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Apparently False Report of Anti-Conservative Hate Crime:

The Daily Princetonian reports:

Francisco Nava '09 has admitted to fabricating an alleged assault on him that he said occurred Friday evening and also to sending threatening emails to himself, other members of the Anscombe Society and prominent conservative politics professor Robert George, Princeton Township Police said today.

"He fabricated the story," Det. Sgt. Ernie Silagyi said.

Nava was released to Public Safety and charges "have not been filed pending further investigation," according to a statement from Township Police.

So you lie to the police. You spread unjustified fear and anger. You slander the Left. You make your friends on the Right (and elsewhere) who came to your defense look like dupes. And you further undermine others on the Right, some of whom might face real threats or attacks in the future but who will have a harder time being believed because of you. Lovely.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

ejo:
absolutely correct-on the other hand, the multiple hate crime hoaxes perpetrated by black students never seems to slow down the process when the next hoax occurs.
12.17.2007 2:16pm
OrinKerr:
Eugene writes:
And you further undermine others on the Right, some of whom might face real threats or attacks in the future but who will have a harder time being believed because of you.
Eugene, how common are entirely unprovoked assaults targeting conservatives on college campuses? I don't think I have ever heard of such a thing.
12.17.2007 2:21pm
Russ (mail):
I'm a conservative, and I think this stinks. All a schmuck like this does is create "cry wolf" syndrome.

I hope this little punk goes to jail for staging a fake assault and reporting something.

Have times really become so partisan that we need to stage garbage like this to get sympathy? How sad...
12.17.2007 2:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
One is too many.
Conservatives had--used to have--the high ground on this issue.
What a bozo.

Still, Princeton was extraordinarily swift on this. If they'd believed it even for a moment, they'd have been having speeches and teach-ins and vigils and ramping up sensitivity training for all and sundry.

Wouldn't they?
12.17.2007 2:24pm
rarango (mail):
It could be my prejudiced lenses, but I agree with Professor Kerr. I know of quite a few on the other side of the spectrum.
12.17.2007 2:25pm
John (mail):
I don't know what to think. My dudgeon level had risen to high, but now must be lowered.

I'd gone to Princeton too long ago to have much feeling for the present times, but my sense is that the campus as a whole is extremely tolerant, though the administration is plainly left slanted.
12.17.2007 2:25pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Orin: I don't know how common threats of violence to conservatives, or physical attacks against conservatives are. There have been some publicized physical attacks (usually not extremely violent ones, but definitely batteries or attempted batteries) on conservative speakers -- consider the Ann Coulter pie incident. Consider also the attack on the Minutemen founder, which involved in-person vandalism and apparently some material risk of physical attack. Now perhaps those who do such things only do them in public; but I'm not sure this is so, and in any event the risk of such future events happening somewhere strikes me as nontrivial.

rarango: Can you point me, please, to the incidents you're referring to?
12.17.2007 2:43pm
GV_:
Even if it were true, why would he have been justified in attacking "The Left" (EV's capitalization)? The Left had done nothing to him.

Why do people keep talking about The Left and The Right when, in context, those titles rarely make any sense.
12.17.2007 2:51pm
Wallace:

how common are entirely unprovoked assaults targeting conservatives on college campuses? I don't think I have ever heard of such a thing.


In addition to the attacks on conservative campus speakers, this occurred earlier in the year.
12.17.2007 2:57pm
rarango (mail):
Eugene: perhaps I could if I had read Orin's post correctly. In fact, I did not. Please consider my 2:25 post deleted.
12.17.2007 2:58pm
OrinKerr:
Eugene,

The two events you mention seem quite different; they are off campus speakers who were made the subject of campus protest, and the entire point of the "assault" was to get it on camera and into the news. Can you think of off-camera assaults or hate crimes against conservatives? A commenter links to another hoax report by a conservative, but that's all I know of (and obviously another hoax doesn't help establish the threat).
12.17.2007 3:17pm
JonC:
Prof. Kerr: see the link Wallace posted two posts above your most recent post.
12.17.2007 3:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
GV.
In this context, the lineup is left-right. There may be other contexts where that is irrelevant, but in this case, or in the case of fake hate crimes generally, it's the way it is, and, for that matter, the only reason.
12.17.2007 3:23pm
Kazinski:
Orin and Rarango,
Can you cite any unprovoked attacks on leftists? I agree that unprovoked physical attacks on conservatives are rare, but I think they are equally rare against the left. Rare, despite the fact that leftists are much more annoying than conservatives (no, I don't have a cite for that).
12.17.2007 3:29pm
crying wolf:

In this context, the lineup is left-right

actually in this case it is more of a right-right lineup.
12.17.2007 3:31pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Eugene, how common are entirely unprovoked assaults targeting conservatives on college campuses? I don't think I have ever heard of such a thing.
Well, I've heard numerous cases where campus conservatives have had their publications stolen, but I haven't heard of actual assaults.
12.17.2007 3:32pm
rarango (mail):
Kazinski: see my 2:58 post.
12.17.2007 3:34pm
GV_:
Richard, but "The Left" would not have been involved. Perhaps some left-leaning people were involved, but they aren't "The Left." I guess my point is perhaps an obvious one: you can't attack an entire group for something a few members (allegedly) did.

It just always annoys me (and typically nonsense follows) when somebody tries to make broad pronouncements about "The Left" or "The Right."
12.17.2007 4:28pm
Arkady:
Evidently, this isn't the first time this pathetic child has been involved in a hoax. The Princeton Tory blog has the sad details. See the link.
12.17.2007 4:29pm
Hoosier:
The jerk fessed-up?

Don't we on the right EVER get our own Tawana Brawley?
12.17.2007 5:10pm
gab:
There's something about the line, "...also to sending threatening emails to himself" that just struck me as hilarious.

I mean, did he just send them from the same e-mail, or did he go somewhere and send them or did he send them to another e-mail address of his and then forward them? The amount of thought this poor bastard had to put into this hoax makes me think that Princeton must not be that difficult a school if he had time to do all this work.
12.17.2007 5:46pm
JK:
Is making unsubstantiated statistical claims the new thing on the VC? Does anyone seriously think, "media reports that I recall," is a remotely rational way to determining the frequency of a type of event?
12.17.2007 5:51pm
holdfast (mail):
How about instances of the Left threatening violence / protest, and cowardly/leftie administrators cancelling speaking events out of "security concerns"? Speeches by David Horowitz and John Bolton come to mind, plus the aforementioned Coulter and Minutemen incidents. Could you imagine the screeching that would occur if conservatives were to shut down free speech this way?
12.17.2007 6:21pm
Apollo:
On the positive side, perhaps now even liberals will start to think that faked hate crimes are a bad thing. Normally there are too many leftists who excuse them by saying "Well she was just bringing attention to an important issue" or some such nonsense.
12.17.2007 7:51pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
When I was at Arizona State, I was tossed out of class for suggesting that this guy was full of you-know-what.

I'll never forget how the class and the Professor treated me. Of course, no one acknowledged it when I was proven correct.
12.17.2007 8:15pm
Colin (mail):
Normally there are too many leftists who excuse them by saying "Well she was just bringing attention to an important issue" or some such nonsense.

I think my favorite thing about threads like these are the just-so stories about eeeeeeevil libruls.
12.17.2007 8:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
GV. If there were no left-right conflict, there would have been no reason to fake a hate crime supposedly demonstrating the rottenness of lefties. When the left does it, the reason is clear.

Colin
As in the Philadelphia FD case, even when it's clearly a hoax, calling attention to a situation is the excuse.
12.17.2007 8:54pm
~aardvark (mail):
I just want to make a couple of observations.

First, shouldn't a hate-crime hoax be considered a hate crime? If this is not clear from the language of hate-crime legislation, perhaps it should be.

Second, there have been a number of incidents involving Black students--one, I believe, was about a year ago in Chicago (although, possibly, it was two years ago). A student claimed to have received email death threats to herself and to other black students. The college immediately moved to protect the students, but discovered within a day or two that the student sent messages to herself (apparently in an effort to avoid exams). I don't have a link handy, but the student was near Chicago in a private college with multiple campuses. That should be easy to verify. Another thing that came up in that context was that this was the second such hoax in about a month.

Now, here's the rub--the hoaxes of this kind are interspersed among actual threats and actual attacks. This is what makes them credible. On the other hand, for each Tawana Brawley, we have a Chuck Stewart, a Susan Smith and a Francisco Nava. The three cases are not similar in their details, but they are similar in their intent--to direct law enforcement attention at the "other" group (minorities for Steward and Smith, the "Left" for Nava). As was the case with Brawley and the other three, these are always poorly planned (if planned at all) and quickly fall apart.

But I don't think Nava was acting in isolation. He's been reading Horowitz and Malkin claiming just that sort of threats--Horowitz against himself, although he's never been threatened by anyone, and Malkin in broader terms. Consider,

In addition to the attacks on conservative campus speakers, this occurred earlier in the year.

Malkin is simply not credible on this issue. The "attacks" on conservative speakers tend to be inane annoyances, like not letting them speak. Other anti-Right "attacks" involve idiotic vandalism of a different sort--like stealing a bunch of free publication from distribution boxes (something that the Right-wing campus groups also have been known to do). But, Nava's claims are directly mirroring quite a different kind of threats--ones that are personal and that involve physical manifestations, not just damage to property or interference with free speech. There are no credible reports of this kind of threats to campus conservatives other than a couple of hoaxes. This is why they are so easy to investigate. But, as the incidents with nooses in NYC have shown, for other kinds of cases it is incredibly difficult to identify hoaxes or find the perpetrators. Most hoaxes eventually come to light, but the perpetrators behind the real "hate crimes" or threats of them are often not found.
12.17.2007 9:01pm
Wallace:
~aardvark,

Did you read the article or did you just see that the link went to Michelle Malkin's website and decide, based on your on prejudices, that it wasn't credible?

If you read the article, can you explain why you didn't find the first person account of a politically motivated hate crime credible? How about the two different local news organizations that Malkin linked to? What about their stories did you find not credible? What about the police who investigated the crime? What about their investigation was not credible?

That was an example of a real politically motivated assault against right wing students. If you want to explain it away, you need to assert some facts rather than attack the source.
12.18.2007 8:58am
Qwinn:
"The "attacks" on conservative speakers tend to be inane annoyances, like not letting them speak."

Heh. Is that all? Well, that's okay then.

Qwinn
12.19.2007 12:27am
Shelby (mail):
JK:
Does anyone seriously think, "media reports that I recall," is a remotely rational way to determining the frequency of a type of event?

Yes, as a matter of general discussion. I'd question its use in an academic paper, but to establish the general zeitgeist it strikes me as perfectly reasonable -- as is the retort, "I haven't seen anything like that".
12.19.2007 1:36am
Chester White (mail):

I'm a conservative Princeton grad and this Nava clown has royally pissed me off.

Throw his ass under the bus as a lesson to anyone else who might be thinking of doing something similar.

Liberals praise their miscreants and have pep rallies for them on the White House lawn. Conservatives should take out their trash and not look back.
12.20.2007 8:59am
GW Crawford (mail):
The Liberal types chime in that they see this stuff all the time but cannot provide any actual evidence

Because for them, it si not about facts, it is about their feelings. "Yes, it was faked, but it was still accurate"

Stop Rathering!
12.20.2007 10:55am