State College police have the right idea.
They’re investigating a particularly odious attack last week on a Penn State fraternity, Beta Sigma Beta.
Two dozen cars, a Dumpster, parking lot and garage were spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas behind the fraternity and Delta Sigma Phi. But since Beta Sigma Beta is largely Jewish, it’s clear for whom the slurs were meant.
“We are more worried about the message,” State College police Lt. Keith Robb said. “The vandalism is bad enough, but we want to investigate a predominately Jewish frat (targeted) with that kind of message.”
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We hope they find the cowards and give them the stiffest punishment possible.
This wasn’t just vandalism; it was a hate crime.
We commend the police for saying so and for immediately recognizing the severity of the act, a crime against humanity rather than property. And we urge them to continue pursuing their investigation to an arrest.
Police have surveillance images of two white, college-age men applying the paint, and are asking the public for any leads. Offering a $5,000 reward is a good sign of their seriousness.
Someone with a conscience probably recognizes the perpetrators. He or she needs to do the right thing and contact police.
If apprehended, the culprits should face heavyweight charges. Anyone who emulates the Nazis deserves no less.
The fraternity’s attackers left their marks on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, a riot on Nov. 9-10, 1938, that still burns in the souls of Jews.
Thousands of rampaging Nazi supporters in Germany and Austria destroyed Jewish stores, homes, hospitals and synagogues, killing dozens of people, as police and soldiers stood by. From “Crystal Night,” so named for all the broken windows, the Holocaust began in earnest.
Whether or not our homegrown anti-Semitic thugs were aware of their predecessors, they still must pay the price for their actions.
Ignorance is no excuse for hate.