hate crime

Clarissa V. Rogers (id815@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 13:27:11 -0400

Here is a story about a hate crime which the media has not been
portraying as a hate crime.
Forever untill Victory,

By Mai Pham

Tragedy befell the Vietnamese community on Jan 29, 1996, when Thien
MinhLy, a 24-year old Vietnamese man and former graduate of UCLA, was
murdered while rollerblading in his Tustin hometown high school tennis
court. Ly was found lying in a pool of blood the following morning by
ajanitor, maimed by an excessive number of stabbing wounds to various
parts of his body, as well as slashing wounds to his throat.

In the immediate aftermath of his death, friends, family, and
acquaintances could not fathom the senselessness of the crime that
endedLy's life. All who knew him remembered him with love, respect, and
admiration. A man of exemplary integrity, intelligence, confidence and
spirit, Ly embodied the model Vietnamese American. He was a dutiful
and loving son to his parents, a beloved older brother to his younger
siblings, and a friend that one could always count on in times of need.
he was an academic in endless pursuit of knowledge: at UCLA, he
obtained both an English and a Biology degree in four years, had just
completed a Master's in Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown, and was
contemplating the study of Law just before his death. While at UCLA,
Thien was a leader: he wholeheartedly dedicated himself to the UCLA
Vietnmaese Students' Association (VSA) as VSA's Culture Night Director,
VSA's newsletter editor, and finally, at the height of his VSA
involvement, as VSA President '92-'93.

Hundreds attended the candlelight vigil held for him the same week he
wasmurdered. An article about his death hangs in the UCLA English
counseling office. Flowers from all over the VN community overflowed
the mortuary during his viewing and funeral. Tears flowed endlessly for
Thien; his was a loss mourned by all.

It was not until March 2, 1996 that the mystery surrounding Ly's murder
ended. That day, police arrested Gunner Lindberg, age 21, and Dominic
Christopher, age 17, after discovering a letter that LIndberg had
written to a former prison inmate in New Mexico. The letter contained
graphic details about the murder, as well as the writer's apparent
insoucience about the whole incident. Sandwiched between birthday plans,
news about a friend's baby, and talk about the need for a new tattoo was this
boastful account of what happened the night of Jan 29th:

"Oh I killed a jap a while ago I stabbed him to Death at Tustin High
school I walked up to him Dominic was with me adn I seen this guy
Roller blading and i had a knife. WE walk in the tennis court where he was I
walked up to him. Dominic was right there I walked right up to him and
he was scared I looked at him and said 'Oh I thought I knew you' and he
got happy that he wasn't gona get jumped. then I hit him...

"I pulled the knife out a butchar knife and he said 'no' then I put the
knife to his throught and asked him Do you have a car And he grabed my
hand that I had the knife in and looked at me, trying to get a
discription of me so I stomped on his head 3 times and each time said
'STop loooking at me' then he was kinda knocked out Dazzed then I
stabbed him in the side about 7 or 8 times he rolled over a little so I
stabbed his back out 18 or 19 times then he layed flat and I slit one side of
his throught on his jugular vain. Oh, the sounds the guy was making were
like Uhhh. then Dominic said 'do it again ' and I said 'I already Did.
Dude. "Ya, Do it again' so I cut his other juggular vain, and Dominic
said "Kill him Do it again' and I said 'he's already Dead' Dominic Said
'Stab him in the heart' So I stabbed him about 20 or 21 times in teh

"Then I wanted to go back and look, so we Did and he was dieing just
then taking in some bloody gasps of air so I nidged his face with my shoe a
few times, then i told Dominic to kick him, so he kicked the f--- out
of his face and he still has blood on his Shoes all over...then I ditched
the knife, after whiping it clean onto the side of the 5
freeway...here's the clippings from the newspaper we were on all the
channels." (LA. Times, Orange County, "Grisly Account of Ly Killing Believed
Penned by Suspect," 3/7/96)

Since the time of arrest, both parties have confessed their part in the
murder. The original arraignment date was set for March 22, 1996 for
Lindberg, but has been pushed back to April 19, 1996. Likewise,
Christopher's arraignment has been pushed back twice. It is not known
yet whether Christopher will be tried as an adult.

Was there racial motivation behind the crime? White supremecist
paraphernalia were foudn at Lindberg's and Christopher's home.
Lindberg carelessly referred to Ly as a "jap" in the letter he wrote to his
friend. yet Lindberg staunchly denies a racial motive. The tustin
police, too, seem reluctant to publicize the racial implications of the
crime. For instance, the Tustin Weekly omitted the words "I killed a
jap" in their rendition of Lindberg's letter (Tustin Weekly, "Graphic
death scene details described," 3/8/96) Furthermore, both the Tustin
Weekly and the LA Times have stated that the police attribute robbery
as the motive for Ly's murder.

In light of this information, the inference that can be made is
obvious. Racial motivation undoubtedly played a part in the murder. For how
could Gunner Lindberg and Dominic Christopher so easily, blithely, and
violently kill Thien Minh Ly if they respected him as a human being?
They "stomped" on him with about as much thought as they would step on
an ant. They listened to his cries of pain and torture with sadistic
delight. They continually attacked him when he was already helpless,
and then, to add further insult to the injury, Christopher kicked Ly's
bleeding face. To the two murderers, Thien was nothing but a "jap," a
sub-human organism whose life they had a right to take.

But what did Thien mean to those who loved him; how did they feel?
They are heart-broken, bereft, angry that his death was caused by an
unnecessary, random act of violence. And what about the Vietnamese
Community? News about Ly's murder and the ensuing arrest of his two
assailants have horrified and enraged the Vietnamese community in
Orange county, so much so that the Vietnaese Community of Orange County
(VNCOC), a non-profit human and social services group, and various other
organizations throughout the VN community in Orange county, joined
under the name of the Thien Minh Ly Ad Hoc Committee. Their purpose is to
ensure that the murderers receive just punishment for taking Ly's life.

A candlelight vigil was held April 6, 1996 by the Council of Asian
Pacific Americans of Orange County to raise awareness about violence
against Asian-Americans; one of the people being honored was Thien Minh

WE must preserve Thien Minh Ly's name in order to remind others that no
one is safe in the U.S while ignorance and racial hate run rampant. WE
must strive to become more aware of the dangers facing Asain-Americans
in present day American society adn educate others that all our cultures
are beautiful. WE must cry out that a tragedy such as this could happen
and work to teach everyone to respect all of humanity.

You can voice your opinions and state your outrage by writing to any of
the following people:

-Mayor Jim Potts, 300 Centennial Way, Tustin, CA 92680

-W. Douglas Franks, Chief of Police, same address as above

-Editor of the Tustin Weekly, 181 El Camino Real, Suite A, Tustin

WE would also like to establish a memorial/scholarship fund in honor of
Thien Minh Ly. For details and info. Direct your email to Maister@UCLA.edu.

To whom it may concern:

I have been looking for a way to publicize this info on the NEt, and
was referred to you by someone who read a posting I made on the public net
at Newsgroup soc.culture.vietnamese. I don't know much about the Net, but

I think it is a powerful tool in terms of mobilization and worldwide
communication. I am presently interested in creating a WEb homepage,
possibly in re: to Thien, or possibly about Hate crimes in general. I
don't know how to go about doing this, but would appreciate any advice on
the matter. However, I think the most important objective at hand is to
spread the news. If there is a way to post this article I sent you on
the NET where people would be interested/sensitive to the subject, please
help direct me to the appropriate source, since I'm a completely Net

Thank you, sincerely

Mai Pham

I believe this matter is being pursued by myself alone (on the Net,
anyway). Thien was a very good friend, and he would have done the same
for me. Please help me render do justice to his murder.

===================END FORWARDED MESSAGE===================


Only when lions have historians will hunters cease being heroes. African Proverb

Without struggle there is no progress. Frederick Douglass

The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. Steven Biko

yours in the struggle

Rodney D. Coates
Director of Black World Studies
Associate Professor of Sociology
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056

513 529-1235
email: coatesrd@casmail.muohio.edu

clarissa id815@cleveland.freenet.edu
161 Dartmouth St. Rochester, NY 14607
genesse valley/rochester greens green party-usa