In the movie A Time to Kill, an adolescent girl named Tonya Hailey is brutally battered, raped, and left for dead in a small southern town by two white supremacist men; Billy Ray Cobb and James Louis Willard. As she is walking home, a car approaches; two gentlemen confront her and start kicking and punching her. Then they rape her. Not just once, but twice. She cries out, looking away, and begging them to stop. As she looks up at the heavens above for guidance, she screams for her dad. When the attack ended, the men tossed her aside in the ditch, leaving her in hopes she will die. All the citizens in the town knew of these men as drunks; people that committed crimes and broke the law, like it was ok to do. What they did not realize was that Billy and James are going through an identity crisis.
These two men grew up in an old fashioned southern town, a town that was well known for dominance of white males. The attack on Tonya Hailey wasn’t a crime of racism; this was a crime of callous, personal insecurity, and hatred of who they really may be. If these two men were anything but straight, they would be considered exile. They wouldn’t be part of the “group.” Therefore, they seek out and commit crimes, break the law and create problems for the town as a way to lash out there hidden pain.
During the movie Billy and James were drinking and driving through a small town, viewing likely pray, they approach a boy and toss a beer can at him. Many people would think this was a hate crime, and indeed it is. Hatred because the boy appeared to be “normal,” just an innocent boy walking down the road, why couldn’t Billy and James be like him? If he’s “normal,” then maybe he is ok with who he is in life. He appears to have figured out his male dominance and is accepted by all, where as Billy and James need to create attention to be recognized and create commotion to be talked about. This made Billy and James very envious so they struck him.
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