Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hate crimes are everywhere.

Victim of a hate crime.

I'm digressing today from our regularly scheduled updates to discuss some disturbing trends in our city and our country at large. This may shock many of you. Hate crimes are alive and well here. The same kinds that happen in communities around the world. We are not immune to the ugly sides of humanity. Atrocities are committed here regularly; the news might not have reached you where you live.

There, I said it. Media organizations publicize a small fraction of the dark side of our seemingly friendly, everything-is-lollipops-and-sunshine way of life. I'm all for engaging in open discussions on various topics, especially those that make folks uneasy. I welcome opportunities to hear and read opposing viewpoints, whether I agree with them or not. The world would be a much better place if we closed our mouths and listened to each other first. I might not agree with someone's beliefs, but I do have enough respect to try to understand someone else's viewpoint. We can all learn from each other if we don't let fear take control of our ability to reason.

What am I talking about, you wonder? Well, a couple of things lately proved to me that there truly are ignorant people out there who preach intolerance which in turn breeds hate. The first was a discussion I overheard concerning a wedding. A couple was griping about an upcoming wedding they were invited to and they really didn't want to go. One of the betrothed was a good, loyal friend of the family for many years. As the discussion continued, they finally admitted they didn't want to go because the couple was gay, but they felt that they had to go just to keep up appearances. They went on an anti-gay tirade as their strict religious convictions are 100% anti-gay, and in the next breath wondered if they should feign an illness as an excuse not to attend.

I thought to myself, if this wedding was in conflict with your religious views, why put on the act and pretend that you're OK with it by attending? I have more respect for someone who sticks to her beliefs, than a poser putting on an act. Talk about hypocrites! I have no idea if they actually went or not.

Now, I have known these people most of my life. They have always been good to me and I thought were good natured. They aren't evil people. However, they are like so many others here. Intolerant. Ignorant. Fearful. Narrow minded. Hypocritical.

I prefer to distance myself from these types of people. Let's just say that my circle of close friends and family is pretty small, but that's fine with me.

So, this brings me to the main point. "A man is in hospital for reconstructive surgery after being attacked with bricks early Saturday morning in what his family calls a hate crime." The full story is here: Read

I am not surprised that this happened. Our city is ripe with hatred and intolerance. No amount of religious convictions can justify beating someone within an inch of his life. Hate crimes are everywhere. This hate crime in a small British Columbia community was captured on video and posted on YouTube:

"Alleged racist attack trio appear in Courtenay court
By Colleen Dane - Comox Valley Record

The three men accused of assaulting Jay Phillips in an attack in Courtenay caught on camera and broadcast on YouTube, made their first court appearance Thursday.

Adam David Huber, 24, Robert William Rodgers, 25, and David Samuel White, 19, all appeared briefly in Courtenay provincial court regarding their charges of assault.

With more information to review, their next appearance was set for Aug. 20.

The assault caught international media attention as an apparent act of racism, with three white men attacking the black Phillips.

Phillips, who's used the incident to raise the issue of racism in the Comox Valley, attended the court appearance.

"It brings back all the memories and it was difficult," said Phillips afterwards. "But I gotta keep remembering that this is the process."

Despite the fact that first appearances are often very routine, Phillips said he felt it was important that he be there.

"I do not want them to forget what they did, who they did this to," said Phillips. "This cannot happen again."

Two of the accused ran out a side door to the courthouse to avoid media waiting out front after their appearance."

These are just two recent examples of the hate and intolerance that plagues our nation's communities. Hate is ugly and it's alive and well here. Hate mongerers are cowards. It's not all lollipops and sunshine.