Leo Morris of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel has a blog called Opening Arguments. Morris is the newspaper's editorial page editor and is generally oblivous to the existence of this blog despite its presence on the Indiana blogospere stage for more than two years. In a recent post on his blog, he nitspicks Rotello's post in a way that makes it all so clear why folks outside of Indiana think we're pretty much just a bunch of bigoted, uneducated hilljacks. The thirty-year journalist, who is not in the least bit concerned by Indiana's infamous notoriety as one of only 5 states in the country without a hate crimes law, makes the following observations about Rotello's post:
I read the piece three times, trying to follow the logic that flows from this until my brain hurt. It goes something like this:
1. Indiana legislators fail to pass hate-crimes legislation because it would protect gays, thus pleasing their right-wing Christian masters who would just as soon round up all gays and hang them.
2. This sends the message that gays are fair game here. Go get yer guns, boys!
3. This leads murderous teens to believe that claiming "gay panic" will get them a parade in downtown Indianapolis instead of the needle or a lifetime in a small cell in Michigan City. Or, hell, I don't know, maybe it leads them to seek out someone to kill, knowing they have a defense that homophobic Hoosier hicks will accept without question.
4. Jesus weeps.
Maybe instead of hate-crimes legislation, which enhances penalties when the crimes are against groups that the government decrees are more deserving of protection against hate than other groups, we should have false-hate-crime-claiming laws. Pretend to have hated your victim when you really didn't, the penalty is doubled, and if you get the major media to ignore the whole thing, triple it.
Two teen thugs killed somebody. Squash 'em. Anything else is agenda-driven tunnel vision.
After reading Morris' comments, as well as Star editorial page writer RiShawn Biddle's past outspoken criticsm of hate crime laws, I'm beginning to wonder if the people running our state's newspapers are as responsible for our state's much maligned image as the bigoted and backwards-thinking people we keep electing to our state's legislature. I suppose it never occurred to these two why the lynchings in Marion, Indiana 77 years ago were the last known lynchings in the North. "We don't need anti-lynching laws." "We already have laws on the books against murder." Same argument. Different era.
For your convenience, I've listed below all the posts Advance Indiana has published on the Aaron Hall killing in chronological order:
- Crothersville Man Brutally Killed Because Attackers Thought He Was Gay
- Hate Crime Outrage: Accomplice Charged With Class C Felony
- Hall's Alleged Killer Is Deputy Coroner's Son
- Aaron Hall: An Easy Victim
- In Their Own Words: Aaron Hall's Killer Describe The Gruesome Details
- Why Won't The Star Cover The Hate Crime Killing of Aaron Hall?
- Holladay: Aaron Hall Killed Twice, Second Time By Media
- Aaron Hall Killer Seeks Bail
- Another Strange Twist In Aaron Hall Hate Crime Murder Case
- Bloomington Alternative And Daily Kos Ponder Lack of Media Attention For Hall Killing
- Aaron Hall Update: Coleman King Trial Continued