You may remember the 2006 convictions of Pete Billiot and Dwayne Adam Racine for the attack of a black offshore worker, but it’s likely you don’t. The story received some national media coverage, but as is the case with most hate crimes, it wasn’t enough. We can all grimace when someone murders another person regardless of the motivation, but when the motivation is bias or prejudice because of the persons race, creed, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s particularly painful, particularly to members of that “suspect class.” Lots of thoughts race through the minds of those that could have been attacked and/or murder because of the same violent biases.
There have been many cases wherein those that commit such crimes get nothing more than a slap on the wrist. In fact, a recent case of murder resulted in a full acquittal of the charge against the admitted murderer simply because he was motivated to kill a queer man after the man hit on him.