Last Tuesday, a 22-year-old white supremacist named Gabriel Laskey was sentenced for his role in a hateful attack on Temple Beth Israel, a Jewish synagogue in Eugene, Oregon.
A few years earlier, Laskey, his brother Jacob, and two other men had thrown rocks etched with swastikas through the stained glass windows of the temple, right in the middle of religious services. You can just imagine how the peaceful worshippers felt.
Itâs just one recent example of a hate crimeâtraditional offenses like vandalism, arson, or even murder motivated by various forms of prejudice that not only impact individuals and families but often escalate fear and tension across communities. . . .
Hereâs an overview of the findingsâ¦and you can delve into the full report for many more details:
Incidents and Offenses: A total of 7,722 incidents and 9,080 offenses were reported by participating agencies in 2006.
Offense Type: Nationwide, 5,449 offenses were classified as crimes against persons, with intimidation (46 percent) and simple assaults (31.9 percent) accounting for most crimes. There were three murders during the year. Of the 3,593 crimes against property, the overwhelming majority (81 percent) were acts of vandalism or destruction.
Offenders: Of the 7,330 known offenders, 58.6 percent were white and 20.6 percent were black.
Victims: A total of 9,652 victims were identified. More than halfâ52.0 percentâwere targeted because of their race.
Locations: Most incidents, 31 percent, took place near or at homes and residences. Another 18 percent occurred on highways or streets.
I don’t know whether to feel relieved that the increase was so small or horrified that the rate remains high.
What kind of person throws rocks at a shul or hangs nooses on a black family’s tree? No one I know, that’s for sure. No one I think I know, anyhow.