Monday May 2, 2016
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The Prugh family is white. So is their next door neighbor, Edmund Aviv, in the Cleveland suburb of South Euclid.
Sandra Prugh has some special problems. To begin with, her husband suffers from dementia. Also, one of their five children is paralyzed. On top of that, in better times Sandra adopted two young black children with developmental disabilities, one with cerebral palsy and one with epilepsy.
There are people like that in the world; they just seem unable to do enough for others. What it means to Sandra Prugh is that she is on her own, there is a wheelchair ramp going up to their home, and there's often someone in a wheelchair using it.
Beginning 15 years ago, their neighbor, Edmund Aviv, a 62 year old electrician began harassing the Prughs for no apparent reason. The houses in their neighborhood are very close together, and one of his favorite things to do was to spit on the Prugh's when he could do it without being caught doing it. Another one was aiming searchlights at her windows at night.
He also uses dog manure as a weapon. He has thrown it on the windshield of her son's car and has smeared it all over their wheelchair ramp.
Recently, he came up with another trick. The Prughs began noticing what smelled like gasoline fumes or a leaking gas main and called the fire department. They found that Aviv had hooked up a dryer vent to blow kerosene fumes into their yard.
Aviv also verbalized his racial hatred, one time calling Sandra Prugh a "Monkey mama," when she appeared outside her house carrying the two small disabled black children. She says he also attempted to run down her two wheel-chair bound daughters.
After 15 years of harassment, Sandra Prugh finally applied to the courts for relief.
I suppose that right now you are thinking, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if some appropriate punishment could be thought up for such a person."
Last Sunday morning Edmund Aviv served out part of his sentence sitting at a busy Cleveland intersection for five hours with a sign around his neck that said:
"I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in."
He earned a lot of yells, jeers, shouts, laughter, pointed fingers, insults, and honking car horns.
He will serve 5 days in jail, and he will spend seven months on probation, do 100 hours of community service, attend anger management classes, and report for mental-health counseling.
What will eventually happen with Edmund Aviv?
Will he reform?
Hard to say. He pleaded no contest to the charges against him, and even though a probation officer was present while he was serving his five hours on that corner, at the moment someone in a passing car was yelling "Douche bag" at him he was telling a reporter, "I didn't do this."
That doesn't sound like a reformed character to me.
I guess we'll have to wait and see what he has to say in the letter he has to send to the local newspaper apologizing to Sandra Prugh.
The Question Is....
You think he'll dare to claim he didn't do it?
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