The message “9-11 Go Home” was spray-painted on the exterior wall of State Line Grocery, heavily damaged by the fire reported at 2:40 a.m. [EDT] on Wednesday, Clay County Sheriff Vic Davis told Hatewatch. The convenience store, reportedly owned by a Sikh family, is located three miles south of Hayesville, N.C., in Clay County, on State Highway 69 near the Georgia border. It was closed at the time of the fire. Arvinder Singh, who operates the store and lives nearby, was not injured. He could not be reached for comment.
“There’s a possibility,” the sheriff said when asked if the arson fire appeared to be a hate crime. “What leads us to believe it may be a hate crime is what’s written on the side of the building,’’ the sheriff said. “These are foreigners that run that place, you know.”
There is this sentimentalized picture of us, after 9/11, baking cakes for firefighters and donating blood and deciding to be nicer to our neighbors for about a week. We remember it that way because we have to, because it's human to want to justify something so frightening. It made us better people! It made us stronger! Which, as I said earlier, places responsibility on the wrong party, on the thing that happened, rather than on ourseves.
We made us better, we made us stronger, we made us braver.
We made us this, too:
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sikhs increasingly have been the targets of hate crimes. In March, Surinder Singh, 65, was shot and killed in Elk Grove, Calif., while walking with his friend, Gurmej Atwal, 78, who was critically wounded and later died. Both men were wearing dastars [traditional Sikh turbans] and long beards common to men of that faith.
There have been no arrests in that double-murder investigation.