..Jon Simonds..

Basically Brooklyn
Somewhere North of the City

Jon Simonds writes a series called Basically Brooklyn, which is more about observing life than a particular location. Today's piece happens to take place in Westchester, NY.

Christopher Hudak and Ryan A. Martin could have remained a couple of dumb white guys from the Cortlandt township of Westchester County, where the two 20-year-olds reside. All they had to do was continue to do what they've done so well for so much of their lives. Instead, they had to do something different. They had to sit down and attempt to exercise their brains.

Here's what they came up with. If you take a trip to a local lumber store and buy a couple of two-by-fours, you can put them together in the shape of a four-foot cross. All you need is a hammer and a couple of nails. Once you've managed to get this cross together, you can take a trip to the local auto parts store and purchase a few quarts of oil. You then soak the cross with the oil and stick it on the front lawn of an African American home, set a match to it and voila! Just like magic, you have a burning cross, or at least, these two dumb white boys deduced, you would in theory.

What they ended up with, however, was little more than a cross soaked with motor oil.

I wonder how long it took these two ordinary, average white dudes to figure this out? I would have to assume that Ryan, a laborer, could have waited a couple of days and gone through a box of matches, trying to ignite the fruition of his labor, but Christopher, a student at Westchester Community College, comes equiped with a few extra brain cells. So, I have to believe he is the one who came up with the idea of heading to the local gas station, where they purchased a gallon of gas and lit the cross up.

So what exactly led these two Einsteins to commit such a heinous act?

Christopher Hudak, the aspiring college student with the few extra brain cells, has a younger sister who apparently was involved in a spat with a member of the family for whom this cross was crafted.

The hostilities occurred at Hendrick Hudson High School. Hudak's little sister was suspended for ten days while her adversary received a four month suspension. I'm sorry to report that I have no idea what the fight was all about, but apparently the judicial wisdom of the school was not good enough for dumb and dumber and so, the day before last Thanksgiving, Hudak and Martin put their heads together and went shopping.

On Friday, August 8th, in a Westchester County Courtroom, both apologized to the family for their actions and plead guilty to what Westchester County Judge Jeffrey A. Cohen called, "a hate crime" directed at an entire community. As a result, the sentence imposed will be profound and severe.

Sentencing is set for October 28th and the Judge has hinted at as many as four years in a state prison with hundreds upon hundreds of community service hours to follow. Ryan and Christopher may find some challenge in the lesson of the day and while racist acts should never be tolerated, they may never be completely absent from society.

Racism is a beast, but merely a shadow of the beast it once was. We shouldn't be seduced by its hungar. I trust Judge Cohen, in his infinite wisdom, fears the beast can only be fed by sentencing these two dumb white boys to the hardened world of a federal prison.

I'll bet Rev. Al Sharpton, or somebody like Danny Glover, could find something for these two dumb white boys to do. Something that could better serve the community to whom they directed their act against. It would certainly better serve the community and let's face it -- it will surely take a couple of years for the the genius of Ryan Martin and Christopher Hudak to learn anything at all about humanity.

You know, they might just learn a thing or two about themselves or am I just another dumb white boy asking for a tad too much?

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