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Informer: Hate crime statute applies to several offenses

Last Modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:57 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

I find it interesting that the U.S. Wildlife Service won’t feed the animals because they will become dependent, but 48 million people are on SNAP.

But my question is, what constitutes a hate crime? Do people actually murder people because they love them?

Under state law, a hate crime is any of several offenses — not just murder — committed by people who act based on their victims’ “actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry” or on victims’ “actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization.”

The offenses include first- and second-degree murder; manslaughter; battery; aggravated assault with a firearm; rape; carnal knowledge of a juvenile; molestation of a juvenile or a person with a physical or mental disability; kidnapping; arson; property damage; contaminating water supplies; burglary; armed robbery; purse snatching; extortion; theft; grave desecration; institutional vandalism; and drive-by shooting.

Incidentally, the proper name of the agency is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But the federal body mentioned in the apparent source of the “interesting” observation — a widely disseminated email and message post titled “A Lesson in Irony” — is actually the National Park Service.

Data, context

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 — the latest year for which data are available — 20.8 percent to 24.9 percent of Calcasieu Parish children ages 5-17 living in families lived in poverty.

The determination is based on “poverty thresholds,” which themselves are based on families’ income and size and on the ages of their members. For example, the poverty threshold for a family of four, including two children, is $22,811. For a family of two, including one child, it’s $15,504.

The range was the same for Beauregard and Vernon parishes, 20.8 percent to 24.9 percent. In Allen and Jeff Davis it was 25 percent to 31 percent. In Cameron Parish it was 13.6 percent to 20.7 percent.

The proportion of the total parish population that was living in poverty in 2011 ranged from 19.9 percent to 24.7 percent for Allen and Jeff Davis, 15.9 percent to 19.8 percent for Calcasieu and Beauregard, and 11.4 percent to 15.8 percent for Cameron and Vernon.

The population figures for each parish, as counted in the 2010 census: Allen, 25,764; Beauregard, 35,654; Calcasieu, 192,768; Cameron, 6,839; Jeff Davis, 31,594; Vernon, 52,334.

The number of participants in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, for 2011, by parish, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service:

Allen — 4,966.

Beauregard — 5,594.

Calcasieu — 35,231.

Cameron — 636.

Jeff Davis — 5,478.

Vernon — 6,821.

As of Feb. 8, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service reported that 47.6 million people, or 22.98 million households, were participating in SNAP this fiscal year at a cost so far of $12.8 billion.

The average monthly benefit is $134.55 per person, or $278.83 per household.


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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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