Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Good Run Spoiled...

Full disclosure demands that I acknowledge that the initial title for today's piece was "It Takes A Special Kind of Asshole" but then, fearing that affixing such a title to it might run afoul of the authority to whom I answer (a/k/a "the Missus"), I opted for something significantly more benign.  

But benign in terms of the title only. 

Fifty-seven-year-old Martin MacDonald of Pittsford, New York - unless two people who appear to be strangers to him, to each other, and to the fifteen-year-old, autistic, high school cross-country runner who Mr. MacDonald assaulted while the young man from a Syracuse, New York high school was participating in a cross-country race in Rochester, New York are both unrepentant liars - appears to be just such a special kind of asshole.   

Chase Coleman is a fifteen-year-old high school freshman and a member of the Corcoran High School cross-country team.  Chase is not the team's best runner.  Not by any measurable criteria.  He is, however, a favorite of his teammates and coaches alike.  Chase has been diagnosed with nonverbal autism.   He is a youngster who apparently has a rather small comfort zone and ever since he started participating in cross-country, the sport has occupied a rather prominent space in the aforementioned comfort zone.  

Until October 14, 2016.  It was on that afternoon that Chase was participating with his teammates in the Purple and Gold Invitational Meet, the course for which (at least in part) traversed Cobb's Hill Park in Rochester.  According to an eyewitness named Collin Thompson, Chase (dressed in his team's cross-country uniform) was running in the middle of the road when a man subsequently identified as Martin MacDonald emerged from a stopped vehicle, moved towards Chase, threw Chase down onto the ground and then shouted at him, "Get out of here."  Ms. Thompson was not the only witness to the event, which was also observed by a man named Kris Van Metter, who apparently lives in Washington, D.C. but happened to be in Rochester, N.Y. on the date in question. 

Ms. Thompson and Mr. Van Metter provided the license plate of the vehicle from which Mr. MacDonald emerged to local police, who traced the car back to Mr. MacDonald.  When questioned by police at his home, MacDonald - who is white - admitted forcibly knocking Chase Coleman to the ground but asserted - as one always seems prepared to do in 21st Century America - that he had a legitimate reason for doing what he did.  

And no, the reason he offered to the police was not simply that he is a special kind of asshole.  Well, not directly anyway.  According to the Rochester Police Department's incident report, which includes its interview with MacDonald: 

"When the deputy asked him why he did that, he replied that he thought Chase was going to mug his wife and take her purse.  MacDonald's wife was in the front passenger seat at the time of the incident.  When the deputy asked him why he thought that, MacDonald told him that some youths had broke into his car recently and that crossed his mind.  MacDonald went on to say that Chase wasn't responding to him telling him to move out of the road." 

I cannot pretend to give a rat's ass whether MacDonald's car had been broken into at some point prior to his encounter with Chase Coleman on the afternoon of Friday, October 14, 2016.  Irrespective of whether it was, if you think that a young boy dressed in the uniform of a high school cross-country team is some sort of criminal mastermind that he was intending to perpetrate a similar crime in broad daylight then there just might be a seat for you in the Honors Program at the Martin MacDonald Asshole Academy.  In other words, Slick, sell that bullshit someplace because, 'round here, we have enough stowed away to tide us over until Spring. 

The most offensive part of this story - at least so far - appears to be not MacDonald's cowardice but that of Rochester City Court Judge Caroline Morrison.   The Rochester Police Department has not yet tabled its investigation into the matter and an officer traveled from Rochester to Syracuse on Monday, October 31st to take a deposition from Chase.  

No, the most offensive part of this story is that - at least for present purposes - Chase has given up running on the Corcoran High School cross-country team.  A few days after he was assaulted, he turned his uniform into his coach and quit the team.  Apparently, neither his parents, his teammates, nor his coach have given up their efforts to get him back out there with them.  

Whether they shall prevail remains to be seen.  


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