This crime has always chilled me to the bone. I didn't realize at the time that James Byrd's throat was cut before he was dragged to his death. Someone could not commit that monstrous an act without having a real sickness, an incredible amount of hatred, and a large capacity for violence. "Sociopath" comes to mind. It's certainly as horrific as anything you hear from World War II or Iraq or Serbia.
Why is it that this level of hatred is so often inspired by religion, orientation, and race? Why aren't these crimes as often found to be solely political? I know it also happens in families and other close, intimate situations, but it seems that bigotry is an incredibly efficient fan for the flames of hatred.
I am nominating the death of James Byrd for the Murder Hall of Shame, which I just created in my head as I type.