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Jan 25 2011

Cross-burning comes to a close

One of the very first stories I talked about when I started this site about a year ago was the cross burning incident in Nova Scotia, where an interracial couple woke to find a flaming cross on their lawn. That story has come to a close:

The second of two brothers who burned a cross on the lawn of an interracial couple in Windsor, N.S., has been sentenced to two months in jail.

Justin Rehberg, 20, was sentenced in a Windsor courtroom for criminal harassment and inciting racial hatred. He will be on probation for 30 months and is barred from owning firearms for 10 years. Rehberg was composed during the sentencing when Justice Claudine MacDonald asked if he had anything to say.

“I want to say I’m sorry,” Rehberg told the court. “I screwed up. It was a horrible mistake. It will never happen again.”

On Monday, Rehberg’s older brother, Nathan, was sentenced to four months in jail for inciting hatred and to six months in jail for criminal harassment. The sentences are to be served concurrently, and with credit for time already spent in custody, he will spend two more months in jail.

Well, I should say that the story has come to a close as far as the two brothers are concerned. The victims of this incident will have to live with the aftermath for years to come. That also doesn’t take into account the black community in Nova Scotia, having to deal with the constant spectre of fear of violence for the crime of having been born with a different skin colour.

I don’t have much to say about the sentence. It’s less than my sense of revenge would have liked to see, but as far as I’m concerned the damage has already been done. These kids are royal fuckups, will pull this kind of shit again, and will find hero worship among a small but fierce band of white supremacists. Putting them in jail for a longer period of time won’t do anything to change that fact. I’m almost tempted to say I wish they had been sentenced to do community outreach work in Africville, but I wouldn’t want to foist scumbags like the Rehbergs on the black community of Nova Scotia just to satisfy my perverted sense of justice.

[Crown prosecutor Darrell] Carmichael has said the cases were the first involving a cross-burning in Canada.

“I hope this will be the last, as well as the first,” he said.

Would you like to place a bet, Mr. Carmichael?

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