Maybe there needs to be a white supremacist offender registry so that Black people and people of color can find out if their neighbors happen to be armed and dangerous neo-Nazis who will hunt them down, even while they are in the confines of their homes.
On February 22, 2017, two families of color were fortunate to have survived their racist white neighbor’s shooting spree as she fired a gun into their homes while one family ate dinner and the other family got ready for bed. The Columbia, S.C., woman—whom numerous witnesses said shouted racial slurs while shooting into a Hispanic family’s house first, and then into a Black family’s apartment—was convicted of her crimes Friday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
WIS 10 reports that 48-year-old Mandy Morrow Fortson was found guilty of attempted murder, discharging a firearm into a dwelling and breach of peace—everything she was charged with after her 2017 arrest for shooting into her neighbor’s houses in Richland County’s Rosewood Community and wounding one of her Black neighbors who came outside to confront her.
Witnesses reported that when the Black neighbor came outside to ask Fortson to stop shooting, he was shot in his hip and wrist. According to ABC News, authorities said Forston resisted the officers who arrived at the scene to arrest her. (I know. We’re all thinking the same thing.)
According to The State, Forston denied doing any of the shooting at trial, but 5th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson said basically that she’s a liar who shot into two homes, both of which had children inside.
“All the shooting was from her backyard,” he said Sunday. “She fired six shots and then reloaded.”
A judge sentenced Fortson to 15 years for the attempted murder charge, while the other charges earned her another five years.
The State noted that earlier this year, the S.C. House “passed a hate crimes law that would have enhanced penalties in crimes with proven racial or other overtones” if the state Senate hadn’t adjourned without voting on it. This means Fortson likely would have gotten more time if a certain political party wasn’t so full of lawmakers who are indifferent when it comes to legislation aimed at combating racism.
Even Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, whose department investigated Fortson’s case, agrees that hate crime legislation is needed.
“This shows the need for a hate crime law,” Lott told The State. “A hate crime law would have allowed the judge to enhance her sentence.”
Seriously, a lot of people of color in the area might have slept better knowing that Fortson won’t be back on the streets in 20 years to go on another racist-and-deadly rampage, but at least they can sleep knowing she won’t be home any time soon.
You can’t fix this level of racism; you can only lock it away.