Most of you know I don’t drink (alcohol). Most of you know why, I am not shy about sharing that:
I am a recovering addict.
Have been for going on 19 years. So, I don’t drink (nor do I take drugs). In fact, if you ever see me with a drink in my hand, you need to drop everything and run away from me as quickly as you can. Do not engage me, do not try to save me, or whatever. If you value what little sanity you can claim, the precarious elasticity of your anal sphincter (if you’re a woman), and everything you hold dear run (don’t walk) away from me as quickly as you can and refuse my calls, or any attempts on my part to suck you into my world. You’ve been warned...
Oh and that anal part? Well, that’s always in danger regardless of whether I’m clean or not. LOL!
My friend Rippa wrote an interesting article on the acquittal of several white youths in the savage murder of a Latino (click here). I had something else prepared today, but I realized I practically wrote today’s blog in his comments section...
* * *
The lynching of Rubin Stacy. Onlookers, including four young girls.
James Weldon Johnson captured the disconcerting tone of this photo when he described the epidemic of whites lynching blacks as a “problem of saving black America's body and white America's soul.”
-=[ Hate Crimes ]=-
Intelligent people can engage intelligently in a constructive dialog on hate crime legislation. As with any social policy issue there are intended and unintended consequences and we must remain vigilant we are to succeed in this experiment we call a democratic society.
However, much of the opposition to hate crime legislation is based on myths and disinformation. The religious right are concerned that under the recently passed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, “they may be prosecuted for their religious beliefs if they believe that homosexuality is a sin, that it could gag ministers who preach that, or even if a church may not want to marry a gay couple. There is concern that they could face lawsuits as well.”
However, the assertion that the legislation would allow individuals or groups to “be prosecuted for their religious beliefs” is false: Section 8 of the bill states that “Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution,” and the First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. ” Indeed, the House Judiciary Committee’s report on the legislation states that the purpose of Section 8 of the bill is “to lay to rest concerns raised in the 110th Congress mark-up of the legislation, and repeated since then, that religious speech or expression by clergy could form the basis of a prosecution... Nothing in this legislation would prohibit the constitutionally protected expression of one's religious beliefs.”
But let me get to the core of the issue:
Opponents of hate crime legislation will say that every crime should be treated equally. But those that commit crimes out of bias against sexual orientation or race are unusually and especially savage. You rarely, if ever, read about a hate crime resulting from a single bullet or wayward punch. Hate crime victims will be beaten repeatedly with an iron crowbar. They’ll be stabbed over and over or they’ll be stomped to death. Or dragged through the town, hung from a tree... These vicious beatings have more in common with torture and manifest themselves in ways that can only be characterized as evil.
There is also the argument that we shouldn’t punish a hate crime any differently than any other crime. I believe this is bullshit. Hate crimes tear at the very fabric of our society. They seek to intimidate entire groups of Americans, in the process creating division among our people. Hate crimes do more than just harm one victim. They terrorize an entire society. They send a savage and bestial message of hate and intolerance to all Americans. Crimes such these should be punished proportionately.
Finally, allow me to respond to those who claim laws against hate crimes attempt to punish people who hold unpopular opinions. It may be morally wrong to hate entire categories of people, but it should not be illegal. Yet hate crimes laws are aimed at actions, not thoughts -- and our legal system has long recognized the importance of motive in prosecuting some offenses as more serious than others.
A hate crime does not criminalize thoughts, moral views, or religious beliefs. What it does say is that we cannot go out and enact violence on our fellow human beings simply because we find that their existence offensive to our beliefs. You have to act ...Thought and speech are insufficient to prove a hate crime.
Today, victims of hate crimes are often victimized twice: first by the animals that brutalize them and then by those that are supposed to be the guardians of the law. Make no mistake: what is at stake here, people, is the very body and soul of America.
About the photo:
According to the New York Times, "The suspect, booked as Rubin Stacy, was hanged to a roadside tree within sight of the home of Mrs. Marion Jones, thirty year old mother of three children, who identified him as her assailant." Six deputies were escorting Stacy to a Dade County jail in Miami for "safekeeping." The six deputies were "overpowered" by approximately one hundred masked men, who ran their car off the road. "As far as we can figure out," Deputy Wright was quoted as saying,"they just picked him up with the rope from the ground-didn't bother to push him from an automobile or anything. He was filled full of bullets, too. I guess they shot him before and after they hanged him."
"Subsequent investigation revealed that Stacy, a homeless tenant farmer, had gone to the house to ask for food; the woman became frightened and screamed when she saw Stacy's face."