Sunday, December 16, 2007

Many Questions, No Answers

Stephen Hsia has already written an eloquent response to the attack on Fransisco Nava '09, so I did not feel compelled to immediately post on the subject. Without knowing more information, I could not add more to the discussion. As I began to dig deeper, I found a strange, incoherent story. Sources which I deem reliable, an RCA close to Nava, Butler College, the Prince, persons affiliated with Anscombe, and even the Tory are either really vague or contradict each other. I'm saddened, terrified, angered, confused, cautious...

I am left with many questions and no answers.

Why was Nava singled out for attack?
Where was he attacked?
By whom?
Were the attacks really in connection with his relationship to Anscombe? (This seems almost obvious.)
Were his attackers prompted to action by the Prince's article on Friday?
Who were his attackers?
What was the extent of the violence? (I have heard conflicting accounts of whether or not he actually received a concussion. There is also the matter of the bottle reported in the Tory's blog--was there a bottle; was it whole or broken?)
How much time elapsed before he was found?
How much time did he spend at the ER?
Did he go to McCosh as well?
Why was the vigil not particularly well publicized?
Why was the vigil canceled? (I have heard two different reasons, one much creepier than the other...)

Why has Public Safety not issued a Campus Safety Alert?
The message could have been completely apolitical: "The Department of Public Safety is alerting community members of an incident that took place at [location] between [time frame]. Two masked men lured a male student to a dark area where they proceeded to violently attack him. The two attackers were described as [descriptions of the attackers], etc."

Why has the University not issued a public statement on the matter?
By now the rumor mill is going wild between speculation as to what actually happened and as to why the University has not responded. Is it because the University is biased against conservatives on campus? Is it because the University does not wish to issue a public statement until all information is in? Is it because the University does not wish to acknowledge the incident in light of the fact that we are in the middle of the application season? Is it because the University is trying to hide something? Is it because the University is not allowed to at the current moment to issue a public statement? I really don't know what the answer is. I really don't understand why the University has not issued any campus-wide email, even as a means of damage control.

Feel free to give answers or ask more questions.


Bryan said...

I just don't understand why someone would attack a member of the Anscombe society. Sure, they have perpetuated a seriously offensive lack of respect for gays and lesbians, but they're just a splinter group of extremists, lacking any real movement and lacking any strong influence on campus. And gay people of all people, because of the discrimination they've been put through, are generally understanding of and respectful of others' viewpoints and certainly not violent.

I hope Mr. Nava is okay, I really do. But I'm starting to think this whole thing is a hoax. At least, it as astounding similarities to that case a few years back at Northwestern in which a student belonging to a particular ethnic minority was expelled after he fabricated racial slurs being written on the wall of his dorm and made up an elaborate story about being attacked on the street...

Anonymouse [sic] said...

To Bryan:

That's a really really troubling prospect, and I can't say that it hasn't occurred to me--the one thing is, I really don't think someone would willingly give themselves a concussion just to make such a stupid point.

Also, I don't think that this has been explicitly over gay issues. My initial reaction was to assume that it was because of that, due to the fact that that's probably the most hurtful thing Anscombe preaches and the fact that the crime chillingly mirrors hate crimes against LGBT people.

I'm not sure what would be worse: for this to actually be a big conspiracy, for it to be members of campus viciously attacking a fellow Princetonian, or for it to be a completely random crime. All three options shake the conception that Princeton is a safe and loving place. :(

Anonymous said...

bryan - while this may indeed be the case, I don't think that there is anything so far that warrants that conclusion. As anonymouse pointed out, this act required giving himself a concussion, hardly a fun thing to go through.

To make yet another comparison with the Columbia case, it would have been far easier for the professor to have placed the noose on his own door - and for the sake of balance, I hope that's the first thing that ran through your mind when you heard about that incident.

Anonymous said...

Was the Columbia case ever proven to be a hoax? I know the Northwestern can was - the dude comfessed. Anyways, I don't think this one is a hoax because giving yourself a concussion would be unthinkable. I hope the university releases more information soon so we can stop needlessly speculating.

Anonymous said...

Conservative groups don't have a history of perpetuating hoaxes. If this one is - a proposition I find very unlikely -, it would be highly unusual.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that he didn't really have a concussion, making the hoax theory all the more likely...

Felix said...

hmm, I posted this on Steve's post earlier but it seems more related to this one. There are a few interesting points that I'm sure the police will investigate - if this is a targeted attack, someone clearly had to know that Francisco would pass that way regularly to mentor a child. If these are some randos, how easy is it to find out a Princeton student's plans and schedule? Yet if these are Princeton students, the campus is so small that I would certainly recognize it if someone was walking around who had assaulted me so I doubt any Princeton student would be idiotic enough to do that. I wouldn't think it would be that easy to track someone without arousing suspicion and that Francisco would be able to pinpoint who knew where he was going.

This leads me to hope (if justice is to be applied) it was more of a random attack. I would think that pulling off a specific, targeted attack against a Princeton student knowing him personally is so difficult that it's implausible without drawing suspicion to oneself. And if that person did know him personally, then I would think Francisco would have a good idea who it is - though he may be unwilling to point fingers at this point. I think honestly that may be the most plausible situation at this point, especially if there is significant hush hush ness around people that know him.

Random attacks aren't all that uncommon - if I remember correctly, 4 random high school kids chased and attacked a Princeton student just 1/2 years ago right outside Whitman college. Let's hope that this is just such a case and that they catch these people.

While the theories about a hoax are interesting, I do know enough people in Anscombe that I would seriously doubt it and would scratch my head if that was true - at least the people I know certainly wouldn't pull that off and aren't stupid to do something like that.

Anonymous said...

I think there are many issues here that are critically important, but there is one that I believe is WAY under-emphasized, even though it might(?) be the most important:

Is Nava ok?

There are many practical and theoretical issues that must be resolved, but for crying out loud, we have to watch out for our fellow human beings, and right now, one of our fellow Princetonians.

If we can't support one another, then what good is talking about ideals?

Again, the issues at stake are very important and worth dealing with, and thankfully it sounds like Nava is recovering; but please, don't forget the individual and his own pain and hardship.

Anonymous said...

I received an email earlier today from Dave Brown, the director of SVC, who verified that Francisco Nava was indeed returning his "little brother" the night of the attack, and that the SVC car he was using was left in the township. Additionally, Dave verified that Francisco has a concussion and is now in McCosh.

Given these details, it is highly doubtful that this is a hoax, and my opinion is that the campus should be outraged at the lack of response from the administration and Public Safety.

Martha Vega said...

My understanding is that Nava suffered a concussion but no other significant damages and was released from the ER. I don't know him personally, but from what I've heard, physically at least, he's as well as could be expected, given the circumstances, but you're right, we should be more concerned for his safety.

Anonymous said...

A couple points:
1- Lack of student outcry: In case, you haven't noticed, almost no one (and indeed not a single person outside the targeted group) in any of these "incidents" on campus from the swastikas, the crude graffiti has actually cared. The Prince may have put it as a headline, but there has never been a big buzz on campus about ANY of these issues, except perhaps to laugh at the Prince for publicizing them.
That is not to say that this should be the case with this beating incident.
2- Public safety probably didn't issue a warning, because, amazingly enough, the attack wasn't on CAMPUS, where they have jurisdiction. This is a POLICE MATTER.
3- Why weren't the death threats publicized? Because death threats, unlike lewd chalk drawings, are a CRIME. They thus require investigation and a different set of modus operandi. Indeed, it was probably left up to the targets of these threats to publicize them, since Public Safety and the Administration would not want to offend or hurt the targets.
Secondly, death threats are targeted against an individual - not a group as a whole, thus there is little reason for the administration to warn the student body as a whole.
4- Lets just stop assuming the admin is evil and incompetent, and instead apply Occam's Razor and assume that they have proper and intelligent motives. If this approach does not lead to logical conclusions, then other avenues should be tested.

Anonymous said...

Amen to the previous poster.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of the answers.

Anonymous said...

There's a new story on the Tory website.

Anonymous said...

Great article in First Things that actually gives us the detail that we would have expected (but haven't gotten) from the Prince. The latest post on the Tory blog is pretty good too - some other details and no obvious bias to speak of.

So basically those 2 articles make the hoax thing seem a LOT more likely. It certainly damages Nava's credibility.

Although he obviously should be treated as innocent until proven guilty - there's still a really good chance this isn't a hoax. I mean, how (and why) would he have self-inflicted those injuries? It just seems so implausible.

I guess we just have to wait for the police, public safety, and the administration to do their job and figure out what really happened.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives hava a moral compass. They would nor could not perpetuate a hoax.

When is the last time a Conservative student perpetuated a hoax to engender the campus' sympathy?

Anonymous said...

Conservatives have no more of a moral compass than liberals...

Anonymous said...

People are people. Whether they are liberal or conservative, people have the capacity for great good and great evil. Just look at the role that the Catholic Church (you don't get very much more conservative than the Catholic Church) played in validating and aiding and abetting the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives hava a moral compass. They would nor could not perpetuate a hoax.

When is the last time a Conservative student perpetuated a hoax to engender the campus' sympathy?

Face, meet egg.

I think this post warrants an update at the top in light of the fact that the whole things was a hoax.