Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter May 10, 2002
Although both have now passed, the end of April and the beginning of May bring us to two anniversaries which we commemorate regularly. April 20 is the anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School, and May 8 is the anniversary of Bill Clayton's suicide.
We would once again draw your attention to the website Bill's mother, Gabi, maintains, and which has been one of our sites we've been linked to from the start. The direct links, and the less direct links through our memorial page, probably are the most valuable services we provide. Just to remind you, though, here's the link:
Bill's story is a particularly significant one, since he suffered from two quite different forms of hate and violence. The proximate cause was a gay bashing he and a (straight) friend received, but he was also severely hurt by a gay man's belief that the young are fair sexual game. Hate is something which can occur in any group, even persecuted ones, and it can take a great many violent forms.
The tragedy at Columbine High School was far too well commemorated at Gutenberg High School in Erfurt, Germany. Whether the student who did the shootings thought of Columbine will never be known. He kept so much to himself that there was no predicting he would act the way he did. Apart from having another 16 victims to recall (the gunman, 13 teachers and 2 students), however, we do have a hero to take note of. Rainer Heise, who had taught the young man history, looked him fully in the face and said, "You can shoot me, but look me in the eye when you do it." And the young man couldn't do it, Mr. Heise was able to confine him in a closet, and the young man shot himself. Mr. Heise seems to have saved a great many lives other than his own.
On our message board, we noted the telecast of an A.& E. documentary on the Columbine tragedy. It seems to have had the unusual quality of displeasing nearly every side. It was an effort by a forensic panel to get into the minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold: it's a group which has had useful insights in other such cases. The effort itself would displease many, appearing to pay little attention to the victims, and recalling two people best forgotten. Many others would have been displeased with the outcome: an admitted limitation on the exercise is the ongoing litigation in the courts. For good and obvious reasons, a number of the best sources would have been highly unwilling to talk to anybody but their lawyers. At the same time, a lot of the evidence taken by the authorities is in some limbo until the courts wend their way through these cases.
On balance, the effort was worth making, whatever may be made of its result. Unless we can make the effort to get into the minds of people like that, we exclude a lot of chances to prevent tragedies before they happen. The documentary, in all probability will eventually become available through the network's website. As may be recalled from one of our earlier newsletters noted that its documentary on the murder of Matthew Shepard and the subsequent trials can be obtained there now. That last one is very grim viewing, so be forewarned. The network's general site is:
Which you may want to use if this more specialized link doesn't work:
A much larger and more substantial effort to understand the mind of another type of hate has come to our attention. This is a book by Kathleen Blee, "Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement", published by the University of California Press. It explores various white supremacist movements, and is a hard, thoughtful look at a number of previous assumptions about their membership and ideas. It's also quite disturbing. Professor Blee has, not too surprisingly, received quite a few death threats. At least one review link has come to our attention. It's:
It's been said that one of the causes of the Columbine High School tragedy had been bullying in the school. It's a problem which has attracted more attention as a result, and rightly so. A lot of the causes of bullying prove to be similar the causes of hate crimes. Some incidents in the past month reminded us that, even if there isn't more of it than there used to be, it remains a grave problem.
On April 8, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Emmet Fralick shot himself, leaving a note telling his parents that he could no longer stand being bullied. He was the target of an extortion gang run by a 15 year old girl.
Some time ago, we mentioned the death of Damilola Taylor, a ten year old boy who had migrated from Nigeria to London, England. Slight and studious, he had been repeatedly beaten up by various neighborhood toughs. Four were charged, and all were acquitted. It was originally supposed to be a gay-bashing, although there were a lot of other things involved. As it now works out, the exact way and reason Damilola died won't be known. The accused flatly denied doing anything to him, and there the prosecution wasn't able to demonstrate that it was an accident beyond a reasonable doubt.
It adds some point to the work of another site just brought to our attention, which works on the whole issue of bullying:
This is a more positive note to end on: while we lament these things, we still try to find ways to prevent them in the future.
The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team
Back Issues of Newsletter
You can subscribe to the Stophate Newsletter. Our Newsletter will help you keep up to date with information about hate crimes.
Email Us Your Name and type "Subscribe" in the in the Subject Line.