Hate crime in New York

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On Tuesday, in Brooklyn, NY, two men were indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime, for an incident that took place on Oct. 11. According to the New York Times, Michael J. Sandy was lured into a meeting place by the suspects that night. Sandy was attacked, robbed and forced into a busy street where he was then struck by a car. He suffered serious injuries and was in a coma until he died on Oct. 13 after his family decided to remove him from life support.

The alleged killers, three white males all between the ages of 16 and 20, include John Fox—a 19-year-old student at State University New York Maritime College.

According to the prosecutors, the men targeted Sandy because a gay man would be unwilling, or too weak, to put up a fight, and would therefore act as an easy target. This idea, if actually the motive for their murder and robbery, is ludicrous—especially coming from young, supposedly educated males. It is also a bit confusing that the prosecutor did not mention homophobia as a possible motive.

The adolescent ages of these men are surprising, for they show homophobic sentiments continuing into new generations. What is perhaps most surprising, though, is the city where this tragic event took place; New York City, the home base for the gay-rights movement, is an unlikely host for such deliberate anti-gay violence.

In this day and age, and particularly in a university environment, it’s easy to forget that this kind of hate still exists. Deliberate attacks like this show that our society has still not accepted varied sexual-orientations. Continued education and discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer rights, are more important than ever in order to encourage acceptance and equality.

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