I'd say this article wins the award for Most All Around Ugly. The event, the parallels drawn, and the interpretation offered.
Note the ominous phrasing of "influenced by" below. I wonder what else those young men were influenced by, and what the respective weight of those influences was. People are influenced by anything they come into contact with. There is an enormous—enormous— difference between influence and causation, as the article suggests, and as countless morally indignant groups will surely maintain. (I also love the sneeringly sanctimonious statement at the end from the Bumfights website).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- One of several teenagers who beat a homeless man to death was influenced by videos featuring homeless people brawling and performing dangerous stunts, according to a television interview transcript.
Jeffery Spurgeon, 19, expressed his first public remorse for the May 2005 killing in the interview that will air Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes." It was conducted from a Jasper penitentiary where Spurgeon is serving an up to 35-year sentence.
Spurgeon said he and the others beat Michael Roberts, a frail 53-year-old homeless man who lived in the woods, "for fun." He said they were emulating scenes from "bum-rushing videos," according to the transcript. He mentioned "Bumfights," a video series available online, as a favorite.
Roberts died after three separate attacks with sticks, fists and logs. Justin Stearns, 19, Christopher Scamahorn, 16, and Warren Messner, 17, also were convicted and are serving prison terms from 22 to 35 years. Phi Huynh, 16, the fifth member of the group charged in connection with the attacks on Roberts, is awaiting trial.
Neither Spurgeon nor the others explained why they attacked Roberts during a weeklong sentencing proceeding in April, and Spurgeon's attorney Mitch Wrenn said the "60 Minutes" interview surprised him.
"I don't remember anything about bum fighting coming up," he said.
The videos depict homeless men and women engaged in humiliating, self-destructive acts, including ripping out teeth and ramming themselves into doors.
According to the Bumfights Web site, the videos are satire meant to call attention to the problems of poverty and violence.