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Death on the Fourth of July: A Hate Crime, a Killing, and a Trial in Small-Town America

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Death on the Fourth of July examines the phenomenon of hate crime in America through the lens of a singular case in a small beach town in Washington State, when the would-be victims of a racist assault turned the confrontation's expected outcome on its head. One young Asian American man fought off his white skinhead tormentor with a shoplifted paring knife, fatally wounding him. Detailing the criminal trial that followed the incident, the book expands into a broader discussion of hate crimes in America: their ...
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Overview

Death on the Fourth of July examines the phenomenon of hate crime in America through the lens of a singular case in a small beach town in Washington State, when the would-be victims of a racist assault turned the confrontation's expected outcome on its head. One young Asian American man fought off his white skinhead tormentor with a shoplifted paring knife, fatally wounding him. Detailing the criminal trial that followed the incident, the book expands into a broader discussion of hate crimes in America: their history from the era of lynching to the present, the patchwork nature of state and federal laws against them, and the inconsistent enforcement of such laws. David A. Neiwert, a renowned expert on white supremacist movements, has crafted a compelling and comprehensive treatment of this explosive subject, shedding light on how hate crimes impact the nation's fragile cultural and racial climate.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On July 4, 2000, Minh Hong and his twin brother, Hung, arrived in Ocean Shores, Wash., to celebrate the holiday. When they stopped at a convenience store to buy fireworks, they were met by a group of drunken young white men-who resembled skinheads-yelling racial slurs. A fight erupted, leaving the leader of the group of white men, Chris Kinison, dead. Minh Hong was charged with manslaughter for killing Kinison, and suddenly the victim of a hate crime became the suspect in a criminal trial. Freelance journalist Neiwert, who became acquainted with the Hong family through eating at their teriyaki shop in Seattle, provides a fast-paced account of the events surrounding this altercation and Hong's trial. The circumstances surrounding the events of that day divided the town, uncovering racist feelings below the thin veneer of smalltown sociability. Neiwert weaves chapters regarding the legal aspects of hate crimes, the myths of hate crimes and the details of other well-known, and less-known, crimes, such as the killing of Matthew Shepard, into his narrative about the Hong case. Although the book often devolves into a pseudosociological treatise in these chapters, Neiwert is at his best in reporting on the details of the trial, the feelings of the families and the disruption of the community. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Freelance journalist Neiwert uses a hate-crime case with a twist as his platform for exploring the reasons for hate crimes and legislative solutions. The case-involving visiting Asian American men and local skinheads in Ocean Shores, WA-differs from most in that the victim, attacked by a small-town assailant, killed his attacker with a knife after fearing for his life. The state of Washington prosecuted the Asian American for murder, then dropped the case after the trial resulted in a hung jury. The book provides a detailed look into small-town life and demonstrates that most hate crimes are crimes of impulse by locals. More a discussion of hate crimes in America than an account of a single trial, this book is at its best when it confronts the myths surrounding hate crimes and challenges readers to support hate-crime legislation. This well-researched book deserves a wide audience. Recommended for all collections.-Harry Charles, Attorney at Law, St. Louis Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403965011
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/16/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David A Neiwert is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, and MSNBC.com. He is author of In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest and lives in Seattle.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Foreword ix
Chapter 1 The Knives 1
Chapter 2 Fireworks in Red 8
Chapter 3 Open Sores 17
Chapter 4 White Faces 33
Chapter 5 Growing Up American 42
Chapter 6 The Trial, Day One: Rashomon 57
Chapter 7 Hate, American Style 63
Chapter 8 The Trial, Day Two: Rashomon Redux 89
Chapter 9 The Hate Debate 95
Chapter 10 The Trial, Day Three: Reason and Rage 117
Chapter 11 The Mythology of Hate 124
Chapter 12 The Trial, Day Four: In Fear 150
Chapter 13 Wall of Silence 155
Chapter 14 The Trial, Day Five: In Closing 171
Chapter 15 The Great Divide 175
Chapter 16 The Verdict 188
Chapter 17 The American Landscape 201
Notes 219
Bibliography 233
Index 239
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