It was a horrible story.
Sharmeka Moffitt, who is black, claims she was walking in a park in Winnsboro, Louisiana, this past Sunday night about 8:00 PM when a group of three men in white hoodies doused her with a flammable liquid and set her on fire. She also claimed they wrote the letters KKK on her car and and a racial slur.
Reaction to the claimed attack was immediate and predictable. Sites such as the Huffington Post and Global Grind were quick to report the attack as a credible event and possibly a hate crime, even though a reading of the news accounts, police statements, and hedged reactions from the local chapter of the NAACP should have set off warning flares that something with the story was greatly amiss.
As the story festered, hundreds of blacks took to social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter and added completely unsupported rumors that Moffitt was wearing an Obama tee shirt, asserting that the attack was not just racial, but political in nature. Others went even further, claiming that Moffitt was even raped as a result of wearing an Obama tee shirt before she was set on fire.
But it wasn’t true.
Sharmeka Moffitt was not raped.
Sharmeka Moffitt was not wearing an Obama tee shirt.
Sharmeka Moffitt was not approached by anyone, her car was not vandalized by anyone else.
Sharmeka Moffitt wrote the slurs on her car in toothpaste, then she set herself on fire:
After analyzing the evidence at the State Police Crime Lab, it was discovered Moffitt’s fingerprints were on the cigarette lighter and the lighter fluid recovered near the wooded area around the crime scene.
“There is more physical evidence along those lines that back this up,” Thomas said.
At a news conference held at LSU Medical Center on Monday evening, Moffitt’s mother, Edna Moffitt said her daughter was in critical condition with third-degree burns on her arms and other areas and would undergo surgery Tuesday.
False rumors regarding the incident were spread on various social media outlets Sunday night just hours after the incident took place. On many of the Twitter and Facebook posts, users speculated the attack was a hate crime and Moffitt was attacked for wearing a President Obama t-shirt when she was “raped and burned alive”.
Moffitt’s mother and Thomas confirmed Monday that the Obama T-shirt rumor was false and there was no evidence of sexual assault.
A racial slur and the letters, KKK, that were written in toothpaste on Moffitt’s vehicle were linked to female DNA, authorities said.
“All of the evidence is pointing back to the victim inflicting this upon herself,” Thomas said. “No evidence has shown any other person was involved.”
“This case is solved,” Thomas added.
There was a hate crime in Winnsboro, Louisiana Sunday night.
There was a hate crime committed by a woman by the name of Sharmeka Moffitt, who manufactured a story of being attacked by three white men, and set on fire, in order to stir up racial hatred from whites in the black community.
I want you to try to comprehend that for a moment.
Try to understand a hatred so deep, pure, and pervasive that you’d be willing to commit yourself to a lifetime of personal agony or death in order to frame others.
Moffitt deserves criminal prosecution, but she will not be charged. Debridement will have to suffice for her punishment, and one could not imagine a more fitting punishment for the crime.
But her actions are only part of the story.
Take a few moments to hunt down the Twitter and Facebook comments, or scan the comments on many of the articles devoted to the story, and you’ll see that racism is alive and well in America in an African-American community that uses oppression both real and imagined to justify levels of hate that meet or exceed anything vile white supremacist groups have manufactured. We never knew the depth of that hatred until social media made it far easier for everyone to spew forth their true feelings, unfiltered.
Perhaps hatred and jealousy directed at other races, tribes, and cultures is something that truly is multi-cultural in man’s nature. I hope it isn’t, but a simple reading of the reactions to this story, and the willingness of African-Americans to not just believe, but fabricate additional horrific details in order to justify their own increasing outrage leaves me speechless.
It seems true that those who hate the deepest are among the lowest on the economic scale, as they tend to perceive their sad state can’t be the result of their own actions, decisions, and impulses, but must be the result of oppression. The successful among us don’t have time for racism; we’re too busy accomplishing things, enjoying our families, and trying to do good in our communities to succumb to hate. We don’t have time to fester and feed evil wolves.
Inside every faked hate crime there is an opportunity for self-reflection. Those who so quickly jumped on the bandwagon to scapegoat the innocent or non-existent have an opportunity, in their embarrassment, to look inward and see what is broken inside themselves that allowed themselves to fall for such trickery.
We can hope that some of the now-speechless will take this opportunity for self reflection to change their path in this life. We only go through once. It would be a shame to waste it chasing hate.