By: Bruce Kogan
Recently I saw a story on Facebook out of, where else, Texas in which a 30 something man attacked a pregnant woman wearing a burka, the telltale sign of subversion in some small minds. My God if you’re dead set in your mind about killing Muslims, I’m sure that a conflict can be found for you somewhere on this round planet, maybe ISIS. What a feeling of importance this clown must have had before the cops dragged him away, fighting for the American way of life against a pregnant woman.
During the first Gulf War there came a file across my desk at the Crime Victims Board, the claim by the father of a 16-year-old boy who was living in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. They were Palestinians and came to America for a better life. At least there weren’t people with guns on both sides looking to cause mayhem and destruction – maybe the ultimate example of what an open carry policy can lead to.
Being the only openly gay person my agency ever employed to investigate claims I grew to be an expert in both spotting what could be LGBT related and what could have an element of bias. The report I saw, the original UF61 from the NYPD showed a child named Ridwan being beaten up by a gang of youths. The bias bell went off in my head. Ridwan took care of his claim himself, more than likely because his parents had a limited command of the English language. Yes indeed it was a bias attack the kids called him a “dirty Arab” as they beat up on him.
I did what I usually did when I spotted a bias attack. I went to the Kings County DA’s office to see the LGBT liaison who was a woman named Liz Garro. She had connections within the Arab community and we got the young man some folks who were going to advocate for him. Liz also got the case transferred to the Bias Unit of the NYPD. They are usually thorough when they do get a case, the problem is that they don’t get them because the original reports don’t indicate bias. His was not the only one where I had something to do with getting something declared as a bias attack. But it was the only one in my years there that wasn’t LGBT related.
The last I heard from Ridwan was the invitation to a wedding in the new century, but at that time I was living in Buffalo, and Liz Garro had passed away. she was one bulldog of an advocate when the situation called for it. We’re seeing it now in the America of Donald Trump. Mindless xenophobia, the rise of right wing hate groups, the balkanization of our culture. We’ll see more of people who won’t join the military, but might just show their patriotism by vandalizing an Arab owned store or trashing a mosque, l beating up a juvenile or a pregnant woman. This behavior has the imprimatur* of the White House now, make no mistake.
Whether Donald Trump leaves office abruptly because of obvious corruption is one thing. But the damage he’s done to us will take decades to fix. In the meantime, more women will suffer and more children like Ridwan. He certainly is a minority president, but a significant minority was OK with his policy and OK with the image he presents of America to the world. So here’s to you Ridwan, wherever you are. May we stop making war on children.
*An official license by the Roman Catholic Church to print an ecclesiastical or religious book.