Today in Stochastic Violence and Terrorism

News started to break yesterday of the horrific kidnapping, brutalization, and torture of a mentally/developmentally disabled Chicago man by four others – one of whom was an acquaintance.

A mentally disabled man attacked and racially taunted on a Facebook Live video was able to leave a West Side apartment after a neighbor complained about the noise and distracted his attackers, authorities said Thursday.

Two of them followed the neighbor downstairs and the 18-year-old victim took the opportunity to leave the building in the 3300 block of West Lexington Street, ending a five-hour ordeal, police said at a news conference.

Officers found the man wandering the streets in the Homan Square neighborhood around 5:15 p.m., police said. “I observed him wearing a tank top, inside-out, backwards, jean shorts and sandals on,” said Officer Michael Donnelly. “He was bloodied, he was battered.

“He was very discombobulated,” he added. “He was injured. He was confused.”

The four perpetrators are facing felony charges, including hate crimes charges:

Four people face felony criminal charges including hate crimes and kidnapping in the brutal beating and torturing of a mentally disabled man that was broadcasted on live on Facebook.

Jordan Hill,18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; Brittany Covington, 18, of Chicago; and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago; face felony criminal charges of aggravated kidnapping, hate crime; aggravated unlawful restraint; aggravated battery deadly weapon; robbery; PSMV and residential burglary.

Chicago police were made aware of the video Tuesday afternoon. The footage shows the suspects kicking, hitting and cutting the hair of the victim while he was gagged. Shouts of “F*** Trump!” and “F*** white people!” can be heard in the background.

At one point, the victim is held at knife point and told to curse President-elect Donald Trump. The group also forces the victim to drink water from a toilet.

The victim was held hostage for at least 24 hours and as long as 48 hours. Police believe the kidnapping took place in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side. Chicago police found the victim “in distress” walking along a street, authorities said.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called the footage “reprehensible.”

What has gotten a lot of play, and some of it absolutely falling in line with preconceived notions and prejudices, is that the victim is White and the perpetrators are African American.

I want to make this very, very clear: people, regardless of ethnicity, what we call race in the US, religion, or any other demographic descriptor we can come up, do horrible, terrible things to their fellow humans. And they do it all the time. In this case the victim/perpetrator realities lined up to provide grist for certain people’s mills, but what happened in Chicago is, unfortunately, not restricted to any one particular ethnicity or religious group. It is also unacceptable. And it would be unacceptable if the victim was African American and the perpetrators were white. Or if the victim was LatinX and the perpetrators were Jewish-American. Or if the victim was LGBTQ and the perpetrators were Asian American. Wrong is wrong is wrong regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. There is enough evil in the world without looking to shoehorn it into one’s ideological prejudices to score political points.

It is more important now than ever to remember and take to heart the wisdom of President Washington from his Letter to the Jewish Congregations of Newport, Rhode Island:

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

 



Senate Armed Services Committee on Cyber Security Threats/Russian Hacking of the US During the 2016 Election

Sorry for delay on this, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has just concluded its hearing on cyber security threats, including the Russian influence, desinformatziya, and kompromat operations during the 2016 US elections. Here’s the link to C-SPAN’s video where you can watch the whole thing. And here’s a video embed:

And yes, I know this is the Fox News Youtube feed/embeddable feed. It’s the only one I could find.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread

Good for the X Factor star.

A note from commentor O. Felix Culpa:

Speaking of ethics and collective action, the League of Women Voters is supporting a “Call-In Day” to Congress today to challenge Trump’s conflicts of interest:

The League is joining with allied organizations for a Hill Call-In Day urging Congress to address President-elect Trump’s unprecedented and unconstitutional conflicts of interest. The calls will support a forthcoming bill from Senator Elizabeth Warren that will require the President to divest ownership of businesses and disclose all business dealings in order to avoid severe unconstitutional conflicts of interest…

To participate, call the below numbers to connect with your two Senators and your one Representative between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm EST [today], Wednesday, when congressional offices are open. You will be automatically connected to your appropriate congressional offices based on the zip code you provide.

Senate – 1-866-985-2543
House – 1-866-948-8977

Script:
President-elect Trump has conflicts of interest that are unprecedented for an American president. He could violate the Constitution and the law on his first day in office because of prohibited payments to him from his foreign and domestic businesses. Every other President and cabinet official before him has acted to avoid these types of conflicts of interest.

Mr. Trump has not fully disclosed how he will resolve these dangerous conflicts. Americans have been given little more than vague pledges about transferring operations and nothing about transferring ownership. Bi-partisan ethics officials from Republican and Democratic administrations agree this is completely inadequate and does not resolve his dangerous conflicts.

Congress must act to protect the interests of the American people and the integrity of the presidency. President-elect Trump must resolve his conflicts of interest and Congress must require that he disclose his finances and divest his business conflicts.

House call: Ask your Representative to call for a congressional investigation to review Mr. Trump’s business dealings in order to identify and protect against conflicts of interest.

Senate calls: Ask your Senators to call for an investigation to review Mr. Trump’s financial arrangements. Urge Senators to support Senator Warren’s new bill that will require the President-elect to divest ownership and disclose all business dealings in order to avoid serious and unconstitutional conflicts of interest.

***********

Apart from fighting back however we can, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Music Open Thread – (Dis)United States of Pop: Into Pieces

Something about DJ Earworm’s artistry — the best annual collaborations seem to be during years of heightened political tensions. No doubt in part because the musicians are just as embedded in the culture as the rest of us…








Happy New Year: Ireland Man Edition!

We have an early entrant in the bizarre things that occur on New Year’s Eve contest. This one courtesy of Ireland Man (like Florida Man, but with a better accent!).

(h/t: https://twitter.com/AMoCS/status/815302062829404160)

Hope everyone’s festivities or quiet night’s in are going to plan!

Stay frosty!



Late Night Open Thread: “If You Can’t Get Rid of the Family Skeletons, Make Them Dance”

#ConfessMyUnpopularOpinions: I loathed Singin’ in the Rain so intensely it put me off movie musicals for life, so I never paid much attention to Debbie Reynolds. But after watching Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking (highly recommended! — with due trigger warnings), I suspect her mother, if she had to die at all, would’ve loved the theatricality of dropping in her tracks while planning her daughter’s funeral.

NYMag:

While many paid tribute to Carrie Fisher’s legacy on Tuesday by sharing their favorite scenes from Star Wars or When Harry Met Sally, some fans chose to remember the actress for her work destigmatizing mental illness… Soon the hashtag #InHonorOfCarrie had over 180,000 unique visitors on Twitter with many revealing their mental-health issues…

Julie DiCaro, a Chicago journalist who also tweeted on Tuesday, told the Times that Fisher made it easier to not feel so alone in her illness: “It’s comforting that Carrie, or Princess Leia — who’s cooler than Princess Leia? — was comfortable speaking publicly about her struggles. It made me feel comfortable.” Which seems like the message Fisher would have wanted, especially as she chose to present only her true self, war wounds and all, in her later years.


Read more



Holiday ‘Gift’ Open Thread: Based on A True-ish Story

Looks like that Hamilton musical must be some kind of popular, eh?

How’s the entertainment going, in your neighborhoods?
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