This has been a disturbing and difficult week for America. People everywhere are reeling from the shootings in Colorado and divided by the Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy. On Thursday, July 26, 2012, authorities in Pennsylvania announced that they had apprehended five individuals suspected of terrorizing young children at a Jewish summer camp.
Police in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, have arrested Tyler Cole Spencer, 18, Mark Trail, 21, Cassandra Robertson, 18, and two juveniles for the attacks at Camp Bonim, located near Waymart, Pennsylvania. The three adults in the case are being charged with a variety of felonies and misdemeanors, including ethnic intimidation, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and institutional vandalism. The unnamed minors face charges in juvenile court.
The group has been accused of attacking Camp Bonim during three separate incidents on July 14 and July 15, 2012. The suspects allegedly drove through the camp at high speed, while shooting at campers and camp staff with paintball guns. Police say the suspects damaged fields, tore up the campus by repeatedly doing 360’s with their pickup truck, uprooted the camp’s mailbox and deliberately tried to run over several people.
The five accused are alleged to have yelled several threatening antisemitic slurs as they went on their rampage including, “I’m gonna kill you, you f***ing Jews,” and, “Go back to where the f*** you came from you god**** Jews. We don’t want you here.”
On July 16, 2012, one day after the third attack at the camp, Spencer is accused of using his vehicle to deliberately injure a counselor from Camp Bonim. The counselor, who was outside a local store, suffered a broken leg and Spencer faces indictment for aggravated assault, in addition to his other charges. Spencer hails from of Linden, Tennessee and he is being held on $200,000 bail. Trail and Robertson both live in Wayne County and they are being held on $20,000 bail each.
The Wayne County, Pennsylvania District Attorney, Janine Edward, who appears to be taking this case very seriously, made the following statement: “These children were terrorized and in fear for their lives by the actions of this group. The vicious, cruel and obscene nature of the language hurled at the campers is unspeakable. Luckily none of the children suffered any serious physical injury; however, the emotional damage done is immeasurable. This is outrageous conduct and will not be tolerated.”
According to the Camp’s director, Dovid Presser, most of the children are no longer afraid for their safety because the suspects have been apprehended. Mr. Presser, commenting on the possible motivation for the attack, had this to say: “Because of what goes on out there in the world, people get scared quick, and that’s what they were trying to accomplish.”
Camp Bonim, which has over 300 campers between the ages of 6 and 20, is one of the more than 30 summer camps in Wayne County. The camps are an important source of much-needed revenue and District Attorney Edward was adamant that the county will protect its visitors. Ms. Edwards “wants it known that Wayne County citizens value our camps. We want our camps to be safe.”
Hopefully, America will regain its balance and the insanity will stop. There is no room in our country for racial and religious hatred. It takes a vile, cringing coward to try to run down a child with a truck while screaming, “I’m gonna kill you, you f***ing Jews.” We can only thank God that no one was seriously injured or killed during this depraved attack on our nation’s children.