope of Cortlandt for their family’s “dignified and courageous” response to the cross burning.

While I have no doubt that it’s true that these folks have responded with dignity and courage, such reports don’t go far enough to… Continue reading…