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Port: We are seeing the roots of hate take hold in North Dakota murder case

How do people become twisted by hate and bigotry? It starts from an abyss filled with ineffable pain.

Robert Paulsen carrying the urn for his 14-year-old daughter Jupiter Paulsen during the memorial service in 2021.jpg
Robert Paulsen carries the urn for his 14-year-old daughter Jupiter Paulsen during the memorial service in 2021.
C.S. Hagen / The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — I'm sure that many of you, like me, have watched disturbing videos of racist demonstrations, have seen the men, women, and even children holding signs with bigoted slogans, and wondered how it was that people could have their minds and their hearts turned to hatred.

North Dakota may be getting an up-close view of how that evolution happens.

Jupiter Paulsen was 14 years old on June 4, 2021, when she was attacked in front of a strip mall in Fargo while skateboarding from her father's home to her mother's home. The brutal assault, which left her body with more than 20 stab wounds, lasted some 30 minutes.

Jupiter succumbed to her wounds days after the attack.

It was a grievous loss for her friends and family.

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The man authorities say committed the crime, Arthur Prince Kollie, 23 at the time of his arrest, is making his way through the criminal justice system. He had entered an Alford plea — that's where a defendant doesn't admit to breaking the law but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict — but has since been allowed to withdraw it.

A trial is set to commence in September.

Watching this process unfold, and no doubt feeling an anguish that, if we're lucky, the rest of us will never understand, Jupiter's father, Robert Paulsen, has announced that he's teaming up with a Fargo-based "pro-white" activist named Pete Tefft who has been sitting at his side in court.

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"It's going to be painful, but Republicans can't just turn away from Trump. Republicans have to lead their people away from Trumpism and the morass of conspiracy-addled grievance and unvarnished racism it has become," Rob Port writes.

“My daughter Jupiter deserves justice. Arthur Kollie deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. During today’s hearing, it caused me great pain when I realized our system is as hateful as the man who murdered my daughter,” Paulsen told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead . “That’s why I’ve decided to, with the help of local pro-white advocates, file Fargo anti-white hate crime and bias reports not only against Arthur Kollie for what he did to my daughter, but also against Judge (John) Irby, the Cass County (District) Court, and every individual and institution that is currently terrorizing my family.”

How do people become twisted by hate and bigotry?

It starts from an abyss filled with ineffable pain.

Mr. Kollie is Black, if you hadn't guessed that by now. Jupiter was white, and her father is white. The skin colors of the victim and the accused shouldn't matter. Except people like Mr. Paulsen, and Mr. Tefft, and a majority of the Fargo City Commission, say it does.

Fargo is one of two North Dakota communities that, bowing to modern political convention, have implemented a hate crime ordinance that allows authorities to layer on an additional charge onto a criminal proceeding if authorities can prove a crime was motivated by racial bigotry.

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The policy, and others like it, insert fraught racial politics into places it needn't be.

The misery of those touched by violent crime shouldn't be politicized in that way.

We're all humans, and sometimes humans do awful things to one another, and it doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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