NEWBURGH – Hate has no place here! It’s a slogan we have heard numerous times, however the reality is that hate lives here.
Sometimes hate is not as obvious as others, but when someone takes the time to draw several of these despicable symbols, in broad daylight, the intent is very clear: to stir up the most visceral emotions one can feel.
Three disturbing hate symbols were found on Thursday, July 13, painted on a rock wall near the McDonald’s on Broadway in the city of Newburgh.
The first symbol, and probably the most recognizable one, since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious of hate symbols, antisemitism and white supremacy for most of the world.
The second symbol, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 88 is a white supremacist numerical code for “Heil Hitler.” H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler. One of the most common white supremacist symbols, 88 is used throughout the entire white supremacist movement, not just neo-Nazis.
The third symbol, the SS Bolts, are a common white supremacist/neo-Nazi symbol derived from Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany.
The incident was reported to local police as a hate crime. However, upper brass, including the police commissioner and chief knew nothing of the hate crime that happened in their city.
According to the National Institute of Justice, hate crimes (also known as “bias crimes”) are recognized as a distinct category of crimes that have a broader effect than most other kinds of crimes because the victims are not only the crime’s immediate target but also others like them.
The FBI defines hate crimes as “criminal offense[s] against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Most states and U.S. territories have hate crime statutes enforced by state and local law enforcement; however, the laws and definitions vary widely across jurisdictions with regard to bias motivations (e.g. religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, the crimes covered, and the penalty enhancements. For example, forty-seven states and the District of Columbia include race/color as a bias category, while 15 states and the District of Columbia include gender identity).
This form of hate speech often incites violence and intolerance. The devastating effect of hatred is sadly nothing new. However, we will not be silent on this mater. We will always speak up, and give voice to those who may not always be heard, and stand up against hate – in any form!