One parish suffered 3 fires at 3 different churches over the course of 10 days. A fourth church fire, located several hours away, may be connected.
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Three historically black churches have burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, where officials said they had found “suspicious elements” in each case. The officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, or the possibility that the fires are related.
“There is clearly something happening in this community,” State Fire Marshal H. Browning said in a statement on Thursday. “That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is.”
The three fires occurred on March 26, Tuesday and Thursday in St. Landry Parish, north of Lafayette. A fourth fire, a small blaze that officials said was “intentionally set,” was reported on Sunday at a predominantly black church in Caddo Parish, about a three-hour drive north.
“But just as we haven’t connected the three in St. Landry, we haven’t connected the one in Caddo,” said Ashley Rodrigue, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, on Friday.
Local officials said that they were still investigating the fires, and did not say if they knew of any suspects, a motive, or whether racism was an element.
“There certainly is a commonality, and whether that leads to a person or persons or groups, we just don’t know,” Mr. Browning said at a news conference on Thursday.
It's becoming more difficult by the day to recognize the nations we live in as the same ones we grew up in. Men and women, terrified of their lot in life becoming smaller than it is, fueled by the hateful rhetoric of opportunistic shit-heel politicians, look to minorities and the less fortunate to blame for problems that we as a society have all had a hand in. Skapegoating and the hate that comes with it has reemerged with a startling momentum. Even nations once known for their tolerance have proven susceptible to it its vile, slobbering charms.
From The CBC:
The number of police-reported hate crimes reached an all-time high in 2017, largely driven by incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish and black people, according to Statistics Canada data released Thursday.
The federal agency said hate crimes have been steadily climbing since 2014, but shot up by some 47 per cent 2017, the last year for which data was collected. In total, Canadian police forces reported 2,073 hate crimes – the most since 2009, when data became available.
The largest number of hate crimes on record, since Canadians started to keep records of it. Graffiti on the walls of places of worship. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia haunting our children's schools and out places of business. People are dying for fear of the other.
The CBC is quick to point out that such crimes "...account for 0.1 per cent of the more than 1.9 million non-traffic crimes reported by Canadian police services in 2017." They want you to know that Statistics Canada thinks that the increase in hate crimes might be because more people are reporting them. Read the rest
On October 24, Gregory Bush was said to have opened fire at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky on 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, shooting him in the back of the head. 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones? She was shot by Bush as well. Both victims were black. According to NPR, it was announced this week that the racist shit stain has been justly indicted on hate crimes and fire arms charges by a federal grand jury.
The 51-year-old is charged with "shooting and killing two victims because of their race and color; and for shooting at a third man because of his race and color," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman in the Western District of Kentucky.
Minutes before the ambush Bush was also captured on surveillance video trying to enter the First Baptist Church — a predominantly African-American congregation — during a service but locked doors prevented him from entering.
So, in addition to being a bigot, Bush was also a coward: he decided to take out his hate on a group of unsuspecting congregants who'd come together to worship their God. Locked doors? Better go and shoot an old man in the back of the head and an unsuspecting, unarmed woman as she walks across a parking lot. But, you know, not a white dude, because "whites don't shoot whites."
I'm so sick of reading and writing about this sort of shit. Justice cannot come swiftly enough.
Image: by Blogtrepreneur - Legal Gavel, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest
Amid a growing number of lethal anti-Jewish hate attacks, including a gun massacre at a synagogue that left 13 dead, a man shouts “Heil Trump” in a crowded theater. Audience members told a reporter they believed they were about to die in a mass shooting. Read the rest
In news that will not surprise anyone who is Black, Latinx, Jewish, Muslim, queer, or a member of any other group targeted by hateful idiots, hate crimes in America are way up under Trump. Says who? FBI. Read the rest
The Auschwitz Memorial Archives preserves 38,916 photos of registered prisoners: 31,969 photos of men & 6,947 photos of women. These photographs were taken from the first quarter of 1941 until spring 1943. In total, 400,000 people were registered as prisoners of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The math on this suggests that we've got photos of less than 10% of the prisoners that were held, murdered, or, if they were very lucky, survived the camp. The lives of each and every one of these individuals deserves to be honored. In collaboration with photo restoration and colorization specialist Marina Amaral and the Auschwitz Memorial Museum, I'm working on a project that aims to do exactly that.
Faces of Auschwitz is a project that will tell the story of each of the 38,916 registered prisoners that we have photos of, based on what records of their lives we have. Each week, we'll talk about the story of another prisoner of Auschwitz. Some will have survived. A few managed to escape. Most of those we profile will have died behind the barbed wire perimeter of the concentration camp. Marina's talents in photo restoration and colorization will breathe new life into the fading pictures of prisoners, bringing their faces into the modern era, while at the same time, ensuring that the colors used in the process are historically accurate.
While the Auschwitz Concentration Camp is infamously known for its role in Nazi Germany's plans to eradicate European Jewry, other groups were also tortured and senselessly murdered inside the camp’s walls as well: members of Poland's leadership, intellectuals, clergy and resistance activists, Sinti & Roma, Soviet POWs, Jehovah witnesses and homosexuals. Read the rest
As a child in 1942, Mireille Knoll escaped the capture of Jews by police in occupied France during The Vélodrome d'Hiver roundup. The majority of those arrested during the roundup were sent to Auschwitz, where they were killed. Her evasion of France's Nazi puppet police force during the second world war allowed her to survive the horrors of the Holocaust, unlike so many of her neighbors and relations. But she couldn't escape racism. Her time on earth came to an end this past week after she was stabbed 11 times and left to die in her burning apartment, in Paris, France. She was 85 years old.
According to the The Washington Post, Knoll's murder has French journalists and Jewish advocacy groups concerned that, given the area and brutality in which her life was ended, there could be reasonable grounds for the murder to be considered a hate crime. As in North America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes have been on the rise in France. In the past year, bigots and fascists who were once too afraid to show their hate in public have made their way into the mainstream, emboldened by the politics of our times.
From the Washington Post:
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Jewish advocacy groups were quick to put the case within the context of rising anti-Semitism in France and to point out the similarities to another high-profile case being investigated as anti-Semitic: the April 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jewish physician and kindergarten teacher who was beaten in her apartment and then thrown out a window.
Transgender teen Ally Lee Steinfeld was stabbed in the genitals, had her eyes gouged out, and was burned to a charred crisp. But she was not the victim of a hate crime, say the police and prosecutor.
Steinfeld, 17, was allegedly attacked by her girlfriend and two teenagers in an assault in Cabool, Texas Country, Missouri which left her with her eyes gouged out, court records said.
Steinfeld, who was born as Joseph Matthew Steinfeld, had been missing for a month before investigators found her charred remains in a bag dumped in a chicken coop.
It came weeks after a post on social media site Instagram where she described herself as "mtf", or male-to-female, later adding: “I am proud to be me I am proud to be trans.”
But the authorities insisted Steinfeld’s murder was not motivated by her sexuality or gender.
Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr told news agency AP: "I would say murder in the first-degree is all that matters. That is a hate crime in itself."
If all murders are hate crimes, none of them are. If you can thank the Internet for one thing this summer, it's the fact it might force at least a perfunctory prosecution out of this gentleman. Read the rest
The FBI today reported that hate attacks on Muslims in America are surging, as “a wave of racially charged assaults, graffiti attacks and other episodes” sweeps the country in the days since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential elections.
Trump finally said something about the spike in racist attacks by whites on people of color during a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on Sunday night. Read the rest
Anthony Fera (above), president of Houston’s MidStar Energy LP, was charged with assault for allegedly hitting Andy Smith, executive director of the Texas Instruments Foundation, so hard that he was knocked unconscious. In Smith's police statement he alleges that he was walking with his husband in Austin when Fera nearly hit the couple with his car.
"I hollered out, 'you nearly hit us.'" Fera reportedly replied, 'Fuck you faggot.'" Smith and Fera exchanged a few more words before Fera exited his car, punched Smith in the head, ran back, and resumed driving.
Paul Von Wupperfeld, Smith's husband, writes in his statement that Smith’s face “was swollen and bloody from where he had been punched, with cuts on his nose, right cheek, and chin. He was unconscious for around 30-45 seconds. When he came around he was groggy and disoriented.”
Fera is back on the streets after paying $5,000 bail. Read the rest