The young man pictured here, Justin Zatkoff, was beaten last Saturday night in Ann Arbor. Zatkoff, an active college Republican, suggested that it could have been the work of “liberal thugs” out to get him. The story was picked up by a few news outlets and a conservative website called The Truth Caucus ran several photos under a headline proclaiming it a “hate crime.” Here’s a clip from their report:
This is disturbing.
Justin Zatkoff, the executive director of the Michigan College Republicans, was brutally beaten after leaving a party in Ann Arbor on Saturday night. The Oakland University junior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. was rumored to be targeted by militant leftist groups. Zatkoff, pictured above, did not know his attacker, and no money was stolen.
A source close to Zatkoff reports:
Justin may have been 1. randomly attacked (but not robbed??), 2. attacked by BAMN (well known for violence and strong in Ann Arbor), or 3. attacked by a homosexual rights group (Justin received an ‘odd/threatening’ email from a gay rights group about a day before the attack.)
Trouble is, it turns out he was actually beaten by a friend. Blaming it on these other groups, it seems, was just a brilliant “let’s take these lemons and make lemonade” afterthought. (He’ll no doubt go very far in conservative politics.)
This in and of itself might not warrant an entire post, but in reading over the Metafilter thread on the subject, I was struck by one particular comment and wanted to share it… Here it is:
An interesting parallel is Horst Wessel:
Horst Wessel was born in Bielfield Germany on 9 September 1907. He dropped out of law school joined the NSDAP becoming an SA storm trooper. I n 1927 he composed a simple poem that would be put to music and became known as [the] ‘Horst Wessel Lied’. After his death it became the marching song of the SA and was later raised to the status of a National Anthem sung at public meetings and used as a musical background to the Nuremberg rallies of the 30′s.
The young storm trooper was killed in a brawl in Berlin on 23 February 1930 and the furor over his death was manipulated by Joseph Goebbels to swing public opinion in favor of the Nazis against the communist, Goebbels claimed Wesssel was murdered in his apartment in Berlin by a communists. (In all probability it was not a politically motivated murder, rather it was a dispute over a prostitute.) Wessel was given an elaborate funeral, which was interrupted by rock throwing Communists. The murder and reaction helped transform public opinion in favor of the Nazis and against their political enemies on the left.
Perhaps I’ll contact Zatkoff and see if he has any poetry that can be set to music.
And, as long as we’re on the subject of violent thugs, here’s a real story… It seems as though the judge that decided against “Intelligent Design” in the recent Delaware case has since received several death threats… So, there is a very real threat of violence out there, it’s just not coming from the left.
update: The original photo which accompanied this post was removed in November, 2012, at the request of Justin Zatkoff, who threatened legal action. The replacement image, now seen at the top of the page, was produced by Ann Schneider.