A Burning in Alabama

The savage murder of a gay man stuns a state where hate-crime laws do not protect homosexuals

This is not the type of place where this happens," city council president George Carlton told a reporter, after the horror became public in his hometown, Sylacauga, Ala. He echoed what was said in Jasper, Texas, a year ago. Few people then had ever heard of Jasper. A week ago, even fewer could have pointed out Sylacauga on a map. A tiny city of 13,000, halfway between Birmingham and Montgomery, Sylacauga was known for its white marble quarries, textile mills and ice-cream factory. But last week Sylacauga, like Jasper, became a chapter in the recent history of hatred.

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