Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not If, But When

No one saw this coming:

The New York Police Department has confirmed to TPM that a cab driver in Manhttan was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who asked if the cabbie was Muslim, and says the incident is being treated as a hate crime. The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes.

According to Detective Marc Nell, at 6:14 pm last night, the driver picked up Michael Enright, 21, of Brewster, NY, at the intersection of 24th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. The cab proceeded to drive north, and Enright asked the driver, who Nell identified as a 43-year-old Asian male, if he was Muslim. After the driver responded that he was, Enright allegedly stabbed him repeatedly with a Leatherman tool, according to police.

“[Enright] stabbed the driver in the throat, right arm, left forearm, right thumb and upper lip,” Nell said.

The Conventional Wisdom will tell us that this is just an isolated incident, that Mr. Enright is a nice guy who just got back from Afghanistan after making a documentary about life there, and that he has a problem with alcohol. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with the Park51 community center in lower Manhattan and it’s just a sad coincidence.

Well, bullshit. I don’t buy the alcohol excuse; not that I don’t think Mr. Enright wasn’t drunk, but I don’t buy that an excuse for his behavior. And I don’t think there are just “coincidences.” If it wasn’t this guy, it’d be someone else; we’ve already seen people being attacked in New York for just looking like they might be Muslim by their clothing or skin color. Even if Mr. Enright doesn’t know or care about the non-mosque not at Ground Zero, the atmosphere of tension and hatred is that pervasive that it was only a question of not if but when something like this would happen.