A crime does not have to be an illegal activity. A crime can be a senseless or shameful act, or a serious violation of a moral code. The FBI on hate crimes tells a sobering story according to a recent Washington Post article. In 2016, the FBI counted 6,121 reported incidents nationwide, an increase of 4.6 percent from 2015. In 2015 there was a 6.8 percent increase in hate crimes over 2014.
The incident involving Echo city councilman Lou Nakapalau may not rise high enough to be included in an FBI hate crime report but it is certainly of local note. His digital hate speech toward the LGBTQ was picked up by the Miami Herald, the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune and U.S. News and Word Report, among others.
Pam Reese tells us in her Dec. 2 op-ed that when she tried to address this issue at a Echo City Council meeting she was told that councilman Nalapalau’s remarks “were aimed at someone half a world away didn’t really do any harm.” How’s that again?
We are increasingly becoming a nation of intolerance with this being an in-your-face local example. As an individual insensitivity, it may not be so bad. But it appears from Pam Reese’s letter this hate crime has the Echo City Council and administration support.
To be fair, the city of Echo has issued an apology for the statements made by Councilman Nakapalau. In offering the apology, though, they still appear to lack a nobility of purpose. They still appear not able to see Nakapalau’s remark “I’ll spit on your grave,” in speaking of a gay man, as fostering prejudicial hate.
We live in community and the world is our community.