David Ritcheson

David Ritcheson died on July 1st.  His death was ruled a suicide.  He was 18.

I didn't know anything about it until today, ten days later.  Nor did I know anything about the horrific racially-motivated beating he suffered in April of 2006.  

David was at a party with some "friends" in a Houston suburb.  For the "sin" of making a drunken pass at a white girl while Hispanic, two self-proclaimed skin-heads knocked him unconscious, ripped off his clothes, kicked him with steel-toed boots, choked him with a garden hose, burned him with cigarettes, carved a swastika into his flesh, and sodomized him with the broken pole of a patio umbrella. They kicked the pole into him so deeply that his internal organs ruptured, all the while shouting "White Power!" and racial slurs.  Lastly, they doused him with bleach.  

One report speculated that the bleach was to "conceal evidence."  When a white supremacist pours bleach on a person of color, I am thinking there's a different motivation.

The attack lasted for over an hour. No one tried to stop them.  And even after it was over, no one called for help.  Ritcheson lay unconscious for ten hours until he was discovered the next day.  He was hospitalized for more than three months. Two men were convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

In April of this year, Ritcheson testified before Congress in favor of new hate crimes bill.  With his testimony he hoped to help others in the future, tho no one was there to help him that night.

As Ritcheson said before Congress and to our nation:

Not only did I have to face my peers and my family, I had to face the fact that I had been targeted for violence in a brutal crime because of my ethnicity. This crime took place in middle-class America in the year 2006. The reality that hate is alive, strong, and thriving in the cities, towns, and cul-de-sacs of Suburbia, America was a surprise to me. America is the country I love and call home. However, the hate crime committed against me illustrates that we are still, in some aspects, a house divided. 

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