Identity, Justice

It isn’t very pleasant

Reports surfaced today regarding a savage beating in East Lansing, MI in which Zachary Tennen, a 19-year-old sophomore Journalism student at Michigan State University, was asked if he was Jewish before two men of college age beat the crap out him. This attack included a Hitler salute and the symbolic torture of trying to staple the boys mouth together shit getting kicked out of the kid. Updated info here.
According to the report from The Detroit Free Press, the police in East Lansing aren’t yet ready to call this hate crime a hate crime. They have witnesses and a suspect.
But here is the kicker:

Zachary told his parents no one at the party helped him as he was attacked and then thrown out of the gathering. He took a cab to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing for initial treatment, but underwent surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Pontiac overnight to have his jaw wired shut, his mother said.

The facts are bad enough here: A 19-year old kid was beaten for being Jewish. That is horrific. Adding to these nasty truths we know that no one who saw this go down helped this boy. It is inexcusable.
Unsurprisingly, Tennen said that not only the physical but the emotional trauma “isn’t very pleasant.”
A quote from a German minster comes to mind.
I have a cousin who is in his 90s who survived the Holocaust. I am sure he would be telling me that this is why Jews need to own guns. And it is hard to argue this point away in times like this. Now, I am sure that the lefties among us will be quick to call for a summit of students, setting schedules to talk about working this out, and finding common ground and learning from this attack. But I can’t get past the abject indifference of the party goers. The people who will show up to the rally aren’t the problem…and unfortunately they are most likely in the minority.
There will always be antisemites and they will always do violence. But come on America. Step up. East Lansing isn’t exactly a metropolis but it isn’t the backwoods of Deliverance either. It is a college town with a diverse student population. The Hillel director from MSU was quoted in the Free Press story saying that every once in a while they get an event that forces them to say “You know what, we still have a long way to go.”
No shit.
I went to school where our Hillel was stoned and burnt. A campus sukkah was defaced with a swastika. But the kind of physical violence that took place in East Lancing luckily never found its way to Davis, CA. But I would like to think that if it did, someone would have stepped up to help.
Is there no hope for humanity? We sure know that there isn’t in East Lansing.
For more news
The Detroit Free Press
State News

4 thoughts on “It isn’t very pleasant

  1. What a terrible story.
    But the part about no one from the crowd helping? That’s a fairly common occurrence: it’s called the bystander effect (the case of Kitty Genovese comes to mind). This has been documented so much that it is a staple of social psychology and behavioral science.

  2. Strangely this doesn’t happen to Jews in Israel (I doubt this happens much to ex-IDF wherever they live, too, unless they get weird non-IDF ideas).

  3. This is from Michigan State Hillel about the incident widely and erroneously reported:
    As you are all aware, an incident occurred last Saturday night regarding one of our Jewish students being assaulted at a house party off campus. Reports and stories have been flying around and we have been trying our best to respond to the situation in an appropriate and responsible manner. At this point in time, the East Lansing Police do not believe that this terrible incident was in fact a hate crime. Witnesses have identified a suspect, who is not an MSU student and lives in the Detroit area. This suspect is being sought by the police for questioning. The FBI and ADL has also been involved. ***The story that the students mouth was stapled shut has been confirmed untrue by Sparrow Hospital. ***
    There are many conflicting stories and we are trying our best to support Zach, our students and community during this difficult time. I believe the East Lansing Police Department and the MSU Administration has been very responsive to Zach and his family and I could not be more pleased. We hope to hear more about the investigation in the next few days.
    Cindy Hughey
    Executive Director
    Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center
    Michigan State University
    Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan
    360 Charles St.
    East Lansing, MI 48823

  4. You say “the facts are bad enough” but you don’t have any of the facts. Your article is based entirely on the victims account who was drunk at the time. There were not 20 people around, they were all in the backyard, the fight was in the front. Two neighbors witnessed the fight and their account not only contradicts the victims but sound much more realistic. Two loud drunks arguing without any nazi salutes or staple guns. He said no one helped him yet the witnesses not only helped him up asked if he needed an ambulance and when he refused called him a cab and gave him a frozen bag of vegetables to hold to his face. Yet he (for some reason) said people not only did nothing they all watched and laughed. That they were skinhead nazi kkk members WITH A STAPLE GUN. All of which the two good Samaritans say never happened. He was punched once and broke his jaw when he fell onto the concrete… DRUNK. His parents show up and suddenly now there are Nazi’s and Skinheads and KKK members stapling jewish peoples mouths shut. The kid is like the woman in To Kill A Mockingbird making up an outlandish race crime simply because he was to embarrassed to paint his parents a truthful picture of their son, the loudmouthed drunk.

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