"French" Tourists in San Antonio
Here's a short article from Le Salon Beige dated October 20:
Five French persons were arrested in the United States for breaking into a Texas courtroom. Le Figaro speaks of "young people, ages 21 - 25."
An American report says explicitly "five Moroccans."
Here is one reader's comment:
- Americans are not afraid of stigmatizing. They call a spade a spade. When will we have such courage here in France?
He flatters us. The English-language article from the LA Times that describes the event does indeed name them as Moroccans. But it also reveals that for the Texas police it was probably just a prank, "a case of road-trip drinking gone awry."
Just a prank!!! Here is an excerpt from the article:
Three of the men's names match those on an FBI watch list, Bennett said. The names, which have not been released, are not common, he said.
San Antonio police officers were initially called to the courthouse at 1:40 a.m. after three of the men tripped a silent alarm by pulling down a fire escape to climb into a fourth-floor window, Bennett said.
Two of the men were found in a nearby recreational vehicle, photographed by the San Antonio Express-News. The vehicle had California license plates and was rented in New Jersey, Bennett said.
Police officers who went inside the RV told Reuters it contained "photographs of infrastructure" including shopping malls, water systems, courthouses and other public buildings taken in cities across the United States.
San Antonio police officials later declined to confirm those reports, and Bennett said authorities were attempting to obtain a warrant to search the RV Wednesday afternoon.
"We’re still trying to determine whether these individuals had a plot or were just on a little vacation trek," Bennett said.
"There was some alcohol involved, so that leads us to believe they might not have known what they were doing, what building they were breaking into," he said. "We’re leaning towards a party prank at this point."
The moral of the story is: if a bunch of thugs belong to a protected minority, then whatever they do must be regarded as a party prank.
The American media, with very few exceptions, do not call a spade a spade. Even if they reveal ethnic identities, they cover up the true nature of the crime. If a man is killed in his home, the papers speak of a "robbery gone wrong." If a white guy is beaten by a gang it is a "senseless" act.
The article from Le Figaro does refer to them as "French", and as "young people", although they are not teenagers. Le Figaro claims that nothing was found in the RV, but informs us that the FBI is opening an inquiry to determine the motive for the break-in. As of now, the five men are behind bars.
As I go to post, there is another article, this one from the Houston Chronicle, that indicates none of the men were on the FBI's lists. The article concludes that it was all a farce. The men were certainly drunk, and on a spree, but the whole incident remains cloaked in mystery:
Officials had stated that the men, all in their mid-20s, were from Morocco but corrected themselves later in the day, saying they had French driver's licenses and passports. The French Consulate in Dallas has been notified of the incident, they said. (…)
“They were clowning around in the courtroom,” Ortiz said, adding that sheriff's investigators could find no apparent terror or political motive for breaking in. Federal law enforcement sources agreed, although they said their investigation remained open.
Given their foreign status and the oddity of the situation, every possible motive had to be investigated, Ortiz said.
“Why would a bunch of tourists choose a courthouse to break into? That is the part that's very hard to reconcile,” First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. “So we're not taking anything for granted on them and we're going to be seeking a high bond.” (…)
Four of them started their trip in the New York area, officials said. They paid for the RV rental with a credit card and cash, a $10,000 booking, a spokesman for the rental company said.
“There was nothing suspicious about them,” said the spokesman, Daniel Schneider. “They were just normal guys.” (…)
All judges were invited to a special meeting at noon in which the danger was downplayed. Bomb-sniffing dogs from at least three agencies already had scanned the area, said state District Judge Victor Negrón, whose gavel had been grabbed.
The memento — still wrapped in a red, white and blue ribbon from when it was given to Negrón at his swearing-in ceremony — was dusted for fingerprints and returned to him later in the day. The men likely saw it as a potential trophy of their prank, Negrón said, laughingly referring to it by a new nickname: “the Moroccan hammer.” (...)
The relentless effort by the authorities to underplay the incident and to laugh it off lends ominous overtones to these American newspaper reports.
So with thanks to the French reader for his belief in our "courage", I can't help feeling that those Texas authorities could use some lessons in how to call a crime a crime.
Below, the San Antonio courthouse.