By AARON HOLMES – Features Writer
The crime has been committed, but the hate never ends.
On March 22, 2011, Athens resident Jamie Hood allegedly committed the terrible crime of shooting two Athens-Clarke County police officers, killing one and wounding the other. Since then, people have fed off the disgust and hatred caused by these events.
Immediately after Hood allegedly killed Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian, the hate quickly began swirling. Such a cold-blooded murder had not occurred in the Athens area for quite some time. People across the county were shocked and saddened. Once Hood was arrested and the story began to surface, however, shock quickly turned to a furious, enraged hatred of Hood.
People wrote irate letters to local newspapers and publicly wished the worst upon him. Fairly soon, there was a Facebook hate page overflowing with posts calling for his gruesome dismemberment. The more attention the murders gained, the the bloodlust grew surrounding Hood’s demise.
After a short-lived quiet period, this hatred was rekindled last week after Hood’s court hearing.
For some distorted reason, Hood plead that he was not a cop-killer on the grounds that he had the opportunity to kill more police officers, but chose not to according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
However, the story of Hood’s trial wasn’t the only shocking factor. The comments on the OnlineAthens report were disturbingly vehement; some verging on racism and some with unnecessary hate speech. The most disturbing fact, however, was that these comments weren’t directed solely at Hood.
“He should bypass all appeals processes which we know he will have, (more tax dollars wasted) and go straight to the death chamber,” was one comment on the OnlineAthens story page, which had gained over 30 comment “likes.” Another comment read, “These lawyers representing this animal should be tied to his lap and Old Sparkey used on all of them!!!!!”
Not only were the comments full of disgust, but the news article describing the case was as well. The writer was apparently so outraged by the happenings in the case that he found it nearly impossible to maintain a professional objectiveness when writing his story. Every quote given by Hood was presented with ridicule. Hood’s actions were described in the news article as “ranting,” and his quotations were left grammatically incorrect, making Hood appear uneducated.
By no means does this mean Hood isn’t guilty of the awful crimes he committed. If the OnlineAthens news article was not, in fact, a news article, but rather a story being relayed from one friend to another, it would be completely reasonable. However, being as it was, the author’s own contempt leaked into the story and made it void of professionalism.
It is clear that internet rage over Jamie Hood is approaching an unreachable climax. The more people feed of off each other’s anger, the greater the rage grows. By overreacting so intensely to such a terrible crime, the sheer awfulness of it is only magnified. When a news article about Hood is written with biting disgust, it only discredits itself.
Jamie Hood allegedly committed a terrible crime, and is by no means in the right in this situation. But we shouldn’t be calling for his death or the death of his lawyers. By doing so, we let Hood continue to commit crimes, even when locked away in his cell: crimes of provocation.