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Trouble in the north woods

About a year ago, a Hmong immigrant living in northwestern Wisconsin was accused of shooting and killing six fellow deer hunters who were white. He claimed it was self-defense, and was supported by the Hmong immigrant community who reported regular tensions with the white residents of the area. Last week, the verdict was handed down by the all-white jury: Hmong Man Found Guilty in Hunter Deaths. The Marquette Mining Journal ran a background article on the racial tensions between whites and the immmigrants in the area (Racial tension still seen in small town after murder verdict.)

From the Mining Journal article: "The killings occurred in November after the hunters confronted Vang and accused him of trespassing. The jury rejected his claims he shot in self-defense after one hunter used racial slurs and another fired at him." The group of white hunters seemingly (and perhaps unexpectedly) faced a formidable foe: "He told jurors he was on the rifle team in high school in California and later served in the National Guard, where he was trained to shoot to kill. He also described himself as an experienced hunter," according to the Yahoo/AP article.

So see, it's not just the American south where you find ugly racial incidents. What the truth is, I don't claim to know. I do remember from my years at school in the U.P. that the most divisive race-related comments I've encountered came from a student from Wisconsin complaining about native Americans in the county where he came from. Between that and the hunter shooting incident, I suspect tolerance is not as common in northern Wisconsin as it ought to be.


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