The following is an Asbury Park Press editorial:
Four suspects – two men and two women – charged this week in connection with a series of bias crimes targeting Orthodox Jews in Lakewood ranged in age from 18 to 25.
They were arrested for allegedly tossing eggs at pedestrians from a moving car while yelling offensive epithets and laughing. They are suspected of having pelted their victims on several occasions last week.
Divorced from history and from the sure knowledge that all people share a common humanity, these cowards, should they indeed be found guilty of the crimes, need to be punished to the full extent the law allows and their actions must be condemned formally and loudly by church and civic groups up and down the Jersey Shore.
From where does this kind of hatred spring? It is not bound up in our DNA. Bigotry is learned. Nonetheless, it has a kind of staying power in the human heart and it takes root in whispers, in mobs, in anonymity and in muttered curses, sometimes from the lips of family members.
Sadly, these incidents are not unique in Lakewood or to Lakewood. Hatred has its own far-flung geography.
You can’t legislate away this terrible darkness in the human heart or the most bigoted of thoughts.
But crimes can be punished and twisted motives held up to the light of day. Good people must stand together in condemnation and solidarity.