Every black person knows that moment of vague discomfort. The 6:00 evening news is leading off with a brutally savage and senseless crime. It’s a particularly cruel act of murder or vicious case of rape. Someone has suffered in a particularly ugly way. The police have a description of the subject and before the image flashes on the TV screen, a silent prayer is murmured. “I sure hope he ain’t black…”
When is a hate crime not a hate crime? When there’s no perpetrator and no victim. Bethany Storro was white and pretty. Her alleged assailant was black and dangerous. Who goes around with a cup of acid and throwing it in the face of pretty white girls? Apparently someone with a severe mental disorder. As it turns out that person was Storro herself whom apparently splashed acid in her own face and put the finger on an unknown and mysterious black woman.
Storro said she had been approached by a stranger outside of a Starbucks in Vancouver, Washington on August 30 and was asked, “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” Storro claimed she was splashed with an acid-like liquid by an African-American woman wearing her hair pulled back into a ponytail. Apparently, the only thing that saved Storro’s eyesight was a pair of sunglasses she had purchased less than an hour before the attack.
There’s no way to know how many sisters in Vancouver immediately stopped wearing their hair in ponytails.
This particular urban nightmare garnered Storro national press coverage, outpourings of sympathy from around the world, financial donations for her medical bills and reconstructive facial surgery, and a scheduled appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Storro cancelled out on Oprah saying on her now-closed Facebook page, “I was going to be on Oprah, but [that’s] not going to happen! From the very beginning I wanted to inspire people (hope I have) and tell them about Jesus. The show was going to possibly turned into another direction, so my family and I have decided not to go on.”
Typically when you need a go-to scapegoat you can usually “blame a brother.” Storro stepped up her game to “slander a sister.”
After all, pretty white girls who get acid thrown in their face by psychotic black women sporting ponytails are instantly sympathetic figures. Who wouldn’t feel sorry for Storro?
Too bad she’s apparently a psychotic liar. One of Storro’s biggest skeptics was Marcus Griffith, a blogger for The Vancouver Voice. Griffith wrote several columns poking several holes in Storro’s story including one about a homeless man who encountered the screaming Storro but never saw her assailant. Griffith didn’t take a victory lap after Storro’s fraud was exposed as he wrote, “For daring to seek the truth of the Storro matter, I have been insulted, harassed and publicly ridiculed. Yet I find myself lacking any malice toward Storro.”
“My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the Bethany Storro hoax,” Griffin wrote. “That includes the general public, those wrongly profiled, those that lived in fear, the business that lost customers, and by all means, Storro’s family and friends. And even Storro herself.”
This poor woman needs professional help. Anyone who would deliberately disfigure herself to gain sympathy, donations, and an appearance on Oprah is obviously quite mentally unbalanced. Then immediately after she gets treatment, Miss Storro needs to go straight to jail. Do not pass “Go.” Do not write a book on how she pulled this fraud and do not go on television to explain her hustle.
Vancouver prosecutors are mulling whether to charge Storro with false reporting and felony theft by deception because of the money donated to cover her medical bills. This should not be a tough call to make.
Storro may be disturbed or just plain nuts, but she was aware enough to know the hot buttons that are pushed by the specter of Black criminals preying upon White victims. It worked for Charles Stuart when he gunned down his pregnant wife, shot himself and blamed it on a black mugger and it worked for Susan Smith when she drowned her two kids and blamed it on a black carjacker and it worked for Ashley Todd when she said a crazy black supporter of Barack Obama carved a “B” on her cheek.
Why do these vile lies work so well and are believed so throughly? Could it be the nagging suspicion that America is a dangerous place and it’s most violent criminals are blacks preying on innocent whites? Never mind that black criminals typically prey on black people and stranger-on-stranger crimes such as random acid attacks are rare. It fits into a narrative of street crime too many believe to be the gospel truth.
This particular moment in post-racial America and skillful media manipulation has been brought to you by Bethany Storro and everyone who got suckered into her web of lies, manipulation and deception.
The only reason it’s tough to pull the race card here is after the Tawana Brawley and the Duke lacrosse cases isn’t it all too clear two can play the game of false accusations? Every time there is one of these “cry wolf” hoaxes it makes the cries of the legitimate victims of hate crimes sound a bit tinny and hollow.
Let’s make a deal: The next time one of these little horror stories occur (and there will be a next time) we should show reasonable compassion for the innocent but reserve a healthy amount of skepticism and judgment until someone is actually determined to be guilty. Indicting a whole race for the bad behavior of a few is for chumps. So is swallowing hook, line and sinker every fantastic fish story because it seems to confirm the worst about an already despised group.