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 he 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, 2014, a reported 17, 876 hate crimes were committed. This ...view middle of the document...
And these assaults are twice as likely as other assaults to cause injury and to result in hospitalization." According to FightForYourRights.nitv.com, accessed June 10, 2014, 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, 2014 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. 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 2013 article entitled Rising Tide of Hate found in US News and World Report, "The United States is home to 902 hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 20 percent more than 2003." The previously mentioned FightForYourRights.mtv.com tells of a man effected by these hate groups.
On June 6, 1998 James Byrd, a...