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Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Racist graffiti found at Louis Orr's house

By Eamonn Brennan

Care to test your faith in humanity? Read on.

At about 10 a.m. Sunday morning, Bowling Green coach Louis Orr contacted police to report something he found written in chalk on his sidewalk at his home in the Stone Ridge Golf Club neighborhood of Bowling Green, Ohio. That something was, if you can believe it, a swastika and the words "white power." According to the Toledo Blade, Bowling Green Police Lt. Brad Biller considers the graffiti to be an "isolated incident" and that Orr's family's safety is not at immediate risk:
“I’m considering it to be an act of graffiti and vandalism,” Bowling Green Police Lt. Brad Biller said Monday. “I don’t consider this a widespread problem in our community." Lieutenant Biller said the graffiti “is what we could consider to be intimidating statements and symbols, but there were not any direct threats made. There wasn’t anything that would suggest anyone is in danger of immediate harm.”

Orr has not commented publicly on the incident.

Let's hope Biller's appraisal is correct. After all, generic vandalism in what appears to be a relatively quiet, suburban neighborhood is not exactly a shocking thing; teenagers egg their neighbors' houses and throw toilet paper on their trees, and then have a good laugh, and then go back to wherever they were staying that night to play Halo, or whatever. It is not hard to guess that some dumb 14-year-old kids could have been behind this as well, thinking it was somehow funny, that it would somehow afford them some attention from their peers. That appears to be the Lieutenant's read on the situation. Maybe it's far too kind. Maybe I just don't want to think there are adults out there who would do something like this, even though I know there probably are. But, man, I hope not.

Because it's not funny. It is the furthest thing from funny. It is hateful speech designed to stoke racial fear at the household of an African-American man and his family. It is morally corrosive even if it is not taken seriously as a threat of violence. It is profoundly wrong. And hopefully whoever did this will be found out, so that Orr and his family can sleep a little bit easier at night.