Tag Archives: hate crimes

This victim made ‘history’

Keith Adams was recalling to the Texas Tribune about his memories of a man named James Byrd Jr.

“He was a clown,” Adams said. “Always singing, always doing impersonations. He said he was going to make history.”

Well, Byrd made history all right. Three racist pigs chained him to the back of a pickup and dragged him about three miles down a remote Piney Woods road. Byrd’s body was decapitated and mutilated.

The reason for the incident? James Byrd was a Black man. His attackers sought him out as a target because of his race.

The crime put Jasper, Texas, on the map. It elevated the discussion of hate crimes to a national level. It was hoped — perhaps even thought — that Texas could lead the way out of the racist darkness that continues to shroud so many Americans.

Oh, no! Instead, Texas now can claim to be No. 1 nationally in the incidents of white supremacist incidents.

Two of the three men convicted of killing Byrd have been executed by the state. The third killer got a life sentence and will rot in prison for the rest of his time on Earth.

The Tribune reports: “We can’t just say that what happened to James is another day in Jasper,” said Louvon Byrd Harris, Byrd’s sister, who is 65 years old and the youngest of eight siblings. “As of now, we are on our own to keep his memory alive.”

James Byrd Jr. murder 25 years ago sparked hate crime laws | The Texas Tribune

Twenty-five has passed since James Byrd Jr. died at the hands of those monsters. Some things have changed, for the better. We have newer hate crimes laws on the books. Sadly, they haven’t deterred the haters from spreading their filth.

Just as sad to this Texas resident is that my state is leading the way down that path … straight into the sewer.


Gun carnage continues

Here we go … again.

A gunman walks onto a supermarket parking lot and opens fire. He takes his rage inside the store and continues firing. Ten people are dead, three more are injured.

The gunman is taken into custody and then we find out the loon has a history of racial animus against people of color. It happened in Buffalo, N.Y.

If the circumstances surrounding this act of utter insanity sound familiar to Texans, well, it should. It reminds me of the lunatic who drove from Allen — where our son and his family reside — to El Paso, where he opened fire at a Wal-Mart, killing several people.

In both instances, the alleged shooter is a young white man and the victims are African-American or Latino. Hate crime? Yeah. Looks as though we have another spasm of hate-inspired violence on our hands.

We’re going to hear the usual “thoughts and prayers” platitudes coming from politicians of all stripes. That isn’t nearly good enough to deal forthrightly with the issue of gun violence or with the issue of intense racial hatred.

The suspect in the Buffalo case reportedly intended to livestream his insanity. He was wearing tactical gear and was heavily armed with all manner of assault weapons and handguns. He drove more than three hours to Buffalo to kill those innocent shoppers.

I am at a stunned loss for words at this moment.

This much I know: I will not accept that we have become a nation where this kind of insanity is acceptable.


Anti-Asian hate crimes?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am a bit confused.

The U.S. Senate has just approved, in a stunning 94-1 vote, a bill that makes crimes against Asian-Americans a hate crime.

Now, to be clear I do not condone hate crimes of any form. What confuses me is why Congress feels the need to enact a bill that seeks to protect a single group of Americans.

If crimes are directed at individuals because of hate, isn’t there a way to write an all-inclusive bill that covers all Americans?

Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill | TheHill

Gay Americans are victims of hate crimes. Black Americans are, too. So are Latinos. Muslims have been targeted by criminals who hate them because of their religion. There once was a time when Catholics were hate crime victims. Now it’s Americans of Asian descent.

Do we single out all these groups for specific levels of hate crime or do we wrap them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that covers hate crimes of all types?

If someone can explain why we have this need to enact bills that target hate crimes against certain categories of Americans, I am all ears.

Oh, the single vote against the Asian-American hate crime bill? None other than Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the Republican who led the challenge to President Biden’s election in 2020.

Much worse than a ‘bad day’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s see how we should process this.

A lunatic walks into a massage parlor and shoots four people to death. He leaves that site, drives to another such location and kills four more individuals.

Six of the eight victims are of Asian descent. The suspect, who I won’t name in this blog, is arrested and tells the cops he wasn’t acting out of hate for Asian-Americans or against women. He blames it on having some sort of “sex addiction.”

Then up steps a senior officer with the the Cherokee County (Ga.) sheriff’s office to say the shooter was having a “bad day.”

Oh, no. When most reasonable folks are having a “bad day,” they might swill some booze, or perhaps gorge on some comfort food, or maybe argue with their spouse.

Do they shoot people to death? Do they commit one crime, then drive to another location and do some more of it? Good grief!

Sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker has since apologized for his remarks. Boy, howdy … he needs to say he’s sorry over and over. It’s a bit complicated, though, because Baker reportedly sported an anti-Asian t-shirt in a Facebook post.

Gulp! According to NBC News: “There are simply no words to describe the degree of human suffering experienced on Tuesday … in our community and in Atlanta,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a statement Thursday.

“I have known and served with Captain Baker for many years. His personal ties to the Asian community and his unwavering support and commitment to the citizens of Cherokee County are well known to many. Oh behalf of the dedicated women and men of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office we regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused.”

Sheriff’s officials ‘regret any heartache’ for ‘bad day’ comment after Georgia spa killings (msn.com)

Yes, Baker’s words caused “heartache.” They also seem to reveal a stunning lack of revulsion over the results of a horrible act.

Won’t ID latest loon

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this declaration: I am not going to publish the name of the latest lunatic to open fire on innocent victims.

I am going to maintain a policy I enacted some time ago.

A moron killed eight people in three locations in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were Asian-Americans. Most of them were women. It’s the latest horrifying hate crime in this country.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about hate crimes being committed against Asian-Americans, who have become the targets of haters in the wake of the pandemic that had its origin in China. The seriously sick logic then suggests that all people of Asian descent are responsible for the worldwide misery.

The shooter who allegedly committed this act might have been driven by that hatred.

I won’t identify him here. If you need to know his name, just look somewhere else.

Asian-Americans under attack!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What the hell is happening to this country?

The latest victims of hatred now belong to a group of people of Asian descent. We are witnessing a hideous outgrowth of our national fight against a killer virus.

The coronavirus had its beginning in China, or so we have been told. It spread around the world. It entered the United States either in late 2019 or early 2020.

To worsen it, we heard our nation’s president refer continually to the disease as the “China virus,” or making mocking references to something he would call the “kung flu.”

Have we heard anything from the now former president urging Americans to stop the attacks on Asian-Americans? Has Donald Trump raised a single objection to what is happening throughout the nation he once led as its president? No! He has said nothing.

Individuals are being captured, jailed and prosecuted for hate crimes against Asian-Americans. And why? Because they are being vilified only because a virus took root in a foreign land.

President Biden has condemned the hate crime wave. However, the hate crime perps aren’t listening to the current president; they cling to the rhetoric from the man he defeated in 2020. The MAGA mob needs to hear this condemnation from Donald Trump. Tragically, Trump doesn’t appear wired to say what he must to those who are attacking elderly people, inflicting physical harm or bullying individuals over social media.

This terrible spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans is no way to “make America great again.”

Spare me the lightning strike for speaking well of a looney bird

Oh, I am fearing a bolt of lightning killing me dead for saying something semi-supportive of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the East Texas loon who is prone to say the most outrageous things and cast the most outrageous congressional votes.

Gohmert was one of just four House members to vote against a bill that makes lynching a federal crime. It’s named after Emmitt Till, a young African American, who was lynched in the 1950s because he whistled at a white woman.

Gohmert’s objection to the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act is sound. He said the maximum 10-year penalty for a conviction in a lynching is far too light. Gosh, do ya think?

The House passed the bill 401-4. It was hailed universally as a get-tough federal law that makes lynching a federal crime.

I believe, though, that anyone convicted of such a crime in, say, Texas would be put to death. 

I am now left to wonder why this particular legislation — if it’s meant to make a harsh statement against hate crimes — carries such a mealy-mouthed, milquetoast punishment.

Here’s some good news about the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act: It now must go to the Senate, which now must approve the House version of the legislation.

How about this idea? The Senate ought to reject this measure, and then send it back to the House to apply a penalty for a heinous hate crime that matches what many states apply for the commission of such a crime.

‘El Paso Strong’ stands as a powerful rallying cry

A community in far West Texas is reeling. Twenty-two people died over the weekend at the hands of a madman who opened fire at a Wal-Mart shopping center.

I am struck by a couple of elements about that community’s response to what befell it.

One is the insistence among many public officials, community leaders and even some in the media that the shooter does not live in El Paso. They have pointed out repeatedly that the killer allegedly drove six-plus hours to El Paso from Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. He stopped at the Wal-Mart, reportedly sized up the situation and then re-entered the store to open fire.

Former U.S. Rep. and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who’s running for president, has insisted that El Paso is among the safest cities in the country. He has noted how its proximity to Juarez, Mexico, creates a metropolitan area of more than 2 million residents. He said over the weekend that the death toll at Wal-Mart exceeded the average annual murder rate in El Paso.

And so the beat goes on, with residents still looking for answers, for relief from their mourning and seeking to tell us that the killer isn’t one of them. He came from far away to do grievous harm.

The other is the “El Paso Strong” memorabilia that has cropped up. El Paso is trying to exhibit a common bond forged in tragedy. The same can be said of Dayton, Ohio, which experienced a similar tragedy later that day. A gunman killed nine people in the span of about 30 seconds before Dayton police killed him in a fire fight. The Dayton killer’s motives aren’t as discernible as the individual who allegedly killed those in El Paso.

The apparent hatred the El Paso killer has for Hispanic immigrants has helped bond the community together.

None of this cures the intense pain they are feeling in El Paso. However, if the sense of unity it brings to a grieving city helps it fight through its pain, then we all should join in declaring ourselves to be “El Paso Strong.”

Our hearts will take time to heal from the wounds delivered by the gunmen in El Paso and Dayton. We should stand with our fellow citizens — and with their neighbors — in solidarity.

Video games, Lt. Gov. Patrick? They’re to blame?

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the following, among other things, on “Fox & Friends”: “We’ve always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.”

He cited other causes as well, as did Donald Trump, the president of the United States.

Patrick, quite expectedly, didn’t attribute any of the hatred that erupted in El Paso over the weekend to the rhetoric that has come from the mouth of POTUS. Oh, no! Nothing there.

This is where Republicans’ defense of the president breaks down. Donald Trump does not own any responsibility for the way he talks about Hispanics, about African-Americans, about any people “of color.” Nor do many of those who support him.

Lt. Gov. Patrick has held up video games that teach young people “to kill” as a primary cause of what transpired in El Paso. To be fair, Patrick does call the massacre a “hate crime.”

Fine, so far. Why not take the next logical step, though, by identifying the catalyst that lit the spark of that hate and resulted in the slaughter of those innocent victims?

Our hearts are broken once again

Another day, another shooting in a house of worship.

I don’t intend to make this sound like a sort of “new normal.” But, damn, there are far too many of these tragedies occurring.

The latest spasm of violence occurred this weekend in Poway, Calif., in a synagogue. We can’t call this one a “mass slaughter,” given that one woman died; three others were injured.

The shooter appears to be someone who had been involved in an arson fire at a mosque in Escondido, another San Diego County community not far from Poway.

One of the particularly heartbreaking aspects of this tragedy is that the woman who died, Lori Gilbert Kaye, took bullets aimed at Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who suffered minor wounds in the attack. Kaye died later in a hospital, but she has emerged clearly as a heroic figure in this ghastly event. She shielded the rabbi from death. How does one come to grips with that?

The gunman was captured later by an off-duty Border Patrol agent, who drew praise from Donald Trump, who offered his “thoughts and prayers” for the congregants of the synagogue.

The shooter reportedly left a note that referenced the recent mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand after the mosque fire in Escondido.

Hate crimes are persisting in this country. Is this yet another demonstration of the intolerance that appears to have been given new life by the tone and tenor of the political rhetoric we are hearing around the country?

My goodness! We need to come to grips firmly and assuredly with this menace. This nation needs leadership from the very top of its political chain of command to commence that discussion.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t nearly enough.