It is shameful what has happened – repeatedly – to Niagara-on-the-Lake’s rainbow crosswalk.
It also is hateful.
The Niagara Regional Police Service says it is investigating the latest vandalism as a “potential” hate crime.
Given the repeated vandalism and the anti-gay and other hateful messages, it is not a potential hate crime.
It simply is a hate crime. Full stop.
This is the fourth time the Pride crosswalk in NOTL has been defaced in just over two months — 66 days to be exact.
Every time the message is more vulgar, more hate-fuelled, more unhinged.
Whoever is responsible for the last two incidents has pre-meditated their message of hatred and blacked out the town camera that faces the crosswalk.
We wonder how pathetic and scared of sexuality an individual must be to act in such a way.
Given some religious organizations’ anti-gay and anti-Pride stances, we have to wonder if the people involved are also motivated by their personal religious beliefs.
But one thing we don’t have to wonder about is whether or not this is a hate crime.
The damage meets the definition of a crime — one fuelled by hatred of a specific group of people.
Yet our Niagara police force only says it is “potentially” a hate crime.
The message was disgustingly clear: “Die fags.” And more.
The only debate should be whether it constitutes a death threat — there is no question it’s a hate crime.
Respectfully, our police service simply has to do better. Find the culprits and charge them with committing a hate crime.
Treat these repeated acts of hate and vandalism with all the seriousness they deserve.
Before someone does actually die.
If police don’t treat this as a hate crime, then if someone is killed, we hope the community bands together to litigate and protest our “protectors.”