Victim and perpetrator tell their story Posted By KAREN BEST, CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER Posted 1 hour ago Dax Chatwell stood patiently outside a crowd of 25 students waiting to talk to a Tools for Tolerance volunteer. The McKinnon Park Secondary School (MPSS) waited for his chance to talk to Tim Vaal who earlier told students he was a white supremacist and a member of Aryan Resistance for years. At 17 years of age, the American citizen, high on hatred, was one of many neo-Nazis who beat Matthew Boger. Some kicked the 14 year old. Some had razor blades protruding from their boots. Their victim heard them say, Die fag die and he thought his life was not worth living. Boger was left for dead. Absolutely terrified after the beating, he no longer trusted adults. Bleeding but suffering no fractures, the teen decided to not seek medical attention or report the crime to police. He stole bandages and healed himself in the park where he had lived since his mother threw him out of their home. The ejection came after Boger told her he was gay. And that's why he was beaten by Vaal and his then pal thugs. Vaal's prejudice was spawned after an African American shot his brother. Admitting in a video that he feared minorities, he said he breathed white power. Playing to a very quiet audience of teenagers MPSS cafeteria, the video ended with a Dali Lama quote: In the practice of tolerance, your best teacher is your enemy. Years after becoming a father, Vaal realized the legacy of hate he passed on to his son and decided to volunteer at the Los Angelos Tools for Tolerance Museum where understanding is promoted to eliminate racism. There he met Boger who was the museum general manager. Soon they realized they had first met in a dark alley years ago. Boger wanted to kill Vaal. Vaal tried to make up excuses but asked for forgiveness instead. Boger granted it. Vaal is no longer with his first wife and is married to a Jewish woman. The couple has experienced racism from his family. To carry their story of reconciliation, Boger and Vaal accept speaking engagements to personalize the consequences of hate and prejudice toward others based on race, sexual orientation, religion and other issues. They were honest and blunt in answering questions from students. "Sometimes people take one situation and apply it to an entire race and often they hear about that situation second hand," said Vaal. "It's most important to be willing to forgive." In concluding comments, Boger asked students to put prejudice and racism in perspective when considering the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide. In these crimes and crimes of a smaller scale, four types of people are involved. He asked students to consider if they will be perpetrators, victims, bystanders or allies and heroes. Their choices will stand as their legacy and their history, he told them. After hearing the pair speak two months ago, Caledonia resident Scott Miller arranged for them to speak at the Caledonia high school which is about half a kilometre away from Douglas Creek Estates. On Nov. 5, the cafeteria was packed. Students were quiet as they listened to what was an unusual case of hopeful serendipity that brought together two unlikely friends. Miller told The Chronicle that the talk would not make specific mention of First Nations issues in town but the correlation was obvious to students including Chatwell. "I was actually really impressed by it," Chatwell said after the men finished telling their story and answering questions. "I have a problem having racism in and outside my house. And I'm not proud of it. I'm trying to stay away from it." Chatwell added that he was never racist and wanted to talk to Vaal about his change of mind and heart. Chatwell lives in an Argyle Street South home that is located on the east side of DCE. His parents and Six Nations people on the site have engaged in several confrontations over the past two and a half years. MPSS student council president Tim Stacey also found the talk very inspiring and suited to the community. "With the situation we have going on in Caledonia and the intolerance we see once in a while in the school, I appreciate them giving this talk," he said. Article ID# 1285158 http://www.dunnvillechronicle.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1285158 Background: Chatwell/Brown, Caledonia http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1265122 And three big cheers for Dax Chatwell!!! The kids are alright!