Reverse Hate Crime in South Carolina – One Year After

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by Steven Yates

On a November night a little over a year ago, Columbia, S.C. resident Bill Calliham was driving home from a local Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting when he noticed the very bright headlights of a car following him. The car continued following him through the twists and turns of his neighborhood all the way to his house, blocking his driveway. When he inquired politely if the person, who happened to be black, was lost and needed directions, the man set upon him and sent him to the nearest emergency room.

Bill Calliham had a South Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate on his vehicle along with two square Confederate flag emblems on either side. Local media as well as the leftist NAACP had been waging war against Confederate symbols for years; this war culminated in the removal of the Confederate flag from atop South Carolina's State House (a square version now stands on a 30-foot pole behind the Confederate Soldier Monument). Calliham attributes the attack to these symbols having been clearly visible to whoever got behind him in traffic. Nothing else seemed to explain why a total stranger of another race would follow him home and beat him up on his own property.

Not a single local media outlet covered the story:not Columbia's daily newspaper, not any television station, not any radio broadcast.This was familiar to those of us who had been following reverse hate crimes – blacks attacking whites, whether because the latter display Confederate symbols or for no discernable reason whatsoever.When it became evident that no one else would cover the story, I did.To my knowledge, my article was the only public coverage the incident received.The reason:because it was black-on-white, the police refused to treat it as a hate crime.Therefore it was not news.Bill Calliham told me how he had confronted a reporter shortly after he learned that local media had withdrawn their initial decision to cover the event.u201CI'm the wrong color,u201D he had told her.u201CIf I was black, every radio station, TV station and Rainbow Coalition member would be in my front yard.u201DThe reporter, of course, was not to blame.She was no doubt ordered by her superiors not to publicize the story.

Media blackouts on black-on-white hate crimes are the norm. A white person has to be incapacitated or killed before such cases even become local news. This was the pattern when Troy Knapp was beaten unconscious by a mob of black teenagers wielding metal trash cans while bicycling through a North Charleston, S.C. neighborhood the previous year. Knapp sustained severe head injuries, and languishes in a Charleston-area nursing home with permanent brain damage.

The incident was not reported by major media outside the Charleston area.

And then there was the incident some have called the Wichita horror that happened in Kansas a year ago yesterday. In that case, five close friends, all young professionals in their 20s (three men and two women), were robbed at gunpoint by two black men, then taken to a deserted soccer field. The two women were stripped naked, raped, then forced to perform lewd sex acts on their attackers and on each other while the three men had to watch. Finally all five had to kneel, and were then shot, execution style. Miraculously, one of the women survived. She staggered naked and bloody through ice and snow in sub-freezing temperatures for more than a mile and was finally able to obtain help.

Again, the story was local news only. Were it not for the Internet, most of us would not even know about it. Yet anyone with functioning brain cells knows that if the races had been reversed, the national coverage would have been relentless. It would no doubt accompanied by appearances by Jesse Jackson (or Al Sharpton) and possibly even a new (and very well funded) study of u201Chate crimesu201D by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The dominant media refuse to report such incidents because they go against one of the central dogmas of our politically correct time: blacks as a group are victims first of the legacy of slavery and then of discrimination and hate. Whites as a group are their victimizers. So if blacks display anger, they have reason; when they get violent, their violence can be excused. The term black rage has been used. In truth, the federal government's own crime statistics reveal that 90 percent of all violent interracial crimes are committed by blacks on whites, not the reverse. Given that blacks only constitute about 13 percent of the population, a black person is 50 times more likely than a white person to commit a violent interracial crime. Many such crimes do not appear to have an economic motive, such as robbery. In cases such as the Wichita horror, the utter viciousness of the perpetrators rules out economics as the sole motive even though there was a robbery.

During the events last April in Cincinnati, it was the same story. The scale of events was too large for the media to muzzle altogether, however, so the Cincinnati riot became national news. The media, however, could not bring themselves to call it a u201Criot,u201D even when marauding blacks were heaving bricks through windows of cars driven by whites and setting fires to their businesses. The media (with the leftist New York Times leading the way) chose to use sanitized phrases like sporadic protests and vandalism.

The Cincinnati riot was an attack on white people. This was clear, because an assault on an albino black woman driver stopped at once when one of the aggressors shouted, u201CShe's black!u201D

Again, you read about it on the Internet if you read about it at all. Apparently not all the news is fit to print if it goes against the grain of political correctness, with the Internet being the largest medium not subject to political control.

With the utter lack of media coverage, there were no means of following ensuing events in the Calliham case here – especially since Bill Calliham's injuries were much less severe than in the above cases. So I never learned whether police caught and arrested someone for the crime. I knew I wouldn't hear anything from local media, so I recently decided to touch base and do the follow-up myself – for the same reason I wrote the original article: if I didn't, then who would?

In fact, the Callihams had been able to identify the perpetrator – through his car, a black Lexus with four large headlights, which almost by chance they spotted in a garage not far from where the Callihams lived. Having done the detective work themselves, they were able to inform the police where to find Bill Calliham's attacker. One day they actually sighted the person outside in his driveway washing the car, utterly unconcerned that he might be recognized. They turned the license plate number over to the police. Finally, with four months now having gone by, the person was questioned.

He admitted that there had been a violent altercation, but blamed Calliham for it. In fact, the person presented a scenario that was almost the reverse of Bill Calliham's original story. He contended that Calliham had followed him. He claimed that his u201Cfightu201D with Calliham had been in self-defense, that Calliham had made u201Cracial slursu201D and then u201Csucker-punchedu201D him.

Why, then, hadn't he been the one to call the police, and not Bill Calliham?

Because, the answer goes, he u201Cwas too embarrassed.u201D

Calliham may not have been injured as severely as was Troy Knapp, but his health problems have increased since the incident. He suffers occasional attacks of dizziness and confusion. He has experienced being out driving and suddenly losing track of where he was or where he had been going. He has been to the hospital to have this looked into, but so far no one has been able to explain it. Both he and his wife have reported sleeplessness and extreme apprehension.

This was a man who served this country for 27 years in the Army. He was far from a stranger to potentially dangerous situations, therefore, also having worked for both the Columbia Housing Authority and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. He was able to state the philosophy that had guided his actions back then in a single sentence: u201CIf you treat everybody nicely, you'll get the same respect back.u201D

That philosophy might have worked before the political correctness era. Then began a period of leftist professors, media pundits and unscrupulous lawyers of the Johnnie Cochran persuasion u201Cplaying the race cardu201D at every opportunity, shouting from the rooftops about how blacks were still suffering from this country's legacy of slavery, how whites owe u201Creparations,u201D etc.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department declined to prosecute the Calliham case, claiming to have two different versions of events neither of which could be corroborated. The police closed the case without even issuing a warrant for simple battery (a misdemeanor). Bill Calliham, having had no luck with either the police or criminal prosecutors, has been forced to hire his own attorney and pursue that matter in civil court. Just finding an attorney was not an easy matter, despite a substantial file folder of evidence: the original police report, pictures of his face following the attack, hospital bills, results of cat-scans, his wife's testimony and the testimony of a neighbor, as well as that of other character witnesses. u201CWe're going to court to see if justice will be done,u201D he told me. u201CSo far we haven't seen justice. The RCSD wouldn't do anything. The solicitors wouldn't do anything. The magistrates wouldn't do anything. Two lawyers wouldn't take the case. But I'm still trying to get this solved through the courts.u201D

It has now been over a year. We're waiting.

Steven Yates [send him mail] has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (ICS Press, 1994). He is a professional writer at work on a number of projects including a work of political philosophy, The Paradox of Liberty. He also writes for the Edgefield Journal, and is available for lectures. He has set up a small freelance writing business, Millennium 3 Communications. Currently living in Columbia, South Carolina, he will join the Mises Institute early next year as a Rowley Fellow.

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