Victim of an SUV-Hate Crime

Gareth Groves's Hummer was recently vandalized outside of his home in the District.
Gareth Groves's Hummer was recently vandalized outside of his home in the District. (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)
By Warren Brown
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gareth Groves has every right to be angry. But he said he isn't that kind of person.

"I've been pretty calm about all of this," said Groves, a District resident who last week became the latest victim of a Hummer bashing. "I'm trying to stay calm," Groves said. "I'm trying not to get angry."

It's hard work.

Groves was awakened by police at 3:30 a.m. Monday. One of the officers apologized to him for being "the bearer of bad news."

"He asked me if I was the owner of a Hummer," Groves recalled. "I told him that I was. He told me that my Hummer had been damaged."

Groves was thinking sideswipe, hit and run, the kind of thing that often happens to vehicles parked on urban streets. He never imagined that his 2005 Hummer H2 SUT (Sport Utility Truck) Crew Cab had been battered by bats, sliced with knives and whacked and hacked in the rear by what investigating officers suspected was a machete.

He was speechless.

He intended to remain speechless.

But some sympathetic neighbors who saw the damaged truck urged him to speak up. He resisted. "So, one of my neighbors called the media," Groves said.

He said he didn't want the publicity, didn't want to answer the questions many of us feel we shouldn't have to answer about exercising our freedom of choice in a putatively free marketplace.

"I figured the only thing the media would want to know is why I bought a Hummer, instead of focusing on what happened," said Groves, who holds an undergraduate degree in communications.

What happened was a crime, a violent attack on personal property. The battering and slicing were accompanied by an inscription ("FOR THE ENVIRON") scratched into the body of Groves's four-wheel-drive Hummer. That possibly elevates the attack to an act of eco-terrorism, according to some law enforcement officers who interviewed Groves.

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