Slow down a bit as you’re driving down Route 3 south in Kingston and you might notice a well-maintained roadside monument memorializing State Trooper Mark Charbonnier.
He was just 31 in September 1994 when he pulled over a red Chevy van for a routine traffic violation. Behind the wheel was David Clark, out on parole after serving six years for beating a man to death. Inside the van: guns, ski masks, gloves and a police badge. Rather than risk a return to prison, Clark murdered Charbonnier as he approached the vehicle.
The community was appalled. Fifty thousand people paid their respects at the crime scene where the monument now stands. Then-Gov. William Weld cited the case as cause to reinstate the death penalty. And it took a jury of Clark’s peers just four hours to convict. “The evidence proved everything,” said a juror.
But not everyone was persuaded by the proof or visibly moved by Charbonnier’s murder. Clark’s lawyer, Judith Lindahl, infuriated the victim’s family, friends and fellow officers with a bizarre courtroom rant after the verdict was delivered claiming her client “has been attacked from the beginning and made a paragon for a public relations scheme.” She concluded that the case “raises profound questions of our ability to fairly and justly conduct ourselves.”
Blaming the victim was nothing new for Lindahl. As attorney for one of the men who gang-raped a woman in the infamous Big Dan’s New Bedford case, she horrified onlookers with her nuclear cross-examination of the victim, casting her as a promiscuous liar who consented to the mass assault atop a pool table. After her client was convicted, Lindahl told an interviewer “I do bridle at the suggestion that women [who bring rape charges] go through an ordeal. A truth-telling woman cannot effectively be cross-examined or humiliated.”
Memories of Lindahl’s perverse reasoning are evoked these days by the Himmler wanna-bes on college campuses and elsewhere celebrating Hamas’s ethnic cleansing. The National Students for Justice in Palestine’s “Day of Resistance Toolkit” promotes use of a graphic of a paraglider, like the ones used by Hamas to get to their mass rape and murder targets. The slaughter was a “natural and justified response,” they say. And it’s not just Israelis they want eradicated; their manifesto also refers to “occupied Turtle Island (so-called US and Canada).”
You might hope that college kids – or their parents – paying tens of thousands for an education would educate themselves even a little bit about the complex history of the Middle East, which includes victims of all kinds along with a long history of violent attacks on Jews which pre-date Israeli statehood. But blaming the Jews is a very old and deeply-ingrained instinct, for which modernity is apparently no match.
In the coming days, as Israel moves to clear out the terrorists hiding behind their human shields in Gaza, there will be all sorts of horrified virtue-signaling by the usual suspects – the Jew-haters of the BDS movement and their self-loathing Jewish allies, the quisling college administrators at Harvard and elsewhere who routinely stonewall media coverage of their own transgressions but faint at the thought of imposing consequences on vile anti-Semitic speech on campus, and so on.
Maybe, over time, they’ll manage what Judith Lindahl could not – persuade the large majorities of Americans currently signaling support for Israel’s war effort that it’s actually the victims and their advocates who are the villains.
But as Lindahl herself noted in her self-incriminating screed against rape victims: “You undersell a jury if you think that jurors aren’t capable of judging on the evidence.”