Homeless Beatings Surge, Videos Online Hits
Over the past decade, at least 880 homeless people have been attacked, and at least 244 killed in unprovoked attacks by nonhomeless, reports the National Coalition for the Homeless. In October, Maryland will become the first U.S. state to expand its hate-crime law to include attacks on the homeless.
The number of attacks have increased over the last couple of years, spawning a disturbing new trend - "bum fight" videos, in which generally young, white men, randomly attack a homeless person, or pay them to fight each other. There are reportedly close to 90,000 videos of homeless people involved in fights on Youtube.
The number of attacks on homeless people might in fact be much higher than statistics show, as many of the victims are afraid of going to the police. The National Coalition of the Homeless' report states that rates of assault, rape and other forms of violence is much higher against homeless people then almost any other group.
"They have become a new minority group that is okay to hate. If this would have happened to any other minority group, there would be some boycotts or protests," said National Coalition for the Homeless director Michael Stoops.
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Clearlake, California, United States