It was October 6, 1998 when he was lured from the bar that cold, fateful night. His skull was smashed with a pistol butt as he was lashed to a fence, left for dead in near freezing temperatures. Nearly eighteen hours later he was found by passersby and taken to a hospital where we remained in a coma for several days until slowly slipping away. At his funeral, picketers carried signs saying, ‘God Hates Fags’ and Fags Deserve to Die.’ Matthew Sheppard is one of the thousands of victims who have suffered from the form of violence known as hate crimes. Someone commits a hate crime every hour. In the most recent data collection, 1999, a reported 7, 876 hate crimes were committed.
This is a national crisis that we cannot allow to continue. Today we will discuss the problems associated with this horrendous crime, causes for it, and finally steps we can take to prevent it. The current laws in effect regarding hate crimes are limited. Additionally, victims who experience a hate crime suffer much more traumatically than victims of other crimes do. Hate Crimes not only affect the individual, but their entire community as well. According to religious tolerance.
org, last updated November 2, 1999, ‘The current law does not protect three groups that are particularly vulnerable to physical attack: women, the disabled, and homosexuals.’ In New Jersey, one man with a disability, Eric age 24, was bound to a chair while several people allegedly burned him with cigarettes, choked and beat him and abandoned him in a forest. He was forced to drink urine and was warned that if he told police about the incident, his parents’ home would be burned down. While it is extremely disturbing that these groups are not protected, even the groups who are, cannot escape the pain and suffering caused by these horrendous acts. In an excerpt from Hate Crimes Are a Serious Problem by Karen McGill Lawson and Wade Henderson found in the book Hate Groups: Opposing Viewpoints, the authors state, ‘Because the intention is to hurt, maim, or kill, hate-motivated crimes are five times as likely as other crimes to involve assault. And these assaults are twice as likely as other assaults to cause injury and to result in hospitalization.’ According to FightForYourRights.
... white people think that these hate groups should be banned so they can not commit crimes anymore. Many hate groups in the United States use ... orientation a more serious crime than such an act would ... bias laws. These laws make a crime that is motivated by hatred based on the victims race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual ...
ni tv. com, accessed June 10, 2001, the individual victim of a hate crime is more likely to be severely injured in body and in spirit than the victim of an ordinary offense. On December 31, 1993 in Humboldt, NE, Brandon, 21, was allegedly raped and beaten by two men when they discovered he was a transgendered woman living as a man. One week later, fearing that they would be punished for the rape, they sought him out in a farmhouse where he was recovering from his injuries, shot him in the head, stabbed in the liver and murdered him. It is one thing to be victimized for wearing expensive jewelry but it is quite another to be victimized simply for who you are. Along with the impact on the individual, hate crimes send a message that certain groups are not welcome and unsafe in a particular community.
In a June 5, 2000 article of The Nation, the Human Rights Campaign is quoted as saying, ‘Criminal activity based on prejudice terrorizes not only victims but the entire community of which they are a part… Hate crimes effect more than just the individual attacked… (they) rend the fabric of society and fragment communities.’ After the Matthew Shepard murder in Laramie, WY, people in the town were awakened to the effects of how that hate crime effected the entire gay community. One resident was quoted as saying, ‘All kinds of people get killed everyday, but I’m not afraid to go down to the liquor store to buy a six- pack as some of these people were. That had a real impact on me. So, as we have seen, hate crimes are a hideous act in our society.
... concept people use subconsciously when initiating a hate crime towards a gay man or lesbian women. The group or individual feels it s wrong ... those for committing such crimes, but that doesn t prevent hate crimes from occurring. So until all prejudice are eliminated from society hate crimes will continue..
Not only do they effect the individual with long-lasting psychological effects, they effect the entire community as well. Now that we have looked at the effects of hate crimes, we will turn to some of the causes. A general amount of acceptance for hate, the number of hate groups throughout the country, and a lack of acceptance for differences have caused the growing number of hate crimes. In an excerpt taken from author Craig Horowitz’s article entitled The New Anti-Semitism, printed in the book Hate Crimes, he states, ‘What also seems to defy rational analysis is the degree to which expressions of hate and intolerance have become acceptable.’ He goes on to describe a pop culture in which hostility toward Jews, blacks, gays, women, and virtually anyone who is not like ‘us’ routinely goes unremarked upon.
Almost worse than this acceptance, are the hate groups established across the nation. Printed in an April 2 2001 article entitled Rising Tide of Hate found in US News and World Report, ‘The United States is home to 602 hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 10 percent more than 1999.’ The previously mentioned FightForYourRights. mtv. com tells of a man effected by these hate groups. On June 6, 1998 James Byrd, a black man, was offered a ride by three white men with suspected ties to the KKK and Aryan Nation. The men drove James to an isolated area where they kicked him unconscious, spray painted him black and proceeded to chain him by the ankles to their pick- up truck.
They dragged him to his death down a backwoods road, dismembering his body during the attack. While these hate groups are harmful, equally so is the lack of acceptance for difference taught to individuals in society. In a 1997 hate crime documentary, Licensed to Kill, one murder profile of Jay Johnson quotes him saying, ‘I was disgusted with what I was doing. And quite frankly, I just thought to myself, ‘If I shut these places[parks where gay men met each other] down, my temptation to do that would be less.’ Jay, stating he has gay preferences, was conflicted about his sexual orientation.
... groups, economic conditions, and racial stereotypes. Whatever the reason may be, one hate crime incident can result to domino effect. This is because a hate crime ... hate crime (Uniform Crime Reports, “Hate Crime Statistics,” n. d. ). One of the brutal cases of hate crime within these periods occurred in 1998, when a disabled man ...
He felt the church around him labeled his desires immoral and worthy of death. He felt it was a constructive worthy thing to do. Jay succeeded in killing two gay men and wounding one before being arrested. In a society where we constantly allow the degradation of certain groups, supported by the numerous hate groups and a fear of being different~ this problem grows. Now that we have discussed the problem and certain causes, we ‘I discuss steps that each of us can take to help solve it. Although we cannot remove hate from society we can help this problem by making others aware of just how serious it is, teaching tolerance to children, and finally pushing for passage of extending the current federal law concerning hate crimes.
A January 10, 2001 article of The New York Times titled Against Hate Crimes, speaks of one networks social initiative, ‘MTV will pre-empty all of it’s regular programming for 17 hours starting tonight… as it scrolls the names of victims of hate crimes, and the stories behind the crimes.’ MTV ran commercial-free for these 17 hours, costing an estimated 2 million dollars. It is campaigns like these, which will give a face to this crime and make people realize the growing need for action against such a violation. While awareness is one factor that can help this, teaching tolerance is another. In Morris Dees Speech, Our Nation is Greater Because of Our Diversity, published in Vital Speeches, he talks about one such teaching method called Teaching Tolerance at the Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘We teach young people in the second and third grade the hurt and pain from being singled out and identified as being different.’ He goes on to discuss the importance of this project discussing how intolerance for little comments such as ‘four eyes’, build to big bits of intolerance that later can lead to horrible hate crimes in the country.
By accessing the website spleen ter. org, you can find out how to receive more information on teaching tolerance in schools. While teaching children the effects of such hate is important, making a difference in federal law is as well. The website. org last updated March 27, 2001 announces ‘…
the introduction of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA), formerly the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.’ The LLEEA will strengthen current federal hate crime legislation by making it easier for the federal government to assist states in handling hate crime violence and extending federal protection to cover hate crimes that occur due to an individuals gender, sexual orientation, or disability. You can take action by writing to your Congress now, telling them to enact this legislation. You can write to your Congresswomen, Barbara Boxer at 112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510 and Dianne Feinstein at 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510. By simply accessing this website, Washington DC, 20510. By simply accessing this website, . com, you can enter your zip code and sign your name to a composed letter that will be sent to both Congresswomen.
... Determining Hate Crimes? Hate based on race, religion and sexual orientation exist within any cultural rich societies. When this type of hate fuels a ... the media, and often debates of whether or not a crime should be attributed with hate are ... is called a hate crime; a topic which the American public is seriously concerned about. It has been a widely discussed subject on ...
As you can see, through awareness, tolerance and support of current legislation, there are a number of ways to get involved. The last figures of studies show a reported 7, 876 hate crimes. While these statistics are alarming, they are only a numerical representation and cannot ever convey the fear, sorrow, and torment suffered by the human beings and communities against whom the crimes were committed. This is a serious issue that effects us all. Living in the most diverse society on earth makes each of us members of one or another minority, either racial, religious, ethnic, cultural, national origin, sexual. We are all vulnerable to this type of attack Today we have looked at the problem known as hate crimes and the varied causes which keep it in existence.
We have also discussed some solutions to this act of hate. Daily throughout the world people like Matthew Shepard are tortured, brutalized and murdered simply because of their beliefs, their race, their physical state or their sexuality. Equally guilty as the people who commit these crimes are those who remain silent. It is up to each of us to take a stand before you or someone you know falls victim to one of these crimes..