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"Liberals are always proposing perfectly insane ideas, laws that will make everybody happy, laws that will make everything right, make us live forever, and all be rich. Conservatives are never that stupid." - P. J. O'Rourke
I don't know about the last sentence in the above quote, but the first sentence sounds right. To illustrate Mr. O'Rourke's theory, the Senate is now taking up the perfectly insane issue of hate crime legislation, proposed, it goes without saying, by Democrats. The Dems want to add gay and transgendered people to the current list of hate crime victims. H.R. 1913, which has been named after Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was robbed and murdered in 1998, defines a hate crime as follows:
[A crime of violence that] is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or tribal hate crime laws.
The colossally stupid thing about hate crime legislation is that every single hate crime is already a crime without hate crime legislation. The murderers of the aforementioned Mr. Shepard are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. Murder was already illegal. It's not like adding a 'hate crime' tag to their heinous acts changes anything. Hate crime legislation is completely superfluous.
Hate crime legislation doesn't serve as a deterrent to crime either. It's not like the murderers of Matthew Shepard would be willing to commit murder, but then would have said to themselves, 'hey, wait a minute, we don't want to get a murder rap AND a hate crime charge too. We better reconsider.'
Here are a couple perfectly insane quotes from leading Democrats about the current hate crime legislation being debated in Congress:
"I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance." - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
"No person should live in fear of violence because of who they are." - Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Needless to say, passing hate crime legislation won't protect anyone from violence, nor will it stop people from living in fear because of who they are. What hate crime legislation is really about is granting special victim status to certain favored groups of people so that Democrats can say 'look what good people we Democrats are. We care about you. You should vote for us.' There is NO other purpose.
To show how inane and political hate crime legislation is, consider the case of James Byrd Jr., a black man from Texas who was brutally murdered in 1998 by three white men. They cut Byrd's throat and then chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him. This act was about as foul as it gets, and was racially motivated. The two men primarily responsible for murdering Byrd were sentenced to death. The third was given a life sentence. The Governor of Texas in 1998 was George W. Bush, who supported the death penalty for the two murderers.
Now we go to the year 2000, when George W. Bush was running for President. Many liberal groups, most notably the NAACP, made an issue of the Byrd case, and accused Bush of being a racist for not supporting hate crime legislation previously. Think about how insane that is. Here's Bush supporting the death penalty for Byrd's murderers, and the NAACP is calling Bush a racist at the same time. I mean, how much more harsh of a sentence could Bush have supported ? None. Maybe the NAACP wanted Byrd's murderers to be waterboarded before being executed, I don't know. As Dubya said at the time, "we don't need tougher laws." Bush was right. In Texas, the highest penalty for premeditated murder is death, with or without any hate crime legislation.
There are also constitutional issues with hate crime legislation, such as equal protection under the law. If I'm walking down the street and someone hits me in the head with a baseball bat, should there be a different sentence for the perpetrator based upon his race ? There shouldn't be. The person should be punished for the criminal act, not for his motivation, but hate crime legislation says yes, it matters whether your attacker is white or black. It matters what his motivation was. It doesn't, not really. I'd take it as a given that anyone who would hit me in the head with a baseball bat has some level of hatred in him, but it's the act that should be punished, and it should be punished equally, without consideration of race, religion, sexual orientation, hair color, sex, gender, how many tattoos he has, or whether or not he's has a health club membership. If the defendant's motivation is important, it can be considered at trial. We don't have to legislate it. When we start down the road of 'this victim deserves more consideration that that victim, and this perp deserves more of a sentence than that perp for the exact same crime,' we are losing our way. We are in fact discriminating against people when we do that, assigning them different levels of worth.
To further illustrate the silliness that starts when hate crime legislation is proposed, Republicans offered two amendments to H.R. 1913. The first was to exclude pedophiles from being protected under the "sexual orientation" part of the legislation. Democrats rejected that amendment UNANIMOUSLY. I guess pedophiles are a protected class now. The second amendment was to include veterans, the elderly, and Church pastors in the legislation. Democrats rejected that one too. That makes it 1) pedophiles protected, and 2) veterans not protected. Let's stop this nutty thought crime nonsense, please.
If Democrats really want to be the party of unity, as President Obama suggested, they could start by not constantly dividing everyone into competing special interest groups. They could start by uniting us all into one group, Americans, and then pass legislation accordingly.