Was Mugging Of Matthew Yglesias A Hate Crime?
May 16, 2011, 01:33 AM
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Prominent Washington blogger Matthew Yglesias writes:
So . . . I was walking back from the home of Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman and instead of doing the normal thing and taking Q Street west to 5th and then walking south, I wanted to take a shortcut by walking south on North Capitol to then cut southwest on New York. But then lo and behold right by Catania Bakery [i.e., a little over a mile due north of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.] a couple of dudes ran up from behind, punched me in the head, then kicked me a couple of times before running off. Once, years ago, in Amsterdam a guy threatened me with a knife and took my money. These guys took nothing, and just inflicted a bit of pain. All things considered the threaten/rob model of crime seems a lot more beneficial to both parties than the punch-and-run model. But I guess it takes all kinds.
I`m terribly sorry to hear about this crime. Yglesias should make sure to take it easy for a few days after being punched in the head in case there is some delayed reaction affecting his balance — e.g., don`t ride a bicycle in traffic.

Beyond physical injuries, well, I`ve never been the victim of street violence, but judging from the psychological trauma I`ve felt merely from being the victim of burglars — the reminder of one`s own insecurity, the insult to one`s self-respect — that aspect of crime shouldn`t be overlooked. And being punched and kicked by strangers is far worse.

Like me, Yglesias greatly enjoys walking, and being mugged while out walking can ruin a wonderful hobby. No details on the attackers, but, with no apparent monetary motive, this might have been a racial hate crime.

It will be interesting to see whether this despicable violence against perhaps the leading opinion journalist of his young generation creates much media attention, or whether it`s dropped down the memory hole as too uncomfortable to think about. Yglesias, with his enthusiasm for promoting urban living and walkability, is a leading spokesman for a broad movement I feel warmly toward — well-educated younger people who are attempting to reclaim urban areas for the urbane. But this crime against a public face of the movement — while he was walking through an urban space, no less — demonstrates the risks involved.