Jon Ferguson is lucky to be alive. Early Saturday morning, the Edmond, Oklahoma (in the Oklahoma City metro area), man man woke up to his car alarm going off. He rushed outside to find a group of vandals defacing his car. When he confronted them, they threw something into his car, causing it to explode. Ferguson was then taken to the hospital with first- and second-degree burns caused by the explosion.
That's not even it, though. The vandals also spray-painted the word "fag" on his car.
This obviously leads Ferguson, who lives as an openly gay man, and others to believe this was not merely a random act of arson, but a hate crime. It is currently being investigated as an arson, though, not a crime motivated by hate, although that may (hopefully) change. From News 9:
Ferguson says he spoke on Saturday with investigators with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department is investigating the fire and right now the case is considered to be an act of arson. Chief Homer Jones tells News 9 investigators plan to interview Ferguson again to obtain additional information and details, but right now there are no suspects.
What's even worse is the effect this has understandably had on Ferguson. He is now having second thoughts about his decision to come out and live openly.
It's almost not worth being proud of who you and trying to show you're gay because stuff like this really does happen. I've always seen it on the news that kids are dying and stuff because they're being bullied, and you're 25 years old and something like this happens to you. It's almost not worth it, and you understand why kids don't come out of the closet.I'm sure Ferguson isn't the only one in Oklahoma City wondering if it was wise to come out. And this is really what hate crimes are designed to do--victimize an entire community.
Scott J. Hamilton, the executive director of Cimarron Alliance, an Oklahoma LGBT advocacy group, has this to say:
When anyone is victimized in this way, it is a tragedy. When it is compounded by hate based only on sexual orientation, it victimizes an entire community. This horrific incident is a sad and vivid reminder that Oklahoma City's LGBT community is still not fully accepted. Cimarron Alliance will work diligently with authorities to make certain those responsible for this hate-based crime are punished to the fullest extent of the law. Hate is not an Oklahoma value and those responsible for this crime must be brought to justice.This is a senseless act of violence and, more than that, an attempt to intimidate Ferguson and Oklahoma City's LGBT community. We can only hope that the perpetrators see the inside of a courtroom very soon.