Aug 4, 2018

The Glenelg Hate Crime

On July 13, 2018, a grand jury indicted four teens in Glenelg, Maryland on seven counts of vandalism and hate crimes.

 In May they were identified on the security cam of Glenelg High School writing swastikas and racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic slurs everywhere on school property, "on sidewalks, trash cans, bricks, and out-buildngs."

Some were directed at Glenelg principal David Burton.

The boys, all 18, were about to graduate.  They are all from different towns: Mt. Airy, Brookeville, Ellicott City, and Woodbine.  They were  all on the baseball or football team, or both.  One is a wrestler.

A standard story about privileged jocks expressing their hatred of minority groups.

In 2016, 5,479 hate crimes were reported to the FBI.  About 59% targeted race or ethnicity, 21% sexual orientation or gender identity, and 19% religion.

Of course, the actual number is much higher.  Most victims don't report, fearing further victimization (between 20% and 40% of victims of anti-gay hate crimes state that the police officers taking the report have laughed at them, used anti-gay slurs, told them that they deserved it, or lectured to them about the Book of Leviticus.

Plus many jurisdictions refuse to identify the incidents as hate crimes.  The State of Hawaii categorically denies that any hate crimes have ever occurred there.

The most common acts of anti-gay hate crime are vandalism and intimidation (acting as if you are going to attack someone).

Most anti-gay hate crime offenders are "proactive": they got up that morning with the plan of committing a homophobic hate crime.  "Reactive," where you see someone belonging to the target group and get angry, is less common but more violent.

Most offenders belief that almost everyone shares their hatred of the group, and that they are doing the community a service by "fighting back" against groups who they consider evil.

There are three interesting things about this case.

1. 90% of the articles mention only racist graffiti, erasing gay people even as targets of hate crimes.

2. The town rallied  in support of David Burton and other racial, religious, and sexual minorities, instead of dismissing the incident as "youthful hijinks."

3. Where the heck is Glenelg, and why is it drawing teens from all those other cities?

Glenelg sounds like part of the name got chopped off, but it's actually a town in Howard County, Maryland, about 25 miles from Baltimore. 

It has a wrestling and track team, but no swimming.

The student body is 9% African-American and 4% Asian.

There's a Gay-Straight Alliance.


  1. I assume someone deliberately picked a palindrome?

    I should tell you about South Dakota some time. But you lived there, so...

    1. It was probably named after Glenelg in Scotland, but the high school yearbook is called "The Palindrone."


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