Civility takes another beating

Society's sickening descent is being captured on cell phone video

If you've been fortunate enough to have missed it, you should know the Internet has birthed a new genre of horror films: amateur videos of brawls and beatdowns in public places in America.


They feature the ultimate "reality TV": real people attacking other real people, often caught on cell phone camera, and most often in fast food or sit-down restaurants, particularly at night.

We have to say, however sadly common the videos are becoming -- you begin to wonder if they're being staged -- the latest one from a McDonald's in the Baltimore area is the worst we've seen. It's utterly stomach-turning. It's not for the faint of heart.

In it, two females savagely beat down another apparent female -- who, as it turns out, is a transgender -- until the victim is writhing and even having a seizure on the floor.

Since the video of the attack went "viral" on the Internet, the chief suspect, Teonna Monae Brown, 18, has been denied bond and charged with first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. A 14-year-old girl was taken into custody as well.

The transgender community there is understandably concerned, and a rally outside the restaurant -- which closed for the event to show support -- drew dozens of concerned citizens. The April 18 incident also has inspired transgender supporters in the Maryland legislature to increase efforts to get special protections for them passed into law.

We're skeptical the crime was motivated by that; reports indicate Brown allegedly assaulted a woman in the same restaurant last year, for example. But in any case, such "hate crime" laws are unnecessary. They seek to punish thought, which is ominous and Orwellian, and they put differing values on various categories of victims.

Whether a man or a woman, or a woman who used to be a man, the kind of beating on that video is inhumane, horrifying and already quite illegal.