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The Mugging of a Liberal

August 19, 2013

In a July 26 letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a pregnant 31-year-old woman described her frightening encounter with 10 bike riding teenage thugs while walking home on her quiet residential Center City street.

She gave them no thought until seconds later, when she found herself on the ground with a bike on top of her, and “a little boy looking as terrified as me trying to steal my belongings, fists raised.”

In the unusual case of the victim not blaming the perp, she takes pains to point out that she and her husband are “proud “to raise their family in the diverse culture of the city. Moreover, they are staunch opponents of racial profiling. The “tragic” Trayvon Martin situation has reinforced their beliefs. 

Admittedly, her encounter with the flash mob on wheels has caused her (oh so delicately and reluctantly) to question some of these beliefs. Nonetheless, she remains a caring and compassionate human being. She is not angry at the mugger, nor scared. She’s “just sad—sad that (she’s) about to raise a baby among people who would hurt a pregnant woman…..sad that I don’t know how to teach my child that stereotypes aren’t real when something like this happens.” The problem with stereotypes is that they are rooted in reality.

But above all, she’s “ most sad for the boy who knocked me over ( and his friends who just stood there).With so much anger, so much hate, and a propensity to commit violence on me ( and my giant belly ) in what direction is his life leading?”  Touching.  
Coincidently, an article in the July 27 Inquirer foreshadowed where her “boy” assailant’s life is leading. Nineteen-year-old Justine Mackie, arrested after a gunfight with police and the FBI earlier that week, confessed to killing three people in a 10-day spree of violence between July 9 and July 18. Both Mackie and his brother (who was killed in the gunfight) have long juvenile records and walked away from juvenile facilities mere days before the killing spree. This 19-year-old Mr. Mackie told police that if he had been the one with the gun instead of his brother, he would have shot “until the magazine was empty.”

I suspect Mr. Mackie’s journey began with purse snatchings, juvenile court and a series of juvenile facilities where therapists plumbed the root causes of Mr. Mackie’s  “propensity to commit violence.” According to juvenile justice experts, Mr. Mackie wasn’t evil; he was “troubled.” Columnist Thomas Sowell recently wrote that as far back as the 18th century, the left has struggled to avoid facing the plain fact of evil….” The left uses ‘Every kind of excuse, from poverty to an unhappy childhood, to explain and excuse evil. Yet seldom is there a speck of evidence that thugs are troubled, and often there is ample evidence that they are in fact enjoying themselves, as they create trouble and dangers for others.’” Mr. Mackie is a testament to the efficacy of this brave philosophy.   

Clearly, our compassionate victim is of like mind.

One day, however, after one or two more such incidents, without a word being spoken she and her husband will decide to relocate to a leafy suburb where reality is less likely to disturb their cherished beliefs about themselves and the world they live in.  

And “troubled youths” like Justine Mackie will continue to ride their bikes on quiet Center City streets.        


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Gerald McOscar has lived, practiced law, and penned an occasional column in West Chester, Pa for over three decades. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers and periodicals over the years, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Women's Quarterly, and many others. He was politically raised a "blue collar democrat" before acquiring  a conservative world view upon entering young adulthood. Jerry believes that the personal responsibility that conservatism espouses is the key to a life worth living.