[NB: My conservative buddy Cluster shows how the conservative mind should work; in an effort to find common ground and find solutions. To check out his excellent site, click the chick.-- F.S.]
I have quite a few bones to pick right with Leo Pusateri’s latest regurgitation of right wing fearspeak at Blogs4Victory so you might want to settle in with a nice late morning cocktail, as I am doing, because will take a little while. The smart kids in the room are cognizant of what a hate crime is. To Leo Pusateri they are a Progressive tool to get back at White Americans. To a man like him whose mind is clouded with a dangerous cocktail of conservative ideology and religious hubris, hate crimes are nothing more than another form of welfare doled out in the form of revenge.
For those of you who aren’t that smart, or are conservatives let me refresh your memory of what defines a hate crime in the United States of America. Keep in mind now that unlike many of the fine folks I work with here in Hell, I am not an attorney and the only bar to which I belong is the glorious one down the street at Vulca. That said:
The modern era of hate-crime legislation began in 1968 with the passage of federal statute, 18 U.S. 245, part of the Civil Rights Act which made it illegal to “by force or by threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with anyone who is engaged in six specified protected activities, by reason of their race, color, religion, or national origin.” However, “The prosecution of such crimes must be certified by the U.S. attorney general.” Streissguth, Tom (2003). Hate Crimes (Library in a Book), p.3. ISBN 0-8160-4879-7.
Those six protected activities include:
(b) Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with—
(1) any person because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from—
(A) voting or qualifying to vote, qualifying or campaigning as a candidate for elective office, or qualifying or acting as a poll watcher, or any legally authorized election official, in any primary, special, or general election;
(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;
(C) applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any agency of the United States;
(D) serving, or attending upon any court in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror in any court of the United States;
(E) participating in or enjoying the benefits of any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance; or
(2) any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin and because he is or has been—
(A) enrolling in or attending any public school or public college;
(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity provided or administered by any State or subdivision thereof;
(C) applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any private employer or any agency of any State or subdivision thereof, or joining or using the services or advantages of any labor organization, hiring hall, or employment agency;
(D) serving, or attending upon any court of any State in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror;
(E) traveling in or using any facility of interstate commerce, or using any vehicle, terminal, or facility of any common carrier by motor, rail, water, or air;
(F) enjoying the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, or of any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility which serves the public and which is principally engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption on the premises, or of any gasoline station, or of any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium, or any other place of exhibition or entertainment which serves the public, or of any other establishment which serves the public and
(i) which is located within the premises of any of the aforesaid establishments or within the premises of which is physically located any of the aforesaid establishments, and
(ii) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such establishments; or
(3) during or incident to a riot or civil disorder, any person engaged in a business in commerce or affecting commerce, including, but not limited to, any person engaged in a business which sells or offers for sale to interstate travelers a substantial portion of the articles, commodities, or services which it sells or where a substantial portion of the articles or commodities which it sells or offers for sale have moved in commerce; or
(4) any person because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from—
(A) participating, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion or national origin, in any of the benefits or activities described in subparagraphs (1)(A) through (1)(E) or subparagraphs (2)(A) through (2)(F); or
(B) affording another person or class of persons opportunity or protection to so participate; or
(5) any citizen because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such citizen or any other citizen from lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion or national origin, in any of the benefits or activities described in subparagraphs (1)(A) through (1)(E) or subparagraphs (2)(A) through (2)(F), or participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly opposing any denial of the opportunity to so participate—
shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death. As used in this section, the term “participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly” shall not mean the aiding, abetting, or inciting of other persons to riot or to commit any act of physical violence upon any individual or against any real or personal property in furtherance of a riot. Nothing in subparagraph (2)(F) or (4)(A) of this subsection shall apply to the proprietor of any establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, or to any employee acting on behalf of such proprietor, with respect to the enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of such establishment if such establishment is located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor as his residence.
That is the root of the hate crime law. Now many conservatives only consider violent crime when discussing hate crimes or bias-motivated crimes as they are actually called in courts of law. Violent crimes are not the only constituent of what can be a bias-motivated crime. Pusateri clearly doesn’t realize that hate crimes laws on the federal level aren’t a new phenomena. Hate crimes legislation actually started in the post Civil War era with the Civil Rights Act of 1871. However, it did take over one hundred years for the states to begin to enact hate crime legislation and that began with California [big shock here!-- D.V.] in 1978.
For a moment let’s look at some of the things that this conservative man is struggling with here. He feels that the murder of Delbert Belton is a hate crime. Well it isn’t unless it can be proven that hate symbols or hate language was used during the attack. Being a bigot and causing someone’s murder doesn’t immediately qualify the crime as a hate crime were that the case, George Zimmerman would be in prison right now. Pusateri says he “doesn’t believe in the concept of hate crimes.” Well, this isn’t a real surprise to me at all when you consider Pusateri likely doesn’t believe that black civil rights, GLBTQ civil rights or the civil rights of women have ever been threatened.
And then, yes, there is the bugiman of “thought crimes.” In the conservative lexicon there is no greater nugget of fearspeak than this. But why does this man use the term “thought crime.” Well that is simply because he wants those in his little tribe of conservatives to always feel they are under attack. The “Libruls” are coming for your guns. Not true. The “Proggies” want to allow bands of racially different thugs to be able to muder and rape white people with impunity. Also, not true. The “Commies on the Left,” as if there were any commies on the Right, want to ruin your small business with ObamaCare. Not anywhere near true. So this is designed to scare the shit out of a generation of people between the ages of 45 and Death who have stood by eating Chee-tos and watching TV while their country shifted socially right under their feet. These people’s parents expected fear of the Church and Hell to keep the “other” in check. Now that we know many churches are filled with predators and that some will go to great lengths to cover up that predation and abuse this one flied about as well as a lead zeppelin. There was until the 1960s a concept of groupthink on the part of communites, actual whole suburbs who thought their fight for racial discrimination was necessary simply out of the fear of being ostracized. Now nobody cares because America is better when diversity is celebrated and people live within the law.
Pusateri is angered most because he truly believes that only whites get punished for hate crimes. In fact, according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics in March 2013, 63% of violent hate crime victims were White and 7% were Black between 2007 and 2011. Among the perps, during the same period, 53% were White and 27% were Black. Maybe with the latest two high profile acts of violent ignorance perpetrated upon innocent people by folks that aren’t White so prominently in the media those that want to drink from the well that Leo Pusateri has poisoned with fear and religious based bigotry need to read this article from Tim Wise and sleep a little bit better tonight. Or, they can read these stats about the epidemic of White American suicide in rural America and never sleep again. Given the choice of walking down a street in Brooklyn vice having Thanksgiving dinner in a rural White home where the marriage is crumbling, there are numerous guns, and there’s a lot of debt? I’ll take Brooklyn, anytime.
Fredrick Schwartz, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.]
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