When hatred comes home

I’d intended this as the topic of last week’s column but certain details couldn’t be disclosed as the investigation was just beginning.

While posted at the computer on the evening of Friday, September 18, Sandra entered my office around 8:45 p.m. and simply passed her cell phone to me. Our spiritual mother disclosed the fact her son; our god brother, Mr. Lopaka Farley, had been at the Ocala, FL, public library to pick up his three children when a man in a white SUV had attempted to run him down.

It actually required “Ma Karen” repeating the details twice before her account of the incident fully registered. According to details reported, however, Lopaka’s three children had attended the Freedom Library on a regular basis for the purpose of completing their class studies and homework assignments.

Reportedly, there was a Caucasian man described as being in his late forties to mid-fifties brownish hair in a pony tail with a short, full beard and decaying teeth more-or-less being generally disruptive to patrons of the library. When he’d approached the area where the 14, 12, and 11 year olds were studying, according to the librarian on staff, the man began making racial comments and defamatory statements.

The kids called their father to have him take the short drive to the library to pick them up when his children reported the situation. Ms. Karen, the librarian, stated Mr. Farley had approached the man when the two of them engaged in a discussion, which became rather heated. The stranger pointed out, “This is the dad of the monkeys” and specified “You’re gonna see how it feels to meet a real Republican.” Lopaka told him it was disrespectful to speak to the children in such a manner while suggesting the two of them could settle the matter outside. At that point, Ms. Karen cautioned the man his use of language wasn’t tolerated inside the library and asked that he leave the premises.

Instead of leaving the library, however, the man simply went outside and waited in his SUV. According to Mr. Farley, a former member of the Army Special Forces, as he unknowingly passed behind the man’s SUV, the aggressor then reversed his truck; attempting to hit Lopaka. He was able to maneuver from the path of the vehicle, which resulted with him being in front of it. The man then sped forward as Lopaka reached into his pocket for a cell phone with the intent of taking a photo of the driver.

The truck slammed into Mr. Farley’s right side, which catapulted him into the windshield, over the roof of the Toyota 4-Runner, and off the back. Lopaka fell from the top of the truck onto his face, resulting with a fractured cheekbone, a fractured upper left arm, damage to the shoulder, and a broken foot. One of the library personnel had attempted to follow the driver of the SUV but wasn’t able to do so. Ultimately, Mr. Farley was transported to Ocala Regional Hospital where he underwent treatment for his injuries and spent a couple days recuperating.

After more than a week, the assailant has been identified and law enforcement is fully aware of his home address but, as of Sunday, September 27, 2020, no arrest had been made. Speculation led Mr. Farley, his wife, and others in the community to believe someone was assisting the man.

The assailant’s reported expression of his disdain for Blacks is still not justification for conviction of all Caucasian citizens. With racial tensions having reached a level they’ve not seen in decades, it seems every incident is scrutinized beneath a microscope of opinion in search of anything remotely symbolic of discrimination. Granted, there are obviously situations wherein racism figures into the narrative but not every issue concerning Caucasians and Blacks can be attributed to that dynamic. It would be as ludicrous to suggest that every Caucasian hates all Black people as to state every African-American is a hardened criminal. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

To pose a question or share your opinion, you can reach B. G. Howard at bw3bh@yahoo.com or P.O. Box 8103, Jacksonville, FL 32239.