Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Letter to Governor and Attorney General about Hate Crimes

I wrote these letters in response to remind our elected officials that many hate crimes have come from these raids, and that false reporting is a serious matter that needs to be attacked.

Subject: Hate Crimes in the wake of the FLDS raid

As a citizen of Arizona I have been concerned with a possible pattern of hate crimes. As you know, the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas was raided around a month ago, and much slander and false rumor has been circulated in press reports. Perhaps as a result, Mormons of all kinds in Texas have been targeted for hate crimes – LDS missionaries being threatened with weapons, LDS homeowners having their home vandalized, and anti-Mormon graffiti. Unfortunately, some of the same type of thing has been happening in Arizona, as an LDS missionary in Mesa was beaten up the day after the Eldorado raid.

Recently, a potential anti-Mormon hate crime also occurred in Tucson. The Binghampton Chapel was the first LDS chapel in Tucson, and has become a local icon. Recently, glass doors and windows were smashed in this historical building. The state should investigate this vandalism as a possible hate crime, given the recent prevalence of anti-Mormon sentiment.

Secondly, I would like to address another hate crime – that of false reporting. Just as the calls that sparked the Eldorado raid came from a false-reporting hate crime, the media reported that the State of Arizona received similar calls, and have received multiple such calls this year. I am wondering what is being done to prosecute these callers, and bring them to justice? For example, the penalties for setting off a fire alarm are very strict. However, calls such as these can deny parental rights without any due process, trial, or actual crime. Given the huge damage that can be inflicted by these calls, the state should aggressively prosecute and penalize hoax callers who do so with criminal and hateful intent. Perhaps Rozita Swinton would never have had the chance to destroy a community had Arizona treated false reporting with the seriousness it deserves.

In conclusion, I would like the Tucson vandalism to be investigated as a possible hate crime. I would also like to see the fraudulent phone calls that have already happened in Arizona to be prosecuted.


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