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

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

by David Neiwert
     
 

On July 4, 2000, three young Asian American men visiting the small town of Ocean Shores, Washington, were attacked by a group of skinheads in the parking lot of a Texaco station. Threats and slurs gave way to violence and, ultimately, a fatal stabbing. But this tragedy culminated with a twist. A young white man, flaunting a Confederate flag just moments before, was…  See more details below

Overview

On July 4, 2000, three young Asian American men visiting the small town of Ocean Shores, Washington, were attacked by a group of skinheads in the parking lot of a Texaco station. Threats and slurs gave way to violence and, ultimately, a fatal stabbing. But this tragedy culminated with a twist. A young white man, flaunting a Confederate flag just moments before, was slain by one of his would-be victims. In the ensuing murder trial, a harsh lesson on what it really means to be an American unfolded, exposing the layers of distrust between minorities and whites in rural America and revealing the dirty little secret that haunts many small towns: hate crime.
In Death on the Fourth of July, veteran journalist David Neiwert explores the hard questions about hate crimes that few are willing to engage. He shares the stories behind the Ocean Shores case through first-hand interviews, and weaves them through an expert examination of the myths, legal issues, and history surrounding these controversial crimes. Death on the Fourth of July provides the most clear-headed and rational thinking on this loaded issue yet published, all within the context of one compelling real-life tragedy.

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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:
07/16/2004
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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