Vandals target LGBT newspaper in Salem

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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Early on Tuesday 23 August, an explosion was reported on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Vandals had placed an explosive device inside a newspaper box carrying The Rainbow Times (the largest newspaper for the LGBT community of New England) and detonated it, destroying the box.

Salem police are now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime against the LGBT community.

‘There are clearly other newspaper stands around it, and they’re not being touched, so this is a particular, targeted hate crime,’ Salem Police Chief Mary Butler said.

Recently released surveillance footage from a nearby security camera shows a group of seven people walking to the newspaper box at 1:19am and running just before the box explodes. The police believe that fireworks were also used in the act.

According to Gricel Ocasio, publisher of The Rainbow Times, this is only the most recent in a series of attacks against the paper. Once a box was filled with trash and another box was kicked in.

Ocasio has remained firm in her determination to keep the paper running in the face of these circumstances.

‘This is a form of censorship. I guess, perhaps, they thought they can silence us and we would be gone. We will not be silenced. We have two new boxes coming into the city.’

As of this time, no suspects have been identified.

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