Police should be taking hate speech seriously

BRATTLEBORO — We are shocked by the news report that writing a message that translates to “kill the Jews” in large letters on a town sidewalk is not considered a crime and does not merit bringing criminal charges.

The Brattleboro Police Department is protecting free speech? This is on a par with Trump's comment about Nazi sympathizers' rally in Virginia that both sides are responsible and the members of the Nazi group were “nice people.”

It is insensitive to dismiss this act as not warranting action. There are many Jewish people in our community, some of whom no doubt have lost family to the Holocaust.

We would urge the police department to treat this episode as an offense that deserves not just “investigation” to see if it was a “sick joke” but a crime.

Given the propensity for violence in the country and the ready availability of guns in Vermont, this should be taken seriously. How many school shooters first posted threats before carrying out acts of violence?

The police should treat this threat seriously as both a mental health issue and as an open threat to harm members of the community, and ensure that the person or persons involved do not have access to weapons or permitted to buy guns.

This should be treated seriously.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates