Monday, June 15, 2009

Can We Talk? - re: Hate Crimes

This is Keith Luke, a swastika etched on his forehead, as he is arraigned in Brockton Superior Court on multiple charges of rape and murder stemming from a January shooting spree that authorities say was motivated by racial hatred.

This is his first murder victim: Selma Goncalves, 20,who  worked at a local dry cleaning store. She was described by friends as full of energy and brought happiness to others.


His second murder victim was Arlindo Goncalves, 72, father of eight adult children. Retired bricklayer. Had fallen on hard times but remained fiercely independent in taking care of himself. His family said "He never harmed a person in his life."


Keith Luke, 22, was known as a loner in his neighborhood of Brockton Massachusetts. On January 22nd, 2009, Luke knocked on the door of 20-year-old immigrant, Selma Goncalves, his former neighbor. He had with him a backpack containing a hammer, two pairs of handcuffs, a mouth gag and blindfold. He also had an illegally purchased and unlicensed 9MM Hi Point semiautomatic handgun. Selma wasn’t home, but her older sister was.
Luke is accused of forcing his way into the apartment, sodomizing and shooting the 22-year-old woman, then fatally shooting her sister, Selma,when she came home. 
 He is also accused of opening fire on people who tried to provide aid to the women and of gunning down an elderly man pushing a cart filled with bottles and cans down the street. All of the victims are of Cape Verdean descent.

Authorities said that Luke later told police he had planned to end the rampage at a bingo game at a local synagogue where he wanted to shoot and kill as many Jews as he could.
Wearing a swastika on the face sends a powerful message, it is the ultimate defiance saying, ‘I don’t stand with you.’

Many neo-Nazis and “skinheads” are heavily tattooed, often with anti-Semitic or pro-Hitler phrases. It was determined that Luke was a frequent visitor to the Neo-Nazi sites on his computer.

Can we talk? -

Just as in the animal kingdom some creatures, such as alligators, lurk in the muck and mire of murky waters, waiting for their next victim; there are humans who are also predators. They may sit in their homes in front of their computers visiting sites that encourage hatred and the  killing of people who  have a different culture, color, sexual orientation, or faith tradition than the viewer. Then, every now and then, they rise to the surface and perform an act of violence before retreating like the cowards that they are, into their own world of spiritless darkness.

This week, as I was writing this article, yet another act of hatred occurred at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C.

People, we cannot be lulled into thinking that things have changed. We have to remain vigilant.

The dictionary definition of hate is: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury, extreme dislike or antipathy

Hate Crime: any of various crimes (as assault or defacement of property) when motivated by hostility to the victim as a member of a group (as one based on color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation)

I have written about this on this blog before but I think it bears repeating .

The Hatewatch logo above is from the Southern Poverty Law Center. This group keeps their eyes on the current hate crimes – I invite you to check them out.


Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as 
well as destroy the object on which it is poured. 
- Ann Landers

 -more on this topic tomorrow.

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