Okla. Gay Man Says Car Explosion was a Hate Crime
A gay man from Oklahoma City, says he is the victim of a hate crime after he almost died when his car exploded in front of him, the Oklahoma City news station News 9 reported.
The incident occurred outside of Jon Ferguson's home. The 25-year-old says he was awakened in the middle of the night by his car alarm and when he went outside, his car, which was covered in homophobic slurs, was being vandalized by a number of people. When he got closer to the group, one of the individuals threw something into his car, which caused the vehicle to explode.
Ferguson ran in his home to call the police and to wash off parts of his shirt that melted from the explosion. He was sent to the hospital and suffered first and second degree burns on his face, arms and torso.
The vandals also spray-painted "fag" on the hood of Ferguson's car, which may suggest that the incident was a hate crime.
"It's almost not worth being proud of who you are and trying to show you're gay because stuff like this really does happen," Ferguson told the news station. "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."
Ferguson talked with local authorities but the case is currently being investigated. The Oklahoma City Fire Department is considering the case to be an act of arson.
It was reported two years ago that Phillip Nelson, then a 24-year-old college student from Claremore (a small town north of Tulsa), claims he was beaten by three men who screamed "faggot" and "You're going to die!" He also says that his attackers broke into his apartment a few days later, trashed his place and wrote, "fag" on his wall.
Oklahoma does not have any hate crime laws that protect individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.