I’ve been aware of but haven’t blogged about the fact that, in Lewiston, Maine, the powers that be were contemplating prosecuting a middle school student for having thrown a piece of ham at a Muslim kid in the cafeteria. As LGF reports, they ultimately decided that it was not a hate crime, and are leaving the kid to be disciplined within the school system itself (there’s a scary thought, too).
Having read the news report out of Maine, however, I can tell you here and now that there’s something very peculiar about the whole story. Let’s start with the relevant facts, as reported in the local newspaper:
A 14-year-old Somali boy told the Sun Journal last month that he was eating at a table with four other Somali students on April 11 when the ham was thrown on the table. The teen said the ham was in a bag and that the student who tossed it laughed along with other students who witnessed the incident.
Let me start by pointing out that Americans, especially students, find it hysterically funny to throw food. Heck, this propensity has been enshrined in several movies, starting with Laurel and Hardy, and moving up to the present time, with Animal House being a great recent example. While there’s usually an element of aggression in throwing food at people, for the most part Americans consider it a great sport. (Indeed, back in the 1960s, my concentration camp experienced mother was absolutely horrified to learn that, at my sister’s junior high school, an egg toss was considered a perfect fund raiser. She quickly got the PTA to put a stop to that kind of food waste.) For this reason, to learn that junior high school kids were tossing food around really doesn’t strike fear into me.
But there’s more. Note that it says “the ham was in a bag.” Let me ask you: Imagine yourself back in high school. The jerky guys at the next table are getting loud and silly, and suddenly a bag from their table lands on next to you. You’re a person of at least moderate intelligence. Do you (a) toss the bag back immediately, without bothering to open it; (b) toss the bag in the garbage without bothering to open it; or (c) carefully open the bag and excavate its contents so that you can discover precisely what the jerks were sending your way. In all my years, and all the many schools I’ve attended, I can tell you that I’ve never seen anybody follow path C. And it’s no use to tell me that the boy at the receiving end of this food missile was from Somalia and was unfamiliar with American schoolroom customs. Unless he transferred to the school the day before the throwing took place, he’s been in school long enough to know that whatever lurks is the bag is something no sensible person wants to see (such as garbage, used food, ham, whatever). In other words, there’s something very peculiar about the fact that the boy on the receiving end of the projectile looked into the bag.
Note, please, that I draw no conclusions. I just point out that, on their face, the facts are inconsistent with ordinary human behavior, especially amongst the middle school set.
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