When Targets of Hate Violence Strike Back

It’s not often that hate crimes end so poetically. But two recent stories offered up nearly perfect — even comic — portrayals of justice at work.

The first came one night last July, when Marlon L. Baker walked into a Bayview, Idaho, bar only to find himself almost immediately confronted by neo-Nazi skinhead Daren Christopher Abbey.

Abbey told Baker he had better leave because of the color of his skin. Baker left the bar, only to be followed by Abbey, who continued taunting and harassing him. Fearing for his safety, Baker felled the skinhead with a single punch to the face, knocking him to the ground. When Abbey regained consciousness, he was arrested and booked into jail on charges of battery, a misdemeanor, and felony malicious harassment.

As Abbey was being led away in handcuffs, he was apparently able to see the backside of the T-shirt Baker was wearing. It read “Spokane Boxing Club champion.”

Daren Christopher Abbey
Rick Welliver, the owner of Spokane Boxing and Martial Arts, a local gym, said that to his knowledge Baker has never been a licensed, professional boxer but that he might have had some informal experience. “I’m happy Marlon finally won a fight,” Welliver said. “But he’s not a boxer.”

A similar scenario played out in Bellingham, Wash., five months later, when another warrior of the radical right — drunken again, it seems — screamed epithets at a lesbian couple outside a bar, then smashed the rear window of their car. That didn’t scare the women. One of them, in fact, grabbed William Adam Lane and held him until police arrived.

An amused police official later recounted the uncommon daring, telling the Intelligence Report that the couple had not merely “detained” Lane. “He was thrown to the ground!” he said.