Heck, I had this published as an editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
But.... here's Steve Chapman, writing in Reason magazine.
.... Congress never stops trying to ensure full employment for FBI agents and U.S. attorneys. The latest stimulus is the Matthew Shepard Act, billed as an overdue effort to prevent violence against gays and lesbians.The logic behind the proposed measure is hard to follow.
Says sponsoring Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), "No members of society—none—deserve to be victims of a violent crime because of their race, their religion, their ethnic background, their disability, their gender, their gender identity, or their sexual orientation."
Ok, Ted. Your grasp of the obvious has been duly noted.
Which raises the question: Who exactly does deserve to be the victim of a violent crime?
The bill targets actions we would all like to eliminate—physically injuring or trying to injure someone with "fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device."
But it's hard to imagine that it would reduce the prevalence of such conduct, which is already 1) really, really illegal and 2) subject to harsh penalties.This legislation would add extra punishment for attacks designated as hate crimes. But if a criminal is not deterred by the fear of five years behind bars, he's probably not going to be pushed onto the straight and narrow by the prospect of six.
That's not what this is about. This is about allowing Ted Kennedy to increase the perception that he is protector of the helpless (unless you happen to be riding shotgun with him near a bridge.)
In the case of attacks like the one on Matthew Shepard, a gay college student beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998, the statute would be superfluous. His killers were eligible for the death penalty, though both made deals that assured they would be locked up for the rest of their lives. For the most horrific hate crimes, the change would accomplish absolutely nothing.
But you can click here to see how certain groups don't qualify....
That's not the only way in which it would constitute an exercise in irrelevance. Already, 45 states have hate crime laws, and two-thirds of them include crimes against gays and lesbians. In the remaining states, you will be relieved to know, such attacks are punished as violent felonies.
I think the concept is called "equal protection under the law". The way it's supposed to work is that white heterosexual baptist non-handicapped males who aren't mentally ill (I think I covered all the bases there) are entitled to the same protection under the law as gay pygmy transgendered wiccans with speech impediments.
There's that, plus the concept of Thoughtcrime should be a little scary.
If federal licensing laws required disclosure of the ingredients in congressional legislation, here's what the label on this one would say: 90 grams of empty symbolism and 10 grams of needless duplication.
Yeah, but that's Ted Kennedy. 90 grams of symbolism and 10% last name.
Bonus video: During House deliberations over the hate-crimes bill, Rep. Alcee Hastings reads a list of fetishes that would be covered under the legislation.
I bet I know what Ted was thinking if he heard that speech. So many fetishes, so little time....
I don't give a rip what gays, lesbians, Wiccans,
Heck, if you folks want to have a fundraiser after I die, you can sell my corpse to a colony of necrophiliacs. I'm not going to care. (Not an original joke. Heard a standup comedian say it years ago, and it just came back to me.)
But when you give ANY group special protections that you don't give everyone else, you're simply giving ammunition to racists, bigots, and the like.
It's an incredibly stupid stunt, and it will be law within a year.