Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter June 5, 2001
Many of you may have been wondering whether we'd stopped doing these things! As you see, we haven't, but you'd not be wrong to think so.
In March, we had to make some changes in sharing the work associated with the Stop Hate 2000 website, and some of the technical ins and outs got dropped along the way. As a result, it seems our April and May newsletters got on our website, but not out to our contact list. It has a little to do with the delay of this one. So, if you've wondered what happened to us, that's basically the story. We are all blushing furiously!
We blush all the more because we're a little late for one announcement. Last month, the Arts and Entertainment Network showed an episode of Investigative Reports called "Matthew Shepard: Death in the High Desert". It has been reared once since, and it may be again. Watch your local listings. We must warn you that there are some very graphic scenes in it, including some pictures of Matthew after the beating. They are not pretty. It has a lot of value in showing how the investigation changed the minds of the officers who conducted it, and there's a few comments by Mrs. Shepard as well.
Some of you, particularly those of you outside North America, may not have access to this program. However, it is possible to obtain video tapes from the A & E network. The network's general site is:
Which you might try if we've transcribed the more specific URL
wrongly. We hope it's:
In April, we reported that two more movies about Matthew and his death were under production. We have a little more to report about both.
HBO's effort is a television adaptation of "The Laramie Project", the stage play which has been favorably received by the people involved in the events surrounding Matthew's death. This, as many of you will recall, is based on interviews done in Laramie and the surrounding area shortly afterwards, and is simply an edited version of those interviews. We have not yet received word as to a date of showing, but will try and keep you informed.
The Shepard family has been working with NBC on "The Matthew Shepard Story". This, it now seems, will air in October, 2001, approximately the third anniversary of Matthew's death.
We would also like to take the chance to ask you to look at a number of new links we put up on our site in March and April. The issue of school violence touches so many things that we felt compelled to pay more attention to them. We hope these prove useful. Also, in the hope of looking for ways to do some positive good, as opposed to merely lamenting the present state of things.
At times, we've held forth strongly in contending that there is a hate of neglect and indifference as well as positive moral or physical violence. Remembering that, we sadly note the death of Gilles Michael Moreau, 16, of Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada on June 10. Gilles was another small man, (five-foot two - 1.57 meters) who was hopelessly lost without his glasses. He was quite intelligent, but had severe problems concentrating, and was in a special program as a result. He also very much wanted to fit in, so, if he was an object of bullying (and he was), he'd never tell. Rather, he'd go along with it, as if he enjoyed it.
Gilles wasn't directly killed. He and a number of the young people in his school went out for a traditional rural event at the end of the school year. They went out to a park by a small creek, and proceeded to drink as heavily as they possible could. By 11:30pm on Saturday night, Gilles was having great difficulty in standing up, a point about which he was making a good few jokes. The party went on for quite a while afterwards. It seems that everybody broke up in different directions, leaving Gilles to find his own way home. Sometime before 7am, he tried. It seems he passed out, and slipped into the creek. He showed no signs of trying to get out. The creek was about 10 inches (25cm) wide and 10 inches (25cm) deep. In effect, Gilles was forgotten to death.
So, to repeat, sometimes the violent tragedies grow out of the same attitudes which create non-violent ones. And the attitudes aren't necessarily malign. They may just be forgetful.
We're sometimes asked whether there's any statistics about bias crimes. It's hard to say much because the statistics are murky in the extreme. Their real message sometimes is the exact opposite of what they seem to mean. Thus, police and hate watch groups reported more incidents of hate crimes of every variety in 200 than in the previous year. Happily, fewer resulted in death. But more non-fatal ones seemed to have occurred.
Or did they? The hate watch count isn't very different. The police count is much higher. There's more than a passing suspicion that this is because victims are now inclined to report them more often. If this because there's a sense that the authorities inspire greater confidence that they'll take them seriously, then we have actually uncovered a Good Thing. Which is it? Well, you tell us. The news commentaries around the figures aren't the most helpful. Small blame to the reporters: the compilers necessarily have their own take on what the figures mean, and reporters are going to take them at face value. If you've ever tried to get a newspaper out daily, you'll understand!
Or, we blush to say, a monthly newsletter which threatens to be semi-occasional.
Categorizing the nature of hate crimes is another messy one. For example, is anti-Semitism a religious bias or an racial one? When dealing with crimes involving sexual orientation, it's doubly hard to come up with a figure. They seem to be very much higher in areas where there are large and identifiable GLBT communities. That, of course, may be because they are more likely to be reported there. However, there's also a lot of anecdotal evidence that gay-bashers go where they expect to find gays. That's particularly so where gay-bashing is something of a rite of passage for young males.
The best we've been able to do is a report by the provincial government of British Columbia. It looked at the proportions of hate crimes by category in the Metropolitan Vancouver area, and concluded that 28% were racially inspired, 16% religiously inspired, and 15% arising from sexual orientation. That leaves 41% for other causes, no doubt including some combination of the other three. As Vancouver has the same status in Canada that San Francisco has in the United States, it's surprising that the sexual orientation figure is so much lower than the 45% reported in San Francisco. We can only suggest that the difference arises from the fact that Vancouver City contains about 25% of its metropolitan area. Perhaps within Vancouver City, the figure is pretty close to San Francisco's.
We're writing this at the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, when minds are turning towards holidays, or, at any rate, not going at quite the speed we do in winter. The opposite is true in the Antipodes, of course, where the days are as short as they are long north of the Equator. However, we have summer, rather than winter on OUR minds, so we most likely will be writing you at the beginning of August (we hope!).
So a pleasant summer to all in the north, and the hope for longer days to all in the south.
The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team
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