Politics & Policy

Awaiting The Storm; I Hate “Hate Crimes”


This is the quiet time. We await the storm. Like worried mothers stocking up on canned goods, pundits are reloading their moral larder by doing non-scandal topics. Even Chris Matthews is doing segments unrelated to the Clinton scandal, which is sort of like the Pope taking a moment out of his sermon to talk about Kosher cooking.

There have been some interesting developments. For two weeks Clinton defenders made a great deal of Ken Starr’s “unfair” headstart because of an alleged advance tip-off from Linda Tripp. The various Clinton sock-puppets milked this assertion dry. But in Sunday’s Washington Post, Susan Schmidt did something rare in this scandal: she got the story pretty much right. Unlike competitors at the New York Times, Ms. Schmidt does not seem overly reliant on “analysis” from members of Bill Clinton’s legal team. It is an excellent primer of the early days of the scandal.

Also excellent from this weekend was Nat Hentoff’s broadside against the hypocrisy of intellectuals and Hollywood types for their Francophile letter of outrage against Clinton.


Today’s New York Times runs, in effect, two editorials about the need for new sweeping Federal hate crime legislation to “protect” gays. One is on the editorial page. The other is on the front page. Last week, Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally murdered. There is sufficient evidence that his attackers were partially motivated by the fact that Shepard was gay. The two men will likely be charged with first degree murder. Their girlfriends will be tried as accomplices. Without knowing all the facts, it nevertheless seems apparent that the culprits will be convicted of murder.

“But” the New York Times writes, “his death makes clear the need for hate-crime laws to protect those who survive and punish those who attack others, whether fatally or not, just because of who they are.”

These thugs are being charged with murder one! What, one might ask, is the Times talking about?

The answer is actually obvious. By following a successful tactic of African-American civil rights leaders, gay-rights advocates are trying to transport civil rights law into the criminal justice system. This summer when a black man was horribly murdered by some racist pigs, Jesse Jackson bitterly complained on ABC’s This Week about how the victim’s civil rights were violated.

Yeah, sure — he was murdered, something that has been against the law for quite some time. By allowing our criminal codes to be suffused with ideological definitions of who constitutes more unjust victims we are trivializing very serious crimes. The Times makes absolutely no case for how hate-crime legislation would protect any gay man from being attacked. Presumably because there is no case to make. After all, as dumb as these guys who murdered Shepard probably are, even they must have known that it’s a serious crime to attack someone and leave them to die tied to a fence, whether the victim is gay or not.


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