Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Violent hate crime in Indiana... why no coverage?

UPDATE: Make that three suspects (not two;) and some coverage out of Indy media. This story is also making its way through the Internet via Digg.

Three teenagers in Jackson County Indiana said they were so freaked out when 'propositioned' by Aaron Hall on April 12th, that they proceeded to beat the 100 pound, 5'4 man for hours, using their fists, boots, dragging him down a staircase while his head slammed into each step, and then throwing him in a ditch and leaving. Aaron managed to crawl out of the ditch and out into a nearby field, where he died, alone and naked.

Sound familiar? A bit like the story of Matthew Shephard? Then why no coverage outside of Jackson County, Indiana?

Is the lack of coverage due, perhaps, to allegations that Hall is gay? Or that no one is sure that these allegations are even true?

You see, the story is even stranger than it appears. Some contend that the teenagers made up the story about having been propositioned so as to use the 'gay panic defense,' in hopes of getting a more lenient sentence. Apparently the thinking was that exposure to homosexuality is so frightening that well... heck, anyone would go crazy and beat the hell out of a guy for hours, then toss him in a ditch to die.

A number of Hoosier bloggers have wondered at the lack of local coverage. In the interest of promoting this case, I thought I'd bring it out here for your perusal. This is a horrific crime, and while I don't promote the kind of overdone sensationalism (carried on for weeks at a time) evidenced on CNN and Fox News, this man's death should draw some notice. It should serve as a warning, at the very least. Whether Hall was or wasn't gay isn't the point. The fact that the teenagers used this as their defense... speaks volumes.

This from the Bloomington Alternative... one paper that did cover the story:
Crothersville is a town of 1,500, located midway between Louisville and Indianapolis just off Interstate 65 in the southeast corner of Jackson County.

According to the U.S. Census, it is 97.6 percent white, and 75.4 percent of its residents 25 or older have high school educations. The national average is 80.4.

It's not the sort of place that makes big news often. One of the more recent times was in 2005 when a 10-year-old Crothersville girl named Katie Collman was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered.

"Ironically, it was Terry Gray, Garrett Gray's father, who served as the Collman family spokesman during the investigation and court proceedings," the Times reported.

The Collman case was big news. Indianapolis Star-columnist-turned-Internet-blogger Ruth Holliday noted on May 8 that it "had a lot of twists and turns." A search of the Star Web site turns up more than a dozen stories.

Yet the Star has left the Hall murder to the Jackson County media, the never-to-be-trusted Indianapolis and Louisville television stations and bloggers like Advance Indiana's Gary Welsh, who has covered the story in depth and, along with Holliday, has questioned the lack of major media attention.

A search of the Star Web site for Aaron Hall returned zero stories.

On May 3, Welsh, who is an advocate for hate crimes legislation in Indiana, wrote a column titled "Why Won't the Star Cover The Hate Crime Killing of Aaron Hall?" He noted that the paper "has been silent" about the Hall case but that editorial writer RiShawn Biddle argued in his May 1 Star blog that a hate crimes law would not have prevented Hall's murder.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes you wonder. We've been covering the story at http://www.hatecrimesbill.org.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Foxhunter said...

Oops. I think I posted in the story above by accident. Sorry.

So. I'm a blogger over at USAToday and I linked to your story at dailykos.

A reporter named Mike Carney at USAToday wrote me and said they were looking into the story for reporting tomorrow (June 13). Probly just online... but who knows.

Dunno where/when, but it could get attention.

Please only use my screen name if you mention me for any updates; I've had problems with bloggers abusing my email/real identity in the past once they got hold of it.


Fox Hunter

6:57 PM  

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