Unfortunate, but don’t panic

It was a tough headline to write. Words so vile and out of character with what we know Nelson is, what we think our vibe is all about. Hate crime... that’s just not us.

It was a tough headline to write. Words so vile and out of character with what we know Nelson is, what we think our vibe is all about. Hate crime… that’s just not us.

Last week three Korean exchange students were victims of an unprovoked attack in the downtown. Some yahoo decided to throw racial slurs at these L.V. Rogers high school students and then started throwing punches. The students were shaken, but thankfully not seriously hurt.

Police have labelled it a hate crime and so that’s what appeared on the front page of Friday’s Star. It’s certainly a deeply disturbing incident and one that has the potential to damage Nelson’s reputation.

One of the main reasons parents of exchange students send their children to a remote location like ours instead of bigger cities like Vancouver is the safety a small town affords. It’s something we all take pride in. This attack puts a dent in our safe reputation.

But let’s not panic. The main perpetrator of the attack is a punk. He wasn’t roaming the city specifically looking for a visible minority to attack. He’s a jerk who was looking for trouble and could have just as easily attacked somebody for wearing red shoes.

None of what the attacker did should put residents of this community at ease. This is a bad dude and let’s hope police are able to deal with him using the full extent of the law. But we should all be confident in saying that Nelson is just as safe as it ever was for minorities. There is no undercurrent of hatred towards Koreans or any other culture.

Nelson prides itself on difference. It’s a community brought together by the love of our surroundings and our respect for the individual. Though unfortunate and disappointing, the terrible words used in last week’s headline should not take the shine off what this community is all about.

Nelson Star