In response to last Sunday’s letter by James Engel, the simple answer is, “Yes, one distribution is a crime, and the other is news.” We are talking about the “N” word here. What it comes down to is intention, and Andrew Oswalt’s clear intention was that of a racist white supremacist. It was ugly.
The newspaper would have been remiss had it not shown the phrase, letters removed and all, so that people could better understand why this was happening. It was definitely not an “inferred offense,” and I feel sorry for the fifth-graders who you say could easily fill in these letters, although I’m not sure how true that is.
Nevertheless, intent certainly was determined in court and readers of this paper are intelligent enough to see the difference between reporting and malicious propaganda.
Albany (Dec. 5)