By David Neiwert
N July four, 2000, 3 younger Asian-American males from Seattle took a highway journey to the inn city of Ocean beaches, Washington. At a gasoline station mini-mart, they encoun-tered sev-eral white skinheads, who began menacing them via shouting racial epithets. Trapped within the mini-mart, the five-foot-six, a hundred twenty five pound Minh Hong grabbed paring knives and crammed them into his jacket pocket. Returning to their vehicle, Hong's team discovered a two hundred pound, twenty-year-old skinhead named Christopher Kinison blocking off their means, preserving a Confeder-ate flag. the consequent melee left Kinison fatally stabbed, and 6 months later, Hong stood on trial for homicide. in the course of the lawsuits, Hong was once requested why he had fought so tough. He responded, 'I simply knew i did not are looking to turn out like that man in Texas,' concerning James Byrd, the black guy dragged to his demise through white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998. David Neiwert makes use of Hong's case to discover the myths sur-round-ing hate crimes, delineating what's and isn't a 'hate crime,' and divulges the patchwork nature of federal and kingdom hate-crime legislation and their enforcement.
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Extra info for Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America
Of course, I was concerned that my foreknowledge of the suspects would taint my ability to cover the trial fairly. But this was not the ﬁrst time this had happened; most small-town reporters indeed know many of the characters they wind up writing about in court trials, and I had been no exception. On the other hand, what I already knew about the Hong brothers did not jibe with the portrait that the prosecutors had been painting in the papers: big-city Asian gangsta wannabes who got into a ﬁght with local kids and stabbed one to death.
His father was a career officer in the Navy, and they were stationed there for ﬁve years. And so many of the class pictures of young Chris Kinison are taken in Hawaii, where, being white, he was in the distinct minority. In a couple of class photos, he is one of only two white faces in the crowd. Most of them are Asian. There are pictures of Chris playing on soccer teams and middle-school football teams in Maryland, where the family later moved, and again, he is surrounded by mostly black teammates.
Others were adamant that Kinison was not a racist at heart. His grandmother, Mary Lindau, told reporters: “My son-in-law is a Negro. The remarks [Kinison made during the ﬁght] are remarks I’ve heard from other people, who should have known better. Orientals, I think, sometimes get judged pretty harshly. ”5 Even Gabe Rodda talked to a reporter, saying: “It’s all about whoever’s . . looking for a ﬁght. We weren’t searching for a certain race. ”6 Kinison, it became clear, liked to ﬁght. In all the testimonials offered by his friends, that theme kept appearing.