[OPINION] Rachel Paul: “Enemies May Hate Us For Who We Are”

Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Dr. Edward Paul’s daughter Rachel Paul is a 2014 Staples High School graduate. She went to UCLA, then stayed after graduation for a job in Santa Monica.

The other night, she received what she and her father hope was a Halloween prank. But, he says, in light of last weekend’s Pittsburgh murders, she viewed what happened with extreme caution.

“Aside from the act,” he says, “it raised the concept that many of us can have enemies that we don’t know, and who don’t know us. But they hate us for no apparent reason except for who we are.”

He wants her story to speak for itself.

“Do you have any enemies?” I heard the officer ask through the phone. “Anyone you know who would want to do this?”

“No,” I thought. “Of course not.”

This is the conversation that has played over and over in my head since the evening of October 28.

My boyfriend and I were walking to my car after a relaxing weekend of watching movies, baking brownies and going to Halloween parties. My Honda Accord had been parallel parked on the corner of Whitworth Avenue and Almont Drive, in the heart of a Jewish neighborhood in Beverly Hills.

When we got to my car, I mindlessly went to open the back right door to toss in my backpack. As my hand reached for the handle, however, I noticed something.

I jumped back and gasped as I realized what was before me: the back right portion of my car was covered in streaks of what appears to be blood. Because it was a misty night, it seemed that some of the liquid was still wet. Other parts had coagulated.

Is this what blood looks like when it dries on a car? Is this what it streaks like when it rolls down a door? Those questions flooded through my brain, as I frantically looked around the car to see if there was a body.

While searching the area for some clue as to what happened, I noticed a hair tangled in the blood on the car. My stomach dropped as I thought about what had occurred just 2 days prior: a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 innocent people dead.

Here I stood, in the middle of a predominantly Jewish community, staring at my car, with streaks of dark red liquid running down the sides.

After 3 1/2 hours the police arrived. They relieved me of my worst fear: It was not real blood. It appeared to be either a Halloween prank or some type of act of retaliation, which is why the officer asked if I had any enemies. Relieved and exhausted, I drove home at 1:30 in the morning.

As I stood in my parking garage scrubbing the fake blood off my car, something occurred to me: Simply by existing, by being who I am, I have made enemies.

I am a young Jewish woman with liberal political views and a fierce belief in social equality. As the events of this past weekend so clearly pointed out, these qualities alone are enough to provoke violence, even from strangers.

To whoever decided to paint my car with fake blood: Did you know that you were in a Jewish neighborhood? Did you think about the innocent lives that were taken a mere 2 days earlier, simply due to their religious beliefs?

Ignorance is a form of privilege. It is a luxury we cannot afford. You do not have to be old enough to vote in order to take a stand or have your own beliefs. If you are old enough to paint fake blood on a car, then you are old enough to know what is going on in our world.

Our society is filled with a level of hatred beyond anything I could have dreamed of as a child. We are not free to be who we are without judgment and violence from those around us. We must educate ourselves about the realities of our cultural and political climate, and we must truly think of the repercussions of our actions before we act upon them.

Parents: Please take time to talk to your children about values such as understanding, tolerance and acceptance. What may have seemed like a simple Halloween prank to those individuals that night carries so much more weight.

If anything I’ve said has resonated with you, please share my story. We need to work together to change our culture. If we all merely shake our heads and gasp at the horrors that occur around us, we will do nothing but watch passively as the moral fabric of our community disintegrates.

Listen to others even if they have different beliefs than you. Accept members of your community even if they have a different faith than you.

Live a life that will leave a legacy.

34 responses to “[OPINION] Rachel Paul: “Enemies May Hate Us For Who We Are”

  1. Rachel, Ed and Piper, I’m so sorry this happened to Rachel. Let’s hope it was nothing more than a stupid Halloween prank but in today’s messed up world you can never be sure. I don’t understand why or how we can treat each other this way. We need to wake up folks and stop this insanity.

  2. Why would you jump to the conclusion that this was blood, that this was targeted at you because you are presumably Jewish, that this had anything to do with your religion, or that this act had anything to do with intolerance? You live in a major city that has more than its fair share of crime. This could have happened anywhere and to anyone. You are making unfair and unreasonable assumptions and connections based on nothing other than this is a Jewish neighborhood. This probably has nothing to do with you. It may have been a bunch of kids who thought this was a joke. Sorry you are upset but you are making a much bigger deal than this is and this unlilely has nothing to do with Judiasm or intolerance.

    • Well gee. Simply appalling!

    • Agree

    • Why? Because she is Jewish, in a Jewish neighborhood, looking at what appears to be blood and hair on her car just two days after 11 people were murdered because they were Jewish.

      It may seem irrational to you, but ever since the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I get a bit nervous when I’m in a crowded gay bar.

      When you’re part of a group that’s sometimes a target of hate, it’s inderstandsble to be a bit fearful and perhaps paranoid at times.

      Hate crimes are a form of terrorism — they can instill fear and paranoia in the targeted group.

    • Agree Jay; this smells an awful lot like the spate of phony and staged “hate” crimes in Westport earlier this year. Shades of Tawana Brawley and Duke Lacrosse.

  3. The take away from the article is that in 2018 people have enemies just by the virtue of being born into a minority group or by having views that others disagree. This article is a commentary by a young person on our times and a plea for tolerance and reflection.

  4. Bill Boyd... Staples 66

    I’m guessing it’s a Halloween prank….nothing more. Kids….let’s be optimists….a random act of Halloween hijinks…

  5. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    Mr. Boyd and Mr. Summers, I disagree with both of you. Hopefully it was just a prank but in today’s climate Rachel was correct in being cautious and concerned. Rachel, your last line was right on. We all should live a life that will live a legacy. I feel certain that you will do that, leaving high marks for others to aspire to. I feel certain you are well on your way to calling us all to be better, more tolerant and accepting of each other.

  6. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    As my mother used to say, but in a very different context…..”Remember It’s the thought that counts”…..The overall climate has become hate and fear.. There is no way to dismiss that or to trivialize it.

  7. James Wilkinson

    As a preface……What happened in Pittsburgh was horrific, the worst representation of our society, and should strengthen everyone’s resolve to make a more tolerant and accepting world.
    BUT….this opinion piece by Rachel is pathetic in regards to her “incident” and about as

  8. James Wilkinson

    far from what the Jewish community needs in the face of true anti-Semitism. To have two “adults” not be able to determine that it was fake blood over a 3-1/2 hr period, to have a boyfriend who couldn’t talk some sense into his panicking girlfriend, to call the police off real police work, and to not recognize it was Halloween season…….oh wait, you did know it was Halloween, you carefully pointed out you had been partying “all weekend” in Beverly Hills.
    Your points about the world, and tolerance, and sometimes being afraid….they are spot on. Your inflammatory story is not. Just be careful when you have a 12 year old son, and one day he commits a prank…….just remember your almightily wise and experienced note to parents above. No worries if you don’t, some 22 yr old will remind you.
    Oh and if you do decide to have children….choose a man that isn’t going to let his wife sit scared in the foggy night for 3-1/2 hrs.

    • I have a son. I do my best to instill in him understanding and empathy, and to not be harshly rude and judgemental. I hope he’s never part of a group sometimes targeted by hate, because I know how fearful, paranoid and seemingly irrational that can make a person behave at times.

    • Hi Jim-

      Now that you scolded Rachel on how YOU would have reacted if someone poured red stuff/ blood/ ketchup on your car- take a deep breathe and try to consider that there are a lot of people who don’t feel as safe in this wonderful country after last weekend’s massacre than they did last Halloween.

      By the way would You just have tasted the red stuff to figure out what it was??

      Just asking-

      • Hi Stevie

        Agree 100% with all your points. Yes she was scolded (but don’t do that to a youngster these days.) Yes a lot of people feel less safe this Halloween than last because of this senseless violence in our country…and that’s a sad testament to the times we live in. Yes it is still a wonderful country and we will all make sure it stays that way and perhaps even make it better…..but we all have a lot of work to do together. And yes, probably after a good visual and olfactory analysis, would have tasted the horrific gore “painted” all over the car……taken my girlfriend home, tucked her in bed and apologized for all the idiots in the world, and washed her car for her.

        Just saying-

        • Hi James- I have to tell you only my mother when she was alive and my grand daughters call me Stevie – kind of cute. I’m not sure if calling me Stevie was pay back for calling you Jim- if so I guess we’re even and I apologize.

          But my original point was that it was not appropriate to scold Rachel or publicly make fun of the way she handled a distressing and scary situation. You are a better man and problem solver than me- at night, with my car covered with gore- I would have called the police and waited for this to be resolved. Covering someone’s cars with gore is right up there with getting your house egged. Especially if you’re the only one on the street that was egged.

  9. I completely agree with Jay Summers. I doubt if the pranksters knew Ms. Paul or what religion she practices. The perpetrators were no more anti-Semitic than the kids who festooned my trees with toilet paper. I think she over-reacted.

  10. As Rachel’s mom I have some additional information to share. There was human hair mixed in with what appeared to be blood and she called and waited patiently for the police because she wanted to ensure it was not a crime scene and that no one had been harmed. She did not and does not think the attack was personal. The officer’s question to her as to whether she has any enemies caused her reflect on the state of today’s nation, which led to write the article. It became clear to her that people have enemies just by being born into this world, by the nature of their mere existence. Thank you to everyone who read her article and who commented. Please continue to share and keep the dialogue going.

  11. Hi everyone,

    I’m so glad that this article has provoked a discussion, that was exactly what I was trying to do. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I would like to comment that I am a strong and capable individual who does not need a boyfriend to calm me down or tuck me into a bed. I am not a child, and I can take care of myself. I did not include the details of emotional support nor where I waited for the police in this article because it is completely irrelevant to the purpose of this piece. The objective of this writing is to raise awareness of an overall shift in the political and cultural climate.

    As for determining whether or not it was a real crime scene, just as my personal and private relationship with my partner was not commented upon, the logistics of my analysis were left out of the article as well.

    I thank you all for engaging with one another on this platform and hope we can continue to have productive conversations.

    • SORRY honey, ‘determining whether or not this was a real crime scene’ IS the essence of this article and is the single most important FACT that needs to be established before anyone can comment with any legitimacy one way or the other. So what was it? Real or BS?
      In absence of same, it is my personal conclusion (opinion) that the entire scenario was a fraudulent set up…………..how did you phrase it? ‘To have productive conversations.’

    • Points taken Rachel. It was a dynamic discussion before it got a little bizarre and rude by others. You get Kudos for writing something publicly…..you will get supporters, critics (maybe like me), and those who are bashers for the sake of bashing…..it comes with the territory. Don’t let it deter you ever!! But as an additional comment to you…..let someone tuck you in…it doesn’t mean you’re a child, it means you’re loved. Cheers.

  12. I bet this is somehow related to that ghost ship that washed up.

  13. Well – reading this thread it’s pretty clear that anger, vitriol, blaming and misogyny is alive and well here in our lovely little town. So reassuring.

    Some people – many people – in this country belong to groups that are targeted with real crime – including murder, torture and mass shootings – simply because of who they are through birth, the color of their skin or how they live their life for themselves. It seems pretty clear that Rachel was using an incident to raise the FACT that this makes many people belonging to those groups feel unsafe, on edge and in danger of being targeted by someone they do not even know. Read her article closely – she wrote the questions she was asking in her mind – her conclusion and point was not that she had been targeted for being Jewish but that, because people in this country are targeting people who are Jewish, it creates fear. If 11 people had not been shot in a Synagogue just days ago by someone who declared hate for them (and there are legions of other hate crimes such as this in our country now) then perhaps Rachel would have brushed it off. As long as hate exists and people target groups of individuals they do not know, there will be fear. If you don’t belong to any of those groups, then some understanding and empathy would be the kindest human response rather than to attack and belittle the person who is sharing their experience.

    Rachel, thanks for writing about this and for your thoughtful response to the comments. Keep it up!

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