Minister calls Little Pond fire 'hate crime'

Jim Day
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A woman says her neighbours — a same-sex married couple — were terrified when suspected arson forced them to flee their home early Monday morning in Little Pond.

“They were super-afraid because they didn’t know if somebody was waiting for them outside the building,’’ said Maureen Campbell.

She says the two men were sleeping when the fire started. One man had to drag his partner out of the bungalow.

“It was a narrow escape and they were extremely frightened,’’ she said.

A minister is condemning the incident as a “hate crime’’.

“I was shocked and saddened to hear that the fire early on Monday morning in Little Pond was most likely deliberately set by an incendiary device tossed through a window,’’ Rev. Beth Johnston stated in an email to The Guardian.

“As the minister of the United Church community in the area I wish to go on record as deploring such hate crimes. The perpetrator or perpetrators of this crime need to be apprehended and brought to justice.’’

Police would not say if they are investigating the fire as a possible hate crime or as an attempted double murder.

RCMP Sgt. Bob Fogarty would only reiterate that the police consider the fire to be a criminal matter and that arson is suspected in the blaze that razed the couple’s home.

Members of the Souris RCMP and local fire departments responded to the bungalow fire at 4 a.m. Monday. Souris RCMP was also called to the same address after the mailbox was burned on Oct. 12.

The Guardian erroneously reported Wednesday that the property was targeted as a possible drug house. There is no evidence to support such a statement.

Campbell says both men are beyond reproach.

“My thoughts on the gentlemen, they are good neighbours, they are nice guys,’’ she said. “I’ve never known them to be disreputable.’’

Campbell says the couple certainly has not been courting trouble, but it found them just the same. She says the pair has endured unsettling harassment from an anonymous person or persons before the fire. She declined to detail the threatening actions.

“They are a very quiet couple and they are not an in-your-face gay type,’’ she said.

 

jday@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: United Church, RCMP

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Recent comments

  • Mike Wagner
    October 26, 2010 - 09:57

    How can we help?

  • Thaddeus Sholto
    October 24, 2010 - 23:28

    Well, well, well - what real men are living in Little Pond and surrounding area. Sneaking around under cover of darkness (fortified with lots of drink) and burning down houses with people inside. Could be a case of attempted murder. is their mother also their sister?

  • Wiggins
    October 24, 2010 - 23:17

    There are people in the area who know who did this and they should have the guts to to come forward. They may be afraid of the losers who burned down the house, but they need not be. It is one thing to sneak in the darkness and torch a house, but the cowards who did this will run and hide behind mommy's apron when confronted by decent people. The people of the area owe it to common decency to tell the police all they know. I just hope the people who know have the courage to stand up to the losers.

  • The Cat
    October 24, 2010 - 23:06

    Typical of many posters here. They take an incident of innocent people being burned out of their home and turn it into an argument of who is a flaming gay and who is not. That is not the point. The point is that two people fear for their lives in the community and that is not right. Little Pond and surrounding areas need to take a look deep into their soul and figure out what is wrong. Some people know who did this and it is their duty to come forward and speak to the police unless they are cowards and losers just like the people who torched the home. I just hope the area is not supporting cowards and losers. The morons who did this are not what you would call very intelligent so they will have a few beers some night and brag to the others about what kind of tough men they are and hopefully someone will have the courage to turn them in. Lets hope. Simple people who would do something like this do not deserve to live among us. They belong in jail.

  • what she was trying to say is...
    October 24, 2010 - 19:48

    I'm sure what she meant by that in your face comment was that they're not having gay pride parade in little pond. I hope they find out who did this and punish them-but their more likely to have a road check at the bottom of belles hill instead and try and catch someone who had 3 or 4 beers-or god forbid didn't register their vehicle last month!

  • Mark
    October 24, 2010 - 17:35

    to Islander in the PNW: I am also a member to the GLBTQ Community and I can tell you exactly how an "in-your-face" type of gay man is. It's members of our community that find it necessary to prance around and deliberately lisp as opposed to those of us who act like an average person and talk without a lisp... you know, those of us that do not allow our sexual orientation to define us. An "in-your-face" gay man acts this way for attention, in my opinion. It's people like that who make it difficult for the rest of us to have society treat us as equals. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.

  • Denise Holliday
    October 24, 2010 - 16:35

    I wish to say that I hope the people/person responsible is/are caught, and soon. I hope the damage was not to bad and that the couple recieve enough compensation to rebuild. Good luck.

  • Evidence seeker
    October 24, 2010 - 14:26

    I'm curious. Where is the evidence that this was a hate crime? Is there any evidence? Or are people just jumping to conclusions? If this was a hate crime, I hope the perpetrators are brought to justice to the full extent. But until that assumption is backed up by hard evidence, I will not judge one way or another. Don't assume. It only makes an ass out of u and me.

  • Islander in the PNW
    October 24, 2010 - 14:00

    Ms. Campbell...excuse my ignorance, but can you please define "an in-your-face gay type"? As a proud member of the LGBTQ community, I find that comment offensive, stereotypical, and discriminating.

  • Chris M.
    October 24, 2010 - 13:07

    As a fellow Gay male I hope the people who did this is brought to justice. However, I also hope that they charge the people with attempting to commit murder with extenuating (not sure how you spell it) circumstances. PS: All statistics show that when a country adds Hate Crimes Legislation to their books hate crimes have risen and not dropped. It is the law of unintended consequences as hateful people just get their dreams of a GBLT agenda fulfilled by the added legislation and get even more hateful.

  • Ted Gaudet
    October 24, 2010 - 10:25

    Certainly a very sad situation. People often say that there is too much propoganda and "in your face" LBGTQ messages are overdone yet we continue to see this type of crime and display of prejudice right in our backyard. Wake up, folks - the stigma and discrimination continues and although we have made much progress in gaining acceptance, much remains to be done to change society's understanding and true acceptance.

  • Sean
    October 23, 2010 - 22:59

    The reference to the "in your face gay type" of homosexual is pretty blatent. I think what the person meant by that is that its not like these guys were out flaunting their sexuality in the neighborhood and being offensive about it to warrent this sort of attack. No attack is right, but I think that's all the poster meant.

  • bill webber
    October 23, 2010 - 18:34

    People,People you must understand not one thing will REALLY be done about this .So except it,forget your self richeous indignation

    • Laura
      October 24, 2010 - 07:33

      I have a question Bill. I am wondering if you feel things won't change no matter how hard we try or do you not want them to change? Either way...no I will not except this and by turning a blind eye, you and I would be just as much as a monster as the individuals that did this!

    • Tim
      October 24, 2010 - 09:08

      Well, Bill, we're not going to accept it, and it's not self-righteous indignation. I always find it odd when people think that the response to injustice and official ignorance is to shrug and say 'oh, well'. You pursue all avenues necessary to get a positive result, and you don't stop until you do. It's like people who say they can't walk hand-in-hand with their same-sex partner in my town. I say: 'Well, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don't DO IT.' God knows I do...

  • in your face hetero
    October 23, 2010 - 15:43

    "They are a very quiet couple and they are not an in-your-face gay type,’’ she said. Can't imagine anyone ever saying that about straight people. "in-your-face straight type". What a thing to say. As if being in your face should matter. I think any homophobe thinks gay people are in their faces because they worry too much about people who are not the same as they are. And just on the heels of "Spirit Day", a day to support the GLBT community in response to young people and suicides. I hope I live to see the day when people finally see that we are all the same.

    • Concerned
      October 23, 2010 - 18:04

      Hope the cops get the people that did this and punish them to the full extent of the law. It's scary to think that there are still people out there who would target someone based on their sexual orientation but unfortunatly a sad reality. We are equal folks and all Islanders should stand up for each other regardless of who we are.

  • ConcernedIslander
    October 23, 2010 - 14:26

    This is absolutely terrible. The criminal(s) need to be caught and thrown in jail. Without a doubt, charge them for two attempted murders. Cowards and true scum of the earth.

    • MelMac
      October 24, 2010 - 11:44

      This is incomprehensible in 2010....This person or persons might as well dig out their KKK Robes !!! I hope they rot in prison !!!

  • Reece K
    October 23, 2010 - 12:25

    That last line is real classy, Guardian. This story makes me feel ill. It further shows the culture of homophobia that is so prevalent on our island. I cannot imagine having so much hatred in my heart that I have to burn down a house and potentially kill two people who have done nothing but love eachother.

  • Bill Bradley
    October 23, 2010 - 11:26

    This extremely embarrassing that this type of behavior could happen in our little province. This is something that you would expect from the early 1900's, are we not getting the message out loud and clear enough that we are ALL equal in the eyes of God, and therefore should be ALL considered equal in our rights to live a free and peaceful life. These people are not hurting anybody by being gay, so why terrorize them? I hope these cowards that did this action get caught and sent to a prison for two attempted murders along with their list of crimes. They should be put in the same cell as some huge gay guys that are against straight people. Then maybe we can see how much tough guys they are. I can't believe there aren't any more comments on here, when a fox got targeted, the comments went crazy.

  • Matt
    October 23, 2010 - 10:38

    Hopefully that find who did this and the person(s) are charged with attempted murder. This crime is disgusting.