Jonah, what a sad day, but I wouldn’t automatically assume that the attack on that tree was a “hate crime.” Acts of truly idiotic vandalism are not exactly unknown in the U.K.
And then (via the Daily Telegraph) there’s this:
The owner of Wearyall Hill [where the tree was growing] is Edward James, 70, who was arrested this week in connection with the collapse of Crown Currency Exchange, of which he is a major shareholder. The company, which has 8,000 creditors, collapsed in October, owing £16 million. One possibility is that the attack may have been part of a vendetta against Mr James, who is on police bail. Mr James said he had spoken to police about the attack on the tree “but we don’t know who it (the culprit) could be yet.” He said: “People have said the tree was destroyed to get at me because of the Crown Currency Exchange affair. “They were saying it was vendetta time. I know a lot of people are hurting at the moment but this was a very holy tree. It’s weird.”
Time will tell, I suppose.