Cultural Revolutions

What Are Hate Crimes?

Hate crimes—what are they? In Newport, Rhode Island, a mixed-race couple complained that threats from their white neighbors had driven them from their home. Generous contributions from strangers helped the family to find a new place and to pay the rent. Local police, however, were suspicious from the first and eventually charged Tisha Anderson with plotting her own hate crime. On February 7, Miss Anderson pleaded no contest to charges of filing false police reports. Even if the threats had been genuine, they would have been only words, but if the hate-speech perpetrators had been found, there would have been a public inquisition on the level of the Salem Witch Trials.

At virtually the same time the Newport farce was drawing to a close, a grimmer drama was being played out in Addison, Illinois, where a pregnant Debra Evans was brutally murdered along with her ten-year-old daughter, Samantha. The killers slashed open Miss Evans' belly and removed the baby alive. The next day, her seven-year-old son Joshua was killed, but they spared the life of another child in the house. Charged in the slaying were neighbor Jacqueline Annette Williams, her boyfriend Fedell Caffey, and her cousin Laverne Ward.

According to police, Jacqueline Williams was unable to have children and plotted the murder with her boyfriend. She apparently had been feigning pregnancy for some time in order to make the arrival of a newborn more plausible....

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