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Police fail to present hate crime as charge

Gross misdemeanor falls short in punishing hunters

Art+by+Lucy+zumBrunnen
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Police fail to present hate crime as charge

Art by Lucy zumBrunnen

Art by Lucy zumBrunnen

Art by Lucy zumBrunnen

Art by Lucy zumBrunnen

Tamar Gewirtz

Two Somali men said they were petrified to discover two skinned deer carcasses on the hoods of their cars in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This act, which took them by surprise, was clearly one of xenophobia. The perpetrators, according to MPR News, were 62-year-old Daniel Dorian Knowlen and his 14-year-old son.

According to the Star Tribune, although charged of a gross misdemeanor for the crime that took place on the night of Nov. 14, the men were not charged of a hate crime.

According to TIME, the perpetrators claimed they were unaware of the car owners’ identities and were simply looking for a place to dispose of the deer. However, they initially lied by saying they were never at the location, only confessing once they had viewed the tapes. Their testimony was clearly unreliable.

To act upon an internal prejudice against any minority is to commit a hate crime, and this hate crime is no different than any other.

It is the same poisonous and inexcusable hatred that motivated more than 7,100 horrific hate crimes that took place in the year 2017 alone.

This hatred, when acted upon, has clear and devastating effects. It is not always deadly, but it never fails to inflict fear upon people and intervene in their everyday lives.

The two Somali men victim to the hate crime may not have been in any immediate danger. They were, however, put into the same state of fear in which victims of different ethnicities and religions are subject to every day.

Such hate as the hunters expressed cannot be rationally explained, nor can the acts that it pushes one to commit possibly be defended.

Classifying this act as a misdemeanor rather than a hate crime would deem the unacceptable behavior of Knowlen and his son acceptable. Ignoring the hate behind the crime not only avoids the confrontation of the issue itself but delays the development of possible resolutions.

It may start out as something seemingly small, such as a gross misdemeanor, but so did the Pittsburgh shooting, which started out as a series of anti-Semitic attacks on social media. I am not saying the two perpetrators are likely to become mass criminals. I am, however, trying to emphasize the dangerous implications that avoiding to admit to such hate crimes and dealing with them may have on the future well being of this country.

The first step in dealing with the hatred and prejudice that surrounds us and manifests itself in people’s minds is to recognize the nature of the crime at hand. The crime committed by Knowlen and his son was not only a gross misdemeanor but also a hate crime.

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About the Writer
Tamar Gewirtz, Writer

Hey, Tamar here! One of my favorite things to do is to travel, especially out of the country, mainly because I love trying new foods and seeing new places....

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