hate crimes

Chris Staples Was Told He Would ‘Burn In Hell.’ Then His House Was Set On Fire

Chris Staples, a 40-year-old Georgia man who’s been out for more than twenty years, says on Sunday he “was watching TV and just finished smoking a cigarette and I heard this big thud. Boom!” That’s when a rock went through his window. Attached to it was a piece of paper with anti-gay slurs drawn all over it. (With crayon, I’m guessing, because that’s how Georgia bigots roll.) Read the note: “We know you’re gay. And God hates gays. You won’t be raping anybody in the county and God’s going to make sure that you burn in hell.” But that wasn’t the worst of it. Three hours later, Staples awoke inside his home, southwest of Atlanta, filled with smoke: his bedroom was on fire, the result of an arson attack. “The house was black. And all I could see was an orange glow behind my head.” Even the local police are stunned. “This is the first time I’ve dealt with anything of this nature in 16 years,” says Capt. Shane Taylor of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.