Hate crime spinning out of control

I spent many happy hours spinning around in circles as a child: on the front lawn with arms flung out, on the back yard swing, wheeling in circles on my bike at the end of the cul-de-sac, circling with one hand clinging to the post that held up the floor joist I-beam in the basement, and of course, on the small merry-go-round of the gradeschool playground. Spinning is fun!  (Especially so if you can do so for long periods without even getting vertigo.)

But none of our neighbors ever threatened to burn down our house because I was twirling around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around.  Not like this horrific man in Seattle, Mark Joe Levison, who apparently found the sight of a 13-year old boy, Anthony Engen, playing outside or (oh-my-gosh!) looking at his yard to be too antagonising.

The only redeeming features in such a news item is that the police took his threats seriously, as apparently the man has quite the record of charges for assault and felonies in two states.  Moreover, he has been charged with “malicious harassment”, which is Washington’s hate-crime law.

Yes, a news source is actually referring to such threats made against someone just because they are obviously autistic as a hate crime.  Sadly, I am noting this because it is not common.

(Where are we going, and what are we doing in this handbasket?!)

19 Comments

  1. Jackie said,

    14 August 2008 at 18:10

    This Mark Joe Levinson could give the Grinch a good run for his money.

  2. Suzanne said,

    31 July 2008 at 4:19

    I keep re-reading this and going back to the news article. If J.Money’s facts are correct, I think that J.Money has a bigger problem than Mark Levison or the boy. He employed a man who obviously has serious problems, lays him off although he is a good employee and hardworking, acknowledges that he is rarely sober and that he has recently been on a bender, BUT that the boy (and those of us who have commented) are ‘retards’ for objecting to Mark being aggressive and threatening violence on a disabled boy and his family, and arson against their home.

    The basis for J.Money’s angry abuse seems to relate to his claim that the boy was in Levison’s yard licking windows and looking inside Mark’s house. However, the news item says: “Levison had previously screamed at the autistic boy when he was climbing a tree” and “Levison told the officers, “I pay $1,000 a month rent and shouldn’t have to see that idiot spinning around and staring at my yard.””

    There is no possible justification for arson, and no reasonable objection to a boy climbing a tree nor him spinning and staring. Even if the window licking did occur, there are sane and sensible ways that the matter could be dealt with.

    Perhaps having said that, J.Money is feeling some guilt for having to lay off such a ‘good’ person, and anger that his actions have led to Levison succumbing to the long-term effects of uncontrolled rage and of alcohol abuse.

    If a real problem, the boy’s autistic behaviours can be controlled over time with help and understanding. The behaviour of Levison and J.Money cannot.

  3. qw88nb88 said,

    30 July 2008 at 11:51

    Wow, now there’s how to win friends and influence people. Not impressed. A return of such will get your ISP blocked.

  4. J Money said,

    30 July 2008 at 1:03

    wow.

    what a bunch of uninformed commentary.

    Saw the “perp” today. Yes, he’s out. And I found your blog via google.

    So Mark is, as we say: bat shit crazy. He’s got two nicknames: Animal, and OMP (one man party). Super high energy and very animated, and that’s when he’s sober as a judge.

    He went on a bender when I laid him off late june. He is a good employee and hard worker.

    And to the meat of the story……..said retard is in his yard licking his windows and staring into his house. No mention of that eh? So crazy guy says lock up the retard in the back yard like a DOG because he’s in my MF’ing yard.

    Do all y’all hire retards to lick your windows clean? I’d guess not cuz it’s hard to hire yourselves.

  5. Norah said,

    29 July 2008 at 10:43

    Me and my younger brother were always spinning around our own axis as children (on the livingroom carpet. It had just enough room for both of us to do that with arms wide without touching). I thought everyone did. Really. Until just now.

    Youngest brother was more about running in circles, though he did some spinning too on our prompting.

  6. 28 July 2008 at 23:22

    […] officers that, "I pay $1,000.00 a month rent and shouldn't have to see that idiot spinning around and staring at my […]

  7. Evonne said,

    28 July 2008 at 16:04

    I remember those comments on the peanut story too. Seems a lot of the commenters don’t (and won’t try to) understand that it’s not just deliberately *eating* a peanut that’s dangerous to folks with peanut allergies. There were a whole lot of ridiculously ignorant comments to the effect of “If they need somebody to hold their hand and tell them not to eat peanuts, then blah blah blah . . .”. So, so stupid.

  8. 27 July 2008 at 0:55

    Thanks for sharing your ADHD coping stragegies being a mom of a child with ADHD I can understand. Myself I live with lupus and its many side dishes.

  9. qw88nb88 said,

    26 July 2008 at 19:07

    ange,
    That reminds me of a quote:

    “People who assume they are normal can be trouble. They tend to go around changing the world to suit themselves; their standards are “community standards”. ‘I’m normal, so if I like it this way, almost everyone else will. Right?’
    –Glyn Webster

  10. ange said,

    26 July 2008 at 14:09

    Recently I read a story on yahoo about some stadiums that have a peanut free section once or twice a year. The comments were ridiculous, mostly “live like the majority or get the heck out.” Not directly related to autism, but it really made me cringe as to how intolerant and mean spirited many people are…not to mention how unwilling they are to get their heads out of thier backsides to listen and possible learn something.

  11. Maddy said,

    25 July 2008 at 18:53

    That is a truly horrible story.

  12. Evonne said,

    25 July 2008 at 17:10

    Oh, and evidently the guy thinks he’s high class or something (I know getting drunk and lying in the street and threatening children is certainly classy) and because he pays $1,000 rent he believes he shouldn’t have to live among “those people”. Loose associations indeed, but I wouldn’t say those associations are unusual for people who think they deserve to live in a certain kind of neighborhood.

    Anyway, yes, sounds like that guy has a history of threatening folks, and I am certainly worried that he may come back and harass the family. :(

  13. Evonne said,

    25 July 2008 at 16:56

    Yeah, it seems this won’t be the last time he’ll harass somebody. But seriously, I believe that department — and the news source — should be commended for recognizing his threat as a hate crime. Let’s not just note how sad it is that such incidences are not common, but offer some encouragement to the folks who acknowledge hate crimes for what they are.

  14. Patrick said,

    25 July 2008 at 16:37

    I think the perpetrator’s behavior shows some loose associations (wth does rent have to do with people looking at your yard) and/or maybe some paranoia. Hope he gets thoroughly evaluated during his stay with the authorities, because he sounds like a potentially very dangerous individual.

  15. Evonne said,

    25 July 2008 at 15:01

    I’m quite satisfied that the jackass was charged under a hate crime law.

  16. qw88nb88 said,

    25 July 2008 at 14:00

    codeman38 said,
    “A slight correction: the law in question is a Washington state law, not an Oregon one. (Though the perpetrator also had a criminal record in Oregon…)”

    Whoops, that is quite correct. I was adding content to a sentence and didn’t check it for sense sequencing. (The perils of composing while tired & headachey & without an editor.)

    Thank you!

    andrea

  17. codeman38 said,

    25 July 2008 at 13:29

    A slight correction: the law in question is a Washington state law, not an Oregon one. (Though the perpetrator also had a criminal record in Oregon…)

  18. Sharon said,

    25 July 2008 at 11:08

    Wow, what a terrible thing to threaten a family with! My thoughts are with the Engen family having to deal with such a disturbing and frightening threat.

    It is astonishing that it was recognised as a hate crime and reported as such.

  19. 25 July 2008 at 7:05

    “(Where are we going, and what are we doing in this handbasket?!)”

    Exactly.

    Society isn’t getting any better or more tolerant; not really.

    Won’t start getting any better or more tolerant for a long time to come.


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