Symbolic acts are punished symbolically. The "Asheville 11" (nine of whom aren't from Asheville) were charged with rioting and damaging property to the extent of $18,000, and somehow they ended up with 112 misdemeanor charges, 33 felonies, and $65,000 bonds each.
[Recently] a man with multiple prior convictions was arrested with 27 charges, including larceny, breaking and entering, and assaulting a female. His original bond was set at $57,800. A similar bond was set for a prior felon who shot a man in the head. Where is the justice in this?
The police and media, historically, are quick to sensationalize and condemn the groups and actions that threaten the dominant power structure. Granted, the vandalism was wanton, ill advised and criminal. But does it merit several full-page stories in every major local paper when there is only a tiny column devoted to the ongoing violence toward gays in our towns and no coverage of the recent muggings and sexual harassment that occur around downtown?
Just because a crime is more visible doesn't make it more damaging to social welfare.
There are many reasons people won't report a crime, principally, a lack of faith in the ability of the justice system to respond adequately or to uphold the dignity of the victim. Minorities and second-class citizens understand: The role of the police is to enforce the rights of property holders and maintain the status quo. This kind of reaction implies that our society cares more about policing people's political beliefs than protecting people from bodily harm. It implies that property has more value than individual lives. It creates fear based around broken windows and material loss.
Businesses have property insurance to cover losses from damage, but individuals cannot recover from assault and be compensated for their suffering. Asheville and the Police Department need stop "setting examples" of vandals and start responding appropriately to the real crimes that threaten us.
— Aaron Gunn and Bullet Miller