Origins of a Term

I’ve been hearing “decades long slow-motion hate crime,” to describe what’s happened to gun owners, for a long time now, which prompted me to see if the origin of the term could be found.  I found a few sources.  One is this quite excellent essay by Dr. Michael S. Brown called “The Radicalization of America’s Gun Culture.”  But there, Dr. Brown only mentions:

American gun owners feel as if they are being slowly crushed. One writer recently described this decades-long campaign as a slow motion hate crime.

So he’s attributing it to someone else.  That essay is from September of 2000, so I would be looking for a primary source around that time.  I think I might have found it.  This is actually an article on Canadian gun control by Dave Kopel from August of 2000, which was only a month before Dr. Brown’s article was published:

In short, Canadian gun control is a sort of slow-motion hate crime, perpetrated by the government. The real purpose is to harm a minority whom the government dislikes. In the United States, one need only attend a few anti-gun rallies — especially rallies put on by the dishonestly named Million Mom March — to find plenty of anti-gun activists for whom hatred is obviously the guiding value.

Given that it’s not attributed, and the passing manner in which it’s stated, I think it’s safe to say this is quite likely the primary source for the blog meme which has survived nearly a decade now.

3 thoughts on “Origins of a Term”

  1. I originally found it in that Michael Brown piece back in 2000 and adopted it right then and there. I didn’t research it further. Nice to know the ultimate source, though. Good work!

  2. I think Brown is probably the origin of “decades-long” so I think he probably deserves partial credit. But “slow motion hate crime” was Kopel, so it seems. Origins of commonly used phrases and words is kind of interesting. Especially if they last as long as this one has.

  3. I always thought of it as a ‘long-term death threat against personal liberty’ than I have “a slow motion hate crime”.

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