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Thursday, November 02, 2006


Putting the Hmong Hunter Story on Hold

I have removed my Web page on the Hmong hunter incident, given that it has caused so much concern and pain for the folks in Liberty.

This post previously dealt with a report of booby traps in the Liberty area with possible connections to hunting problems out there. But local residents have made some good points in identifying problems with the report. (Their comments to the original post of Oct. 23 are still attached here.) They have also made some good points in criticizing my posts about the media's handling of the Toua Lor hunting case. I have had several people feel that I was damaging Mr. van Dinter, as if I had implied he was a racist. That is terribly wrong and missed the point I was trying to make. In no way have I suggested that Mr. van Dinter was racist. I have stated that he seems like a reasonable individual and that he may have acted in good faith. But the media emphasis of a HMONG hunter versus an obviously white landowner has clearly stirred racial tensions, especially by repeatedly bringing up the Chai Vang massacre of white hunters. The racial overtones in the reporting of the story cannot be ignored - but that doesn't mean that race was a factor in what happened in the woods. I repeat, Mr. van Dinter strikes me as a decent and pleasant guy and not as some kind of racist. The whole mess with the hunting incident is unfortunate for both parties - though remember that the accused faces 13 years in jail. But if I've said anything that has caused pain for Mr. van Dinter, I am deeply sorry. The fact that almost no one reads this blog or has read the page I have now withdrawn should be of some comfort, I hope.

Again, if anyone has interpreted by complaints on media coverage or my discussion of Hmong community concerns to mean that I think racism was involved in Mr. van Dinter's actions, I am deeply sorry. That is not what I mean.

My post with the final letter-to-the-editor contains some updated statements, including this one, based on clarifications I have received from some people in Liberty:
Now let me point out that if someone had pointed a gun at me under these circumstances, I, too, would have called the police. Calling the police to report such a thing was surely a reasonable and responsible action. My concern is not with the man who reported Toua, but how the media reported the story.

While I've been trying to share the viewpoints of some in the Hmong community who feel that Toua has been treated unfairly by the press, and who feel that Hmong hunters have been treated unfairly in some other cases, the input from Town of Liberty folks helps me realize that the way I've discussed the story may be unkind toward them or toward Mr. van Dinter, which is not my intent. I'm sorry for that, and also sorry for not being accurate in my reference to the town official comments that were printed in some papers. I appreciate his input to correct my misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
What Mr. Lindsay fails to let the readers now is this:

1. Mr. Lor was trespassing on both his way in and out of the Tigerton Land.

2. Mr. Lor confessed to the deputies EVERYTHING that he has been accused of, including pointing his gun at the resident.

3. Mr. Lor was not only trespassing during the first confrontation, but was also shooting within 100 yards of a home meant for human occupancy withouth the owners permission. That owner was Mr. VanDinter, and Mr. Lor was breaking the LAW.

4. Did Mr. Lor even have a hunting license?

5. Mr. Lor entered the Tigerton property from the South. This means that he trespassed across TWO properties on his way in and out of the Tigerton land.

6. Mr. Lor NEVER asked any of these people for permission to cross their land.

7. The Mormon Church and Dorothy Johnson are fighting to save Mr. Lor and are using Dorthy's status as the ex-mayor of Appleton to distort the truth, while hurting the VanDinter family. For this judging alone, they are not acting in a Christian fashion at all.

Please, as a resident of the Town of Liberty, I urge all readers of Mr. Lindsay's lies and filth to seek the truth that he is either ignoring, or hiding from his messages. Mr. Lor may be a good man, but this is about how a good man reached a point where he pointed a gun at a fellow resident and demanded that he state that Mr. Lor was not a liar, when Mr. VanDinter did this, Mr. Lor replied, "Good, because Liars Die".

Sound like a person that we should roam the city streets and hunt in the woods? I'm glad the DA office has sworn to prosecute Mr. Lor regardless of Ms. Johnson and the Mormon Church/Cult pressure.

A concerned Liberty Resident
Very interesting. First, thank you for your comments and for sharing information and opinions. Second, I apologize if I have provided any incorrect information. I've used the information that was available and have no intention of spreading "filth and lies." Third, let me clarify that I do not know for sure what actually happened in the woods that day. I think Stephen van Dinter as well as Toua Lor may have acted in good faith, but seriously misunderstanding what the other was saying or doing. My primary beef has been with how the media have mischaracterized the event, how they excerbated racial tensions, and how they have failed to consider other aspects of the story.

Let me address the points you raise, based on what I know.

1. How do you know Mr. Lor was trespassing? Stephen accused him of trespassing his property, but he did not see any such trespassing. Mr. Lor said he had permission from a man named Charlie to cross his land and enter Tigerton property. Is there evidence that this was incorrect?

2. Mr. Lor has not plead guilty and is disputing the charges against him. What makes you think that he has confessed to the crime that he is accused of? If you are referring to what's in the police report, please note that he was questioned by a police officer in his home WITHOUT an interpreter to help him and before his rights were read to him. Based on his English skills, I do not think that Mr. Lor understood the details of what was being asked. A series of yes or no answers to various questions, for example, might get written up in the police report as if the defendent made a lengthy and eloquent statement, when that may not be the case. Mr. Lor may have said he did point a gun, but was it motivated by self-defense? Was the gun loaded and capable of killing? Was it really pointed at the body of the Mr. van Dinter with wanton disregard for his life? If you were at the preliminary hearing, as I was, you would have seen the accuser demonstrate how Toua held the gun. It was in a loose position at the side of his body, and the trigger finger was, as I recall, not positioned as if it were on the trigger. There is a difference between holding a gun in a threatening manner and pointing it at someone, finger on the trigger, ready to fire. I may be wrong in my interpretation of what I saw - we'll let the court figure that out. But even if the gun was loaded and aimed at the person, and even if Toua admits to that, that is not the same as confessing to the crime of reckless endangerment that he is accused of. If it were self-defense, for example, it might not be reckless endangerment. There is a high legal standard required if the incident is to be a genuine felony. We will have to wait for the trial, I guess, to know if it was. Yes, it's possible that a truly unbiased jury might find Toua guilty. As a friend of his, I obviously hope that is not the case, but I do not know.

3. Mr. vanDinter believes Toua was just inside his property when they first met, but I don't think that has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt. If he was shooting in a forbidden area, then yes, that would be wrong.

4. I don't know if he had a license. I assume so, if one is required for squirrel hunting, since he has been a hunter for years and knows the law.

5. You may be right, but he has stated that he had permission from Charlie Weber to use his property to gain access. Do you know for sure that he trespassed? Sorry - I don't know the area and don't know if his statement makes physical sense. If he did cross someone else's land to get fromo Charlie Weber's place to Tigerton property, it could well be out of ignorance and in good faith.

6. How do you know that he never asked anyone for permission? Didn't the police report provide some substantiation for his claim of having asked for permission - based on a report that there was at least a voice mail message relayed from a family member of the Weber's about a message from Toua about using the land again to gain access to hunting?

7. The Mormon Church is not involved in this case, but some Mormon friends, Baptist friends, and non-Christian friends of Mr. Lor have offered moral support. Dorothy Johnson, who is LDS, showed up at Toua's first court appearance. She was not at the preliminary hearing, but I was. Yes, I'm Mormon, too. But I'm not the Church, and the Church is not involved. Toua's father-in-law is a Baptist minister, and some of his family were there at the hearing. So is the Baptist Church also involved? Look, I know you're upset, but blaming a religion in this matter is inappropriate. Also, could you explain what you mean when you say that supporters of Toua are distorting the truth and hurting the VanDinter family? Is My VanDinter facing 13 years in prison? Has he been linked to a mass murderer? Has his family and race been impugned on the basis of a crime from two years ago that has no direct relationship to this misunderstanding? Has he had crazed reporters trespassing his property and scaring his children? Has he had to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to have a chance at remaining with his family for the next 13 years? Did he have to come up with many thousands of dollars to get of out jail, burdened with an unusually high bond because of his race? I think there might be a different perspective here about who is being harmed.

As to what happened in the heat of the moment in the woods, I really don't know. Was there actually a threat against Mr. vanDinter's life? Perhaps - I don't know. I don't know what Toua said and why. The jury will have to figure that out. But even if he is guilty of a felony, the reporting on this case has been truly disappointing.

Even if Mr. vanDinter was acting kindly and in good faith - and I think that's entirely possible and think he's a reasonable person, based on his demeanor - there are still some broader questions that the media could be asking. There is a track record of unkindness toward Hmong hunters, especially since the Chai Vang massacre. (And yes, there have been problems with Hmong hunters not knowing or following rules and laws.) So shouldn't the media be at least raise the question of whether or not it's risky for Hmong hunters to hunt at all? And isn't there a risk that an angry or upset white hunter - I'm not saying that this applies to Mr. vanDinter - could accost a Hmong hunter in the woods and get him thrown in jail? At least, that's what the Hmong community is worried about. I hope you can see that their perspective might be different, and certainly hasn't been represented in the media.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. You must know Mr. vanDinter and thus have access to different information and perspectives than I do, so I can understand that we are on different wavelengths. Let's see what happens in court.
Jeff, once again you are ignoring the facts and are not willing to see the forrest through the trees:

1. Look at ANY plat map and you will see that to gain access to Ort (Tigerton) land from Mr. Webers land, Mr. Lor would have had to pass through land owned by the Krause's, Vandinters, and Voracheks. NONE of these people gave him permission to do this.

2. Mr. Lor WAS questioned AFTER he was read his rights. I have the reports (public access) and Mr. Lor is a liar if he thinks he will get away with distorting the truth on that. He confessed to pointing the gun at Mr. VanDinter and he said it VERY plainly. Mr. Lor has not plead guilty, you are correct. For that, the DA's office will not be (should not be) offereing any deals. The facts against Mr. Lor are insurmountable and he should plea it out if he and his lawyer are smart. One thing you FAIL to mention is that YOU are bringing race into this. Not once have I mentioned Mr. Lor's race nor have we the local residents made this a race issue. YOU are playing the race card as is Mr. Lor's family, church, and attorney. That is a mistake. Yes, Mr. VanDinter is WHITE, please STOP reminding people of that and making it an issue. Thats NOT the point. Mr. VanDinter does not have the ability to lie and he is a very hoenst and nice person. Get to know him before you cast aspersions trying to make people believe that he was racially motivated. You are as far from the truth as you can be.

3. Mr. Lor's position on the first confrontation IS a known and proven fact. BUT, that doesn't matter. He was shooting within 100 yards of a home which is against the law. If he has been a hunter for as long as you say, then he should have known that. Ignorance of the law is not and can not be a defense.

4. You say he knows the law, read item 3 above.

5. Look at a plat map before dilluting the issue. Mr. Weber does NOT have access to the Tigerton/Ort land. That is NOT the legal access. Mr. Weber gave Mr. Lor bad data, but that is Mr. Lor's fault since the law requires that ALL hunters KNOW where they are hunting at all times. Ignorance of property lines is not a defense and the laws are clear there. Mr. Lor could not have possibly entered that land without trespassing across TWO parcels owned by others who DID NOT give Mr. Lor permission. Those are the facts.

6. I know the neighbors involved and have talked to them. NONE of them, aside from MR. Weber, gave him permission. That is a fact and will be detailed in court. I have made sure the DA's office knows those people's addresses and to contact them. Mr. Weber had no right to grant access to land that did not butt up to his land. This is the MAIN misunderstanding, but again, Mr. Lor MUST know where he is at at all times. The law is clear on this.

7. You people from the local churches SHOULD talk about and attest to the character of Mr. Lor. But that is where you must end it. To try and make others believe that Mr. VanDinter is a racist or that the woods are booby trapped is pure lies and very un-Christian. You are DAMAGING a man who has NO police record. Mr. Lor does. You are damaging a man and his family in hopes of saving your friend and this is NOT something God would approve of. Stick to what you know, and leave your "guesses" out of it. Speak from you brain and not your heart as doing something different hurts people like Mr. VanDinter. I would ask you to walk one mile in Steve's shoes from the moment the conflict happened until now. Do THAT with your heart and see if you can continue to try and make others think there is an element of racisim or hatred here. If you still can, then the hatred is in YOUR heart....not Steve's.

IF you want facts in the case, I would suggest you contact the local official who lives there. He was on the news that evening. I won't give out his name or address, but that should be pretty easy to get. He lives right there and knows the data behind the case. He also knows Steve fairly well. By all means, I urge you to look at a plat map and realize that EVERYTHING Mr. Lor did with respect to LOCATION was a violation of the law. Those facts, coupled with Mr. Lor's prior record, will go a long way to helping the DA expose the REAL truth to the Jury.

A Concerned Resident of Liberty
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Subject: Poor Geographical references by Mr. Jeff Lindsay

If one reads the orignal post by Mr. Lindsay, they would actually think he knows a thing or 2 about the area he called "Ski Hill". Well....he doesn't. Their is a COUNTY PARK right there called VIEW RIDGE PARK and it is a natural park (no improvements). It used to be an old ski hill, but was donated to the County for $1. It is a COUNTY park and hunting is NOT allowed in it. Nor is the carrying of weapons of ANY type. Yes, there have been problems there and MANY people have been ejected by local officials, deputies, and local residents.

Jeff, do NOT confuse this with the real issue at hand. The Tigerton property adjoins this park and the people you have supposedly talked to about being ejected from that park were ejected LEGALLY and for due cause. Where Toua was hunting was on private land which is part of the Managed Forest Open program. I don't know if he was trespassing during the first or second confrontation, but you are confusing two entirely different parcels. NOBODY has been kicked off of the Tigerton land who had gained LEGAL permission to access it. Toua did not gain that legal permission based on the previous posters data.

As for Booby traps....thats hog wash. There has been trespassing issues across the street in a farmers field. Young kids like to take their trucks into his field and do spins, etc. while destroying large parts of his crops. At one time he was saying he was going to lay down boards with nails in his field, but that was never done as far as any of us know.

Bottom line Jeff, your facts are wrong on the location. The other posters have pointed out their issues, but logistically speaking, you are also incorrect.

View Ridge Neighbor
Just to further clarify a point that a previous poster made. The PARK is where the ERT team for Outagamie County has held some drills, not on the land where Lor was hunting. If he was hunting in the park, then he would REALLY be in big trouble. He can't go in there AT ALL with a gun cased or not, and there are signs all over stating that.

Were the neighbors "involved" as the author states? Nope. The County simply calls or sends them a letter so that IN CASE they are in the park that day, and they see ERT members doing their drills, they don't freak out thinking it is a manhunt of some kind. This is a COUNTY park, and the COUNTY uses it for this type of training.

Neighbor of the Park
Thanks for the helpful clarifications. I've withdrawn the report I received on booby traps, in spite of the man's first-hand experience, because it may not be fair and there may be some geographical problems with it, as you point out. I also recognize the value of the points you folks are making regarding the details of the story, the land issues, and so forth.

I am really troubled that someone thought I was trying to saw Stephen was a racist. NO NO NO! I did hear him and have states that I thought he was reasonable and may have acted in good faith. The issue of "white man versus Hmonmg" is not from him, but is how the media has spun the story, like it or not. But the fact that there are racial overtones in the story, and in the community's reaction to it, does NOT mean that race was an issue with what Stephen did in the woods.

There are questions that the media could be asking, though, or at last considering, that have been left out. And there is a perspective of Hmong people who feel that they have been harassed while hunting - isn't there at least a general story to consider, other perspectives to raise? To ask this generic question does not mean that I think Stephen was racially motivated in any way. And again, I really don't know what happened in the woods.

Look, if a gun was pointed, it's a terribly scary situation. If someone pointed a gun at me, I'd call the police and be very upset.

Anyway, I've taken down the page that focuses on the Hmong perspective.
Given the new insights I've received from some of you this week, I think I should offer some form of apology for being harsh on the neighbors, on Mike Ubl, and unintentionally harsh on Steve van Dinter. Look, I'd seriously be willing to come out and talk with any of you to offer that apology and better understand your perspectives. Or, since you're all probably too ticked at me to want that, I'd be willing to do something like create a post with your statements (nothing too nasty, please) and perhaps a land plat / map to help people understand the area better. And I'd like to include some guidelines on what hunters should and should not do to make sure that they respect property rights, have the propery permissions, avoid unsafe practices, etc. I've heard comments from people of two races suggesting that there is a need to clarify some of these hunting tips, rules, and laws, to help provide problems in the future.

Would any of that help?

Really, I do not wish to offend the people in Liberty. I regret having been over zealous in my rants on the subject - that appears to be the case, based on your info - and would like to take steps toward fixing things rather than stirring things up.
"The fact that almost no one reads this blog or has read the page I have now withdrawn should be of some comfort, I hope."

Keep in mind, though, that thanks to Google caching, merely removing a story from your blog doesn't mean its erased from the Internet permanently. Posts previously entered that have been removed are likely still searchable and accessible. That's why bloggers must carefully weigh what they write about.
That's a fair point. But I am actively working to correct factual errors and provide opportunities for those with better information to share it. I think the improved information is what people are going to find.

Small readership is absolutely no excuse for sloppy reporting or jumping to hasty conclusions.
All these readers including myself has no idea what happened that day. Of course, if you know Mr. Lor you are going to be on his side and if you know Mr. VanDinter you're going to back him up 100%. From everything I've read and heard from the media, I believe these two men are probably two very good men who just misunderstood each other.
What record does Mr. Lor have?? Excuse me!!!! You don't know what you are talking about. Mr. Lor DOES NOT have any records at all. The only record he has was when he married his wife 13 years ago. The marriage was recoginzed in the culture. They are happily married. Please don't talk like you know him because you don't.

1. Mr. Lor was not trespaassing. I also have a map. He had every right to be there. Mr. VanDinter just didn't want him to be there and he said it himself in court. He knew it was public land.

2. No, Mr. Lor did not confess to EVERYTHING. He WAS NOT read his right until the interview was done.

3. The first confrontation had nothing to do with the second confrontation.

4. Yes, Mr. Lor did have a hunting license.

5. Why don't you go ask your neighbor Charlie Webber? Or is he too scared to face the truth?

6. How do you know Mr. Lor never asked ANYONE for permission.

7. The Morman Church and Dorothy Johnson are supporting Mr. Lor and there is nothing wrong with that. She has the right to support anyone she wants. You have your chairman and they have the ex-mayor of Appleton.
Another Blog to discuss this issue appears to have been created here:
To say that he doesn't have a record at all is plain foolish and blind. Simply search the state records and look for TOUA LOR.

If what you find does not constitute a record in your mind, then there is something wrong with you. Jeff has explained WHY he has that record, and that helps to explain a lot. But to deny that the record exists it plain foolish.

About like the rest of your points. However, thanks for clarifying that he did have a license. That was an issue we were not aware of. The rest of your arguments make no sense at all....
I am so glad I do not live in Wisconsin anymore!
Let everyone know that the Hmongs will not sit still and let others trounce on them. Let everyone know that we are not the docile Asians you conjure up in your storytellings and lies. I dare you to cross my path and order me off public land. I'll show you my rights to bear arm.
Ooooooooh. He sounds like such a mean guy. Probably some 13 year old on poppasan's PC and owns a pellet gun.

Hmong Joe
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