First, I should point out that these are my views. I’m sure others share them, but none of us Sac Rag contributors should ever be construed to be speaking for the rest.
I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m enjoying watching the Bee squirm after their Slavic Evangelical accusations in the Singh case have all but dried up. But there is squirming going on. Witness Marcos Breton today…
We believe Singh’s killing may have been a hate crime, may have been fueled by the perception he was gay.
But the key word in that is may have been a hate crime. We don’t know for certain it was a hate crime.
A bit of backpedaling from this statement he made last week
The point here is that silence envelops a crime in which a man may have been targeted for his sexual orientation. … If time proves them correct, then that’s a hate crime.
But the real damning quote is here, in my opinion:
…[N]ow is the time for moderate voices to step forward. Now is the time for the rhetoric in the Singh case to be dialed down.
In that spirit, it should be stated that the suspect in this case is from Sacramento’s Slavic community — but the entire Slavic community is not suspect.
That’s one way to put it. Another way to put it is that the Bee has an obligation to show some moderation in its rhetoric about the Slavic community, since it has led the charge against moderation from the start. (Well, the News & Review has probably been more irresponsible, but they also have ads for sex massages, so. Hmm, I wonder if we’ll have to settle for a tie in Best Blog again this year.)
It should be stated that there were escalating tensions between some Slavic Christians and Sacramento’s gay community before Singh was killed — but the entire Slavic Christian community is not on trial. And neither is the Christian faith. Any suggestions to the contrary are simply inaccurate, a reflection of the fear and anger that have risen as justice has been delayed.
That directly challenges the Bee’s assertion that this case was a “symbol of wounds that have festered for some time between Sacramento’s gay community and members of the Slavic evangelical community.”
Breton does deserve credit for attempting to bring some reason back into this story. Clearly the Bee is sensing that its original call was a bit hasty, since no connection has been made between the two suspects and any church. One hopes that the media also realize that it was a bad call because it stems from bad logic and prejudice and a sensationalist drive, not just because it didn’t pan out. One hopes that politicians who have chimed in, like Darrell Steinberg, will have the wherewithall to do some soul-searching as well.
Then again, Breton points out that a shameful month had passed before the “Slavic church leaders condemned Singh’s killing, expressed condolences to his family.” Okay, so they are on trial?
2 thoughts on “Breton backpedals on hate crime case”
I know it’s odd for me to stand up for the Bee but…I read Marcus Breton’s column last week, and I just read it again because of what you posted, and I still don’t see how he’s being immoderate in what he wrote. I think the SN&R clearly was, but not Breton. This is the strongest statement I could find in his previous column
One wonders whether the suspects were fueled by the anti-gay rhetoric shouted at protests around town before Singh was attacked.
I think he hedged his bets pretty well by saying “one wonders”. Who could argue with that? I certainly wondered that when I heard about it, although my mind wasn’t completely made up about it of course. I’m wondering.
You say that the Bee is sensing “the original call was a bit hasty”. What call are you referring to?
I don’t think I said that Breton has been immoderate in his language. And I suppose technically I don’t really think the Bee was using immoderate speech, just irresponsible. It was irresponsible to immediately turn this case into gays vs. Slavic Christians just based on witnesses hearing Russian being spoken. Breton’s advice in today’s piece needs to be taken by the Bee because their sloppy reporting suggested that all Slavic Evangelicals were on trial, though that community still cannot be connected to the case at all.
And the “original call” I was referring to was simply that, their assertion that this encounter was indicative of that larger conflict based on sloppy and I think prejudicial logic.
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