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Vandal sprays graffiti at historically black church in Palo Alto

Original post made on Dec 29, 2019

The peace and goodwill of the Christmas season at University AME Zion Church in Palo Alto was disturbed early Saturday morning when a man spray-painted angry messages at the area's oldest African American church.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, December 29, 2019, 3:54 PM

Comments (23)

16 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 29, 2019 at 4:46 pm

"Police said the suspect was described by the witness as a white man, 35-45 years old, 5 feet 11 inches and with blondish short hair."


4 people like this
Posted by Red
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Stupid is as stupid does


11 people like this
Posted by revdreileen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2019 at 7:10 pm

revdreileen is a registered user.

My heart is breaking, and my prayers are with the good people of University AMEZ.


5 people like this
Posted by Juanita
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2019 at 12:31 am

It’s probably a good idea for the church to put up security camera.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2019 at 8:27 am

Yesterday there was a shooting at a church in Texas. On Saturday there was a stabbing at a Hanukkah celebration in New York. When a place of worship or meeting of worshippers is targeted, it is an act against all of us. We should not be afraid to meet with those who share our faith and we should not be put in a situation where our faith is targeted by those who come from different "tribes". This tribalism is a step backwards and anyone who can't accept that we have our differences and our own opinions is doing so much harm to us as a whole.


15 people like this
Posted by Fellow local Christian
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Dear Reverend Smith,
Just sending love and prayers -- this is appalling, and in no way represents the community.


10 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Sadly, there is a pattern here. Of course the perp could simply be a plain-old mentally disturbed person, but this sure sounds like more of the White Nationalism that is gaining ground in this country.


24 people like this
Posted by always been there
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 30, 2019 at 1:45 pm

> sounds like more of the White Nationalism that is gaining ground

Or more realistically: sounds like more of the White Nationalism that is *openly showing itself* these days


4 people like this
Posted by Em
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Sounds to me like a person experiencing a crisis of faith. Perhaps this particular church was targeted, perhaps not.


12 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

It could be for any reason, including hate crimes. But, statistically speaking, the likeliest "reason" is mental illness. I see many more homeless mentally ill around town now. I wish there was a way to fund treatment programs and housing for the homeless mentally ill. Unfortunately, when the perpetrator is determined, the only "treatment" actually available will be jail...


6 people like this
Posted by EPAMom
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Mental illness and white supremacy are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would argue that there is a complete overlap. We don't need to decide which it is to address it.


4 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 30, 2019 at 4:00 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Trust me, every person who is a "White Supremacist", which in our society is really another word for Neo Nazi, is mentally ill.


Like this comment
Posted by always been there
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 30, 2019 at 4:58 pm

> But, statistically speaking, the likeliest "reason" is mental illness.


Please, feel free to link to your statistics that show church attacks are mostly due to mental illness, because all I'm seeing anecdotally in the dozens of recent church attacks is HATE CRIMES.

For example, in reporting on the synagogue stabbings this weekend:

"This is the second stabbing in Monsey since November. An Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed several times November 20 while walking to synagogue, officials said. He was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery.

Saturday's stabbing is the 13th act of anti-Semitism in New York in the past three weeks, in addition to other hateful incidents targeting the black, Latino and LGBT communities, Cuomo said."

repeat: "the 13th act of anti-Semitism in New York in the past three weeks"

So yeah, I look forward to your statistics.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2019 at 5:47 pm

There has been very little information released about the gunman in the shooting in a church in Texas.

It seems the media are willing to make things look like "hate crimes" when the victims are possibly, and I say possibly, targeted because of race or faith, but no such "hate crime" label has been put on the Texas church.

The headline of this vandalism graffiti article speaks about the church as being "historically black" but is that really relevant? If this had been any other church would anything other than "Middlefield Road church" been described? It could be anything that triggered this vandalism, from a disgruntled past member to a bored teen, someone with mental illness or just high. It is quite possible it was done by someone who is familiar with the campus and building.

The comments here want to lay blame when there is absolutely no evidence that any of the theories are true. We have had some vandalism done at one of our centers of faith. This is the story, nothing about race or hate unless there is some police gathered evidence that support this. We have to accept that we do not know the reason or the cause. What we do know is that this is an affront to all our faith based communities. We have to support each other because the next faith based community or group meeting place, may just be the one we attend or feel affiliated with.

Please accept that sometimes we don't have enough information to form an opinion and by making ridiculous suppositions of who it may be and why, we are in fact adding to the tribalism that exists in our society. Remember, we are all innocent until proven guilty and at the same time when we don't have enough information, we do not have enough information to form an opinion and should not assume otherwise.


8 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 31, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Resident: Did you miss the part about none of the other churches in that area on Middlefield were vandalized?


Like this comment
Posted by always been there
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 31, 2019 at 2:26 pm

> It could be anything that triggered this vandalism, from a disgruntled past member to a bored teen, someone with mental illness or just high.

@resident: so what you're saying is - "it also *could* be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, ok,” and not Putin?

/////

Odd with such an increase in hate crimes that you can only come up with something about a Texas Church shooting, leading to the question: *which* Texas Church shooting?

The one where the shooter was described as "that (shooter) was prone to religious fanaticism"?

or the Sunderland Texas Church shooting, where the gun nut killed 27 and injured 20?

or some other Texas Church shooting recently?


2 people like this
Posted by DuvMom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Wait....So Black Israelites are actually white?


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2019 at 4:14 pm

To Novelera and "always been there".

I suggest you read both my comments above for context.

I do not make assumptions. I think before I say (type).

The one thing I will say is that if some of the commenters here were ever put on a jury I hope they would be more open minded than they appear to be here. Making assumptions without any type of evidence helps no one and could possibly harm an innocent party.


Like this comment
Posted by always been there
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 31, 2019 at 5:51 pm

> Making assumptions without any type of evidence

Where did I do so?

> I suggest you read both my comments above for context.

I have, and I'm still trying to figure out why you brought up a church shooting in Texas, twice. So I asked you a question about it.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2019 at 6:22 pm

To "always been there".

I didn't say you had made assumptions, I said some of the above commenters had made assumptions. Those assumptions do a great deal of damage to what could be a reasonable conversation. As I said, this was not something you did, but others.

As for my comments about the shooting in a church in Texas, you will see that I was referring to the one that took place on Sunday. I said yesterday, as I typed on Monday. At the time there was very little information about the shooter and still is very little information about him.

The point of the comment is that both the synagogue and the Texas church are places of faith, and as was the case of the church in this article, when one place of faith is targeted, all of us feel it regardless of whether it is one we are affiliated to or not. Even for non-churchgoers or people without a practicing faith, the places that provide spiritual homes for those of faith are still integral parts of our society. We can all feel the pain. It doesn't matter what color or creed, they are part of who we are as society.

The pain hurts us all, whether it is in New York, Texas, or Palo Alto.


13 people like this
Posted by Tweet
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 2, 2020 at 4:22 pm

PAPD tweeting they are patrolling Palo Alto churches. Web Link In light of recent events nationally and locally (a vandalism at a church on Middlefield Road over the weekend), we want to assure you that our officers are regularly patrolling places of worship in #PaloAlto. (1/2)


Like this comment
Posted by Barnes IV
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 2, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Dude conflates different posters and then throws his hands up, all innocent: bbbbbut "I didn't say you had made assumptions, I said some of the above commenters had made assumptions."

Go ahead, only the black church got it, but I'm sure it's all coincidence.


4 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2020 at 5:10 pm

[Post removed.]


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