While Appleton has come a long ways over the years and is generally a healthy, vibrant community with a lot of racial harmony, recent events have stirred up some racial tensions between the Hmong and white communities. The problem involves a Hmong man, Chuetoua (“Toua”) Lor, who was accosted by a white man while squirrel hunting. The man called the police and reported that Toua had pointed a gun at him. Toua was arrested and now faces felony charges that could result in 13 years in jail.
Toua is well known in the community as a gentle, cooperative man, a US citizen who has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with whites and others to build this community. He has a wife, kids, a home, a job, is active in his church, and is a true Appletonian. And the many people that know him, myself included, know that he is calm, gentle, lacks a temper, and would never threaten someone else except in pure self-defense.
Sadly, the local media don’t seem interested in Toua’s side of the story or in understanding the impact this case has on the Hmong community. They have unfairly and repeatedly linked this case – a case in which no one was injured in the least – with a massacre of six white hunters in 2004 by an angry Hmong man, Chai Vang. I’m pretty upset with how the press is handling this case, and how they are ignoring important aspects of the story. See my page, “The Challenge of Being Hmong: How a Gentle Hunter Got Arrested.” Also see my reports on the Appleton Blog: “Time for the Media to Cover the Rest of Toua Lor’s Story,” “Giving Up on the Post-Crescent,” “My Letter to the Post-Crescent on the Recent Hmong Hunting Case,” and The 2006 Hmong Hunter Story: Local Media Stirs Racial Tensions in Wisconsin.”