Hey Pam, the man is dead. So stop using his life and death as a convenient jumping off point for your idiotic arguments about hate crimes legislation. Ditto for your obnoxious presumption to know what really was going on that night when he was beaten, tortured and tied to a fence.
You should be ashamed for doing just exactly what you pretend to be too good to do: exploiting him and damning him. And while you’re at it, go ahead and apologize for the seriously pathetic attempt to marginalize hate crimes legislation in this ‘post’ . .
Pop Culture Exploits Matthew Shepard Tragedy to Create ‘Thought Crimes’
by Pam Meister
Quick: when I say “Matthew Shepard,” what do you think? A man killed because he was gay? Or just some poor sap in the wrong place at the wrong time? More on that in a minute.
Hate crime legislation aimed at making it a federal crime to assault someone for being a homosexual passed the House last week, and could be on its way to becoming law. It sounds great, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t be against a law that would prosecute someone for targeting another person based on bigotry and bias? What could be wrong with this scenario?
What? ..’against a law that would prosecute’..? You can’t even manage the obligatory fake compassion you’re supposed to paste on the front end of your post? You are what’s already wrong, and you’ll get plenty wrong-er in ‘this scenario’. Watch:
A crime is a crime. It shouldn’t matter that the victim was a target because he was black, because he was gay, or because she reminded the perpetrator of the mother who abandoned him when he was in kindergarten. Perhaps these things should matter to profilers because it helps them to narrow down the possibilities when hunting down suspects, and to psychiatrists who are studying the damaged human psyche.
But as for the crime, it should be enough that the crime was committed.
The tragic poster boy for this movement is Matthew Shepard, a young gay man in Wyoming who in 1998 was found brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead. He later died of his injuries. The story gained national prominence when it was reported as a “hate crime” and Shepard’s cruel fate became the basis for a national, pop culture movement.
The torture and murder ‘became the basis for a national, pop culture movement’? Like the Macarena? Screw You. It became a reminder that hate crimes are real, horrific, that they will continue to occur and need to be addressed.
When we begin to prosecute for the thoughts behind the crime, we open a very wiggly can of worms that can’t be shut again. Who’s to say this won’t become a weapon in and of itself?
Your arguments about the ‘thoughts’ being irrelevant to the crime, Pam, are the stupidest thing I’ve read all week. I’d prefer to give you credit for perhaps living on another planet, but I’m afraid you’re merely arguing like a complete moron.
If you tackle someone standing out in a field, what’s the crime? If it’s a football game, there’s none. Mostly otherwise, it’s assault. What’s the difference, Pam? The mindset makes the difference. In the first, everyone has agreed to play a game, but, in the second, it’s an act of malice.
For virtually every major crime, the thoughts of the suspect are the key to knowing how to prosecute and punish someone. That’s why there are degrees for crime–I’m shocked that you couldn’t even recall that first degree murder usually involves pre-meditation. What did you think the ‘meditation’ part meant?
You may hate somebody and may even kill them, but, if it’s accidental, society has rightly deemed that as less serious than other murders. If you planned to kill them, society rightly says it’s worse and punishes you much more severely. But you, you’re saying this: “the person is dead either way–why should we care?” Your childish arguments tear the probative value of intention to discern the nature of a crime right down to the ground. Divining which thoughts a suspect had at the time of the crime has always been a huge part of the legal system, and it always should be.
Now that your attempt to argue that oblivious line is dead, let’s move on: why should we have hate crimes legislation? We all agree that it’s a ‘new’ quality of thought and act to prosecute, but why should it be prosecuted?
Here’s why: when someone attacks another only because of what they perceive that person to be, identity is the sole motivation. As a member of that group, you’ve got to be aware that it now could happen to you at any time. You could be attacked completely randomly as well. Not because you had a wallet, or a Rolex, not because you were in a bad part of town, not because you were in a bar full of drunks. In all of those other situations, you have some clue as to what’s going on in the environment, and you can be wary.
Not with a hate crime. As a result, literally thousands of people can become instantly fearful for nothing other than being anywhere, at any time, and going about their lives. It’s a crime that’s particularly wide-ranging in the damage and stress it burdens society. It’s local terrorism, the well-known purpose of our more familiar hate crime perpetrators, like the KKK. We refuse to tolerate the alarming broadside on civilized life, so we recognize it for the bigger crime that it is, and we punish it more severely than we do other crimes. There, Pam–not so hard to understand, is it?
Then there’s the problem with double standards. If one can be prosecuted for the thoughts that go with a crime perpetrated on a minority, what about the opposite scenario? Will a white man beaten by one or more black men just because he’s a white guy in the wrong neighborhood get the same kind of justice?
If a white guy gets beaten up because he’s white, it’s a hate crime. Doesn’t matter what neighborhood it is. (more…)