Jack Weiss’ office vandalized with swastikas – but was it a hate crime?

Adonis A. Irwin, a 32 year old Sherman Oaks resident, was arrested this morning as the suspect in yesterday’s vandalism at City Councilman Jack Weiss’ office.

Epoxied to the glass front door were three 8 1/2 -by-11-inch sheets of paper, each showing the Nazi flag in color. Another sheet, glued above Weiss’ name on the door, contained a printed message: “Mein Fuhrer Die Office Official of Natziesque Extraordinaire.”

The final sheet contained a long message that began: “Our policy: we have no time to listen to Jewish American children!!! If you don’t believe us, just try talking to us…. Hail Weiss!”

According to a police spokesman, “a suspect would probably be charged with felony vandalism with a hate crime enhancement that would make time in prison likely.”

But was this really a hate crime?

To be sure, the sight of a swastika is offensive to many, but the apparent intent of the vandal was to call Weiss a Nazi, not to make him fearful of Aryan aggression. Take away the visual aid (and vandalism) and this doesn’t much different than calling parking enforcement “Nazis”.

Of course, my opinion is based merely on evidence presented at the LA Times and Daily News. Perhaps there’s more that was written that hasn’t been reported to the media that would substantiate the charges of anti-semitism.

Besides, associating Weiss, who is Jewish, with being a Nazi seems odd considering he’s considered “a major advocate for the State of Israel” (from Wikipedia). His bio lists him as serving on the Southwest Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League, and when Weiss was first told of the vandalism he was meeting with the Israeli Consulate.

With that in mind, it sounds like whoever did this wasn’t an anti-Semite so much as a clueless nut who doesn’t think highly of Jack Weiss.

…additional sources: Steve Hymon, Los Angeles Times (5/3/07, 5/4/07); Daily News

10 Replies to “Jack Weiss’ office vandalized with swastikas – but was it a hate crime?”

  1. I would be curious as to the motive for writing that Weiss doesn’t care “about Jewish American children.” A rather specific gripe or just ramblings of nutty dude?

  2. Yikes…I think the dude had to be completely clueless as to world history and the significance of the swastika. Sherman Oaks and that corner of the valley has such a huge Jewish population you’d have to be living under a rock not to understand the significance. Hate crime, not enough info to decide, looks more like stupidity in action.

  3. The clueless person in this story is David Markland, who doesn’t know why a swastika on a Jewish person’s office door is particularly offensive.

    The haters sure do!

  4. So, Dave, if I burned a cross on a black Angeleno’s lawn and stuck little quote mark placards either side of it, even though I don’t hate black people, have close friends who are black and only really meant to make a joke – would that be okay too?

    Sorry, but I’m with Dennis: This is one of those pure taboos, whatever the intent, and yeah, that makes it a hate crime. I’ll be interested to see if it results in prosecution.

  5. I think dumping a horse head on someones front steps, burning a cross on someones lawn, or perhaps scrawling a swastika along anti-semitic slurs are all hate crimes.

    But this guy seemed to be labeling Weiss a Nazi. Big difference.

    I’m not sure how the hate crime law reads, but I’m pretty sure intent is a large part of it. If the guy actually think Weiss is a Nazi, or is similar, it isn’t a hate crime.

    Usually, I wouldn’t think twice about calling the spraypainting, wheatpasting, or otherwise afixing a swastika to someones property an anti-semitic hate crime… but so far this situation appears to fall outside that standard.

  6. This is an amazing example of how issues get twisted by the media.

    I grew up with Don and know him very well. He is not an anti-semite. He is an odd guy, but has a passion for helping kids that were abused by members of a cult he grew up in called “The Children of God” or “The Family.”

    He likely went to get the councilman’s support, and when he did not get the support he wanted, he probably (and w/ poor judgment) figured this would garner publicity to his cause.

    As long as this was just paper taped to the door, I don’t see how this is a crime–no vandalism damage, no violent threats, simply free (& possibly absurd) speech on how he felt a public official was not responding to the needs of his Jewish-American constituents

  7. I actually know Don, we used to work together. He had a really hard childhood since his parents were involved with the Children Of God cult and he is trying to get help for the people still involved with it in Thailand or whatnot. He is far from racist, altough a bit coocoo.

  8. don irwin (the suspect) is a nutcase. he is completely crazy, he belongs off the streets.

  9. joe and dave.

    if you are defending this nutcase then we have no other choice but to lump you in with him.

    im willing to bet you BOTH are anti-semitic.

    he is a loon and anyone that associates with him is a LOON as well.

    now go hire a lawyer since you could be named accomplices in this since the blog admin can track IP addresses.

    dunces.

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