11/17/2005

The State of Hate

A recent FBI report shows that blacks are more likely to be targeted for hate crimes than any other group.

I can hear the nashing of teeth and the fodder for the fundigelical fascist rightwingers saying "See, see! Queers aren't as hated as they claim to be! This is a queer-lovin' country!"

A couple of clarifications:

1) There are a lot more blacks than there are gays; hence, there will be a lot more reports of hate crimes against blacks than gays

2) Blacks aren't as easily intimidated into being victims as gays. They're not afraid to start a riot when things don't go their way!

3) There are federal laws to protect blacks against discrimination and hate crimes; therefore, they are encouraged to report crimes against them because there is a far greater likelihood that something can and will be done. Not so for gays.

4) How can a DEAD gay person report a hate crime? And whose voice is left to hear but the perpetrator of the crime that can make up any excuse they want?

Not all crimes against gay people end in death, but many are much more brutal and violent and have increased in their brutality over the years.

Matthew Shepard is the name everyone thinks of, but there have been many since.

Brandon Teena
Sakia Gunn
Elvys Perez
PFC Barry Winchell
Billy Jack Gaither
Scotty Joe Weaver
Roderick George

The last three were all from Alabama, my home state, and now there is a fourth:

Billy Sanford, a 52 year old Jackson, AL man, beaten into a coma with a hammer by 26 year old handyman, Marcus Dewayne Kelley.

Police said that his doctors have given him little chance for survival. Even if he does survive and regain consciousness his is likely to have permanent brain damage and would be unlikely to testify at Kelley's trial.
...
Police said that they would have liked to have charged Kelley with a hate crime, but gays are not covered under the state's hate crime law.

Several days ago, not far from my own home, a very well-known gay man was killed. The killer is still at large and supposedly the motive was robbery, but nothing was taken. How can we know? Will we ever know? Even if there was an anti-gay motive, there's NOTHING we can fucking do about it!!! There's nothing that can put these monsters and haters away for life! They can claim it was panic, robbery, anything as long as it's against a queer.

The dead can't speak, but I can!!

45 Comments:

At 09:17, Blogger jenny said...

thank you for speaking Callie! Wonder if there is a petition going somewhere for Alabama to change their laws to include hate crimes against glbt people?

 
At 12:37, Blogger lovin' it said...

Or how about this for an idea? Get convicted of first degree murder, get the death penalty. Simple, end of story.

If someone shoots me to steal my wallet, I'm just as dead as if someone shoots you because you're gay. Why should your murderer get a worse punishment then mine?

Following your logic, if I'm killed by someone who's mad at me because I'm against gay marriage, that would be a worse crime then if someone killed me to steal my money. That doesn't make any sense to me. My life is worth the same regardless of the motive for the killing.

 
At 13:07, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Jenny-

Equality Alabama is the group that is fighting, virtually alone, for a little scrap of decency there. Having lived there, I'd fear for them trying to go door-to-door and get a petition signed. They'd probably get shot.

Would THAT be a hate crime? No, probably not by AL standards. They'd say they flaunted themselves so they deserved it (imagine me spitting Skoal as I say that and you have the general idea).

 
At 13:09, Blogger Tonito Bandito said...

Great post, Callie, I have a friend still in AL who is working diligently to add gays to the hate crimes bill there.

 
At 13:46, Blogger RedStateExile said...

If someone shoots me to steal my wallet, I'm just as dead as if someone shoots you because you're gay. Why should your murderer get a worse punishment then mine?

But that kind of gets to the crux of the point, doesn't it? Why SHOULDN'T my murderer get a worse punishment?

Anyone can be killed because someone hates us. We should all be concerned about laws that can protect us better and make the penalties stiffer.

We can THINK whatever we want, but when we act on it. It should be considered a crime, a VERY bad crime.

Should the men that dragged James Byrd, Jr. behind their truck until his body fell apart get the same murder sentence as an accidental shooting in a robbery?

Now, I'm not sure what the EXACT sentencing for shooting during a robbery would be, but let's say it's 10 years. If we use the philosophy that a murder is a murder, then the killers of James Byrd could be potentially sentenced to only 10 years in jail, and perhaps paroled anywhere from 3-7 depending on good behavior.

That would be fair?

 
At 13:48, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Tonito-

I have a feeling it will be a long time coming. That's why I don't live there anymore. But that fear still follows us everywhere.

Until we, as a society, starts valuing the lives of all people. I'm afraid some will see fit to beat, harass, and kill that which they fear.

 
At 14:17, Blogger lovin' it said...

Accidental killing never gets the same punishment as purposeful murder.

But if someone willingly kills for money, how is that any less bad then if someone willingly kills because he hates, say, redheaded bartenders?

If someone drags a fellow human being to death behind a pickup truck, they deserve the death penalty. I couldn't care less what the sicko's motivation was.

But that's the problem with hate crimes legislation. Once you start, where do you stop? You're upset because crimes committed against someone because of the color of their skin gets a harsher punishment then crimes committed because of sexual orientation. Perfectly understandable. But say you get what you want. Then someone starts beating Irish protestants because they hate them. Should they then create a special law making it a worse offense then regular assault?

Equal justice says that all crimes should be punished the same, regardless of who the victim is. My opinion is that most crimes get too light of a punishment in our society. But the answer is not to pick out special classes of victims who get more protection then others. Let's up the punishment on all violent crimes.

When we get real about punishing crime, all of society, black or white, gay and straight, will be safer for it.

Regards

 
At 14:33, Blogger RedStateExile said...

I think I might see some humanity deep inside you yet. This seems to be one area we agree on.

Sir, if you didn't think I was sickened and outraged by the horrid death of Mr. Byrd, you're terribly wrong. If you think I sit here and point to say "yeah, well, what about us?" that's not my intention.

I speak to what I know. I would be just as disgusted and thinking the penalty should be just as harsh (whether it be the death penalty or life imprisonment) if someone killed a white, Christian, male just because of who that person was.

When the laws say that someone will be punished to the maximum amount of the law if it is found that their motivation was based on a bias regarding race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, religion..., do you not realize that those categories can include YOU as well?

They don't say you'll get a stiffer penalty if you kill a black person than a white person or a gay person than a straight person. We both know that wouldn't be right.

So, unless you just really want to pick my words apart for no reason on this, I have to think we may agree...FINALLY!

 
At 14:40, Blogger lovin' it said...

I would actually make it even simpler.

If you purposely kill someone other then in self defense, you get the death penalty. I don't want someone to get a lighter sentence because he killed for money or lust then because he killed out of bias. I think both are equally wrong and deserve equal punishment.

Do you see anything wrong with that? And it eliminates all need to try to determine someone's bias. You commit murder, you die.

 
At 19:20, Blogger dorsano said...

What about those who kill for punishment? What punishment should they get?

 
At 06:15, Blogger lovin' it said...

Huh?

 
At 06:41, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Man!!! I typed a nice response and I got an error. I don't have time to retype now. I'll have to do it later.

 
At 20:33, Blogger dorsano said...

What part of "Thou shall not kill" ambiguous? Has it been changed to "Thou shall not kill except to punish?"

 
At 05:45, Blogger lovin' it said...

dorsano - Do you actually read the bible? Throughout both the old and the new testament, it is unambiguous that government is empowered to protect the people and punish criminals, including by using the death penalty. The apostle Paul says that this is the reason God empowered governments. "They do not wield the sword in vain." See Romans 13.

If you want to debate the death penalty, fine. But don't try to tell me the bible is against it. That ain't gonna fly.

You'll have to do better then that.

 
At 17:49, Blogger dorsano said...

The ten commandments seem pretty clear to me - while man wrote the bible inspired by the spirit - God wrote the ten commandments.

But that won't do Ruben Cantu any good.

A decade after Ruben Cantu was executed for capital murder, the only witness to the crime is recanting and his co-defendant says Cantu, then 17, wasn't even with him that night.

 
At 07:05, Blogger lovin' it said...

The exact same text that contains the ten commandments lists several sins and crimes for which the death penalty is the punishment.

Should we be sure that the people we are putting to death truly are guilty? Of course. But that is hardly an argument against putting to death those who really are guilty of murder.

 
At 21:01, Blogger dorsano said...

I don't accept your premise(s) - but for the sake of this discussion, I'll acknowledge them.

We're infalible - we never truly know who is guilty - I'm reluctant to take something from someone that I can't return should I find out that I erred.

Those who advocate for the death penalty believe that the chance of accidently killing an inocent person is worth the risk of leaving the guilty undeterred and unpunished.

Whether or not the threat of death deters and whether or not it's our place to punish with death are actually two different questions.

In the end, it comes down to values and civility it seems to me.

God has a lot to hold me accountable for - but I figure my stance on this issue will mitigate some of that.

 
At 21:11, Blogger dorsano said...

For the record, lovinit.

I've had a religious education from grade school through college. And I spent over 6 months of my life after college in a monastery.

There's not much to do in a monastery other than pray, work, read and reflect :)

And I've read the Bible in a couple of different languages.

I don't recall the ten commandments empowering the children of God to inflict death as punishment.

God can give life - I can't - He's infalible - I'm not. Those are some serious disadvantages.

 
At 05:58, Blogger lovin' it said...

Dorsano - See Genesis 9:6, Leviticus 20-22, Deut. 22 for OT laws regarding capital punishment.

For a NT testament perspective, see Romans 13.

You've got to read more then just the 10 commandments. If they are valid because they are God's word, then so is the rest of the book.

 
At 08:14, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Wow, I go away for a little while and look at you two!

If lovin' it has got anything right here, it is that we should definitely read more of the Bible than the OT and certainly the 10 Commandments.

How about what Jesus said for starters?

• Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

• Jn 15:10-12 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

The OT foretold the coming of the Messiah (Jesus) and when He came he fulfilled the Law (the old law of Moses). His coming also rendered the OT obsolete for He gave us a new Commandment to follow...His Commandment.

Maybe that's just too simple and easy for folks to follow, but it works for me. Whatever we do to the "least of these," we do to Jesus also. That should be enough to make anyone decent person stop and second guess their behavior towards others.

 
At 08:21, Blogger RedStateExile said...

BTW, my big thought earlier about the death penalty and such was this (much shorter):

If someone breaks into my house and attempts to kill me or my partner, I have a right to defend us. If I kill that person in the process, I don't think I deserve the death penalty for it.

We can't say murder is murder is murder and all deserve the same punishment.

Would we say that an abused woman in defense of herself and perhaps her children would deserve the death penalty if she kills her abuser in the midst of being abused?

That's not the same as going out and hunting someone down just because you don't like something about them. That's why I have a problem with an across the board standard punishment for anyone who commits a particular crime. Determining circumstances are important, otherwise, there is no point in having a trial.

 
At 08:38, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie - No sane person calls self defense murder or even a crime. That's not the point.

I'm talking about whether we should distinguish between crimes motivated by, say greed, as opposed to crime committed out of bias.

Other subject:

Christ did not make the OT obsolete. He said himself that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.

Even if you do take the position that Christ nullified the OT, you can completely justify the use of capital punishment just in the NT alone.

 
At 09:45, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Couldn't a crime of greed (I'm assuming you mean robbery since you haven't clarified) be based in bias?

Why would we want to take from someone who doesn't have anything? There will be a degree of bias in determining who is robbed and who isn't. In robbery situations wouldn't it be safe to say that the "have not" takes from the "haves" of society. Even carjackers pick out certain cars because of their rims or engine. That's a bias towards a segment of society.

I would think you would appreciate and support "bias motivated" criminal punishment if it meant you and yours would be protected as well. ANY crime can be bias motivated and ANY one can be susceptible to being the target of the bias.

That's why it's important to have bias taken into consideration when determining punishment because we all can be affected by it.

I don't know how to make it any simpler than that.

 
At 09:52, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Oh, and as for the Bible topic, I am only required to follow what Jesus said.

He said to believe and you will be saved.

I believe.

He said to love the Lord your God.

I do.

He said to love your neighbor as yourself.

I do (even those who don't love me back).

The rest was written by (hu)mans and has been re-written over and over and over again. I can't trust that, but my heart tells me that what Jesus said with those three statements is all I need to know.

And I'm not required to give proof. It's called faith.

 
At 10:33, Blogger Doogman said...

For God so LOVED the world...

Stop right there and you get the picture.

The Bible is a very politicized document.
Read 'Masks of God' by Joe Campbell, you'll see how 'God' has morphed endlessly.

The only thing you need to do is love people and ACCEPT them - not try to BE God.

 
At 10:44, Blogger RedStateExile said...

The only thing you need to do is love people and ACCEPT them - not try to BE God.

How very true!! I'll have to look up that book. I'm doing research on that topic so if you have any other resources to share let me know.

Thanks!

 
At 18:34, Blogger dorsano said...

lovinit

In Romans chapter 13 Paul is addressing the problems raised by a Christian message that declares people subject to God's law above civil law especially vis a vis the Roman laws regarding devotion to various deities.

He has to address how Christians should relate to Roman authority.

13.4 hardly says that God thinks it's OK for the state to kill people in order to punish them - it is a metaphor for the rule of law.

In fact, the state is not entitled to obedience when such obedience would nullify God's prior claim to the believers' moral decision

that's made clear in the subsequent verses.

 
At 05:48, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie - Jesus didn't write the gospels. They were written by mere men as well. And in fact, they were the last books of the bible written other then Revelation. If you don't accept the rest of the NT as authoritative because it was written by men, on what basis do you accept the gospels?

Besides that, Jesus himself validated the OT by his own words. He quoted them as authoritative (Luke 4). He said not one word of them would pass away. (Matthew 5:18) He said that someone who didn't believe the writings of Moses could not believe in him (John 5:46-47).

I could go on, but I think you see my point. Jesus does not allow you the option of taking him on your own terms. He makes it quite clear that He is the God of the OT. He must be accepted on those terms, because those are the terms He has set down.

dogman - If you don't believe the Bible, then you don't believe in the God I worship. He cannot be understood apart from His word.

Dorsano - Here's the passage in question:

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.
2
Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.
3
For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it,
4
for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer.
5
Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience.
6
This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
7
Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.


The sword has no purpose except to kill. What other meaning can you get from this without distorting it beyond its intent?

 
At 17:21, Blogger dorsano said...

The Romans used:

* beheading,
* flogging till death,
* hanging, drowning, and
* crucifixion,

to inflict captial punishment. They did not use the sword. In fact, the Romans usually only intervened for high crimes like treason.

Swords were used to arrest, not to execute.

Metonymy is a figure of speech in which the writer refers to something or someone by naming one of its attributes.

For example - "We await word from the crown" - meaning we await word from the king. Or

"Don't let the suits screw it up." - meaning don't let management mess things up. Or

"I have 200 head" - meaning I have 200 head of cattle. Or

"The pen is mightier than the sword" - meaning words are more powerful than armies.

As I said originally, 13.4 is a metaphor (figure of speech) for the rule of law. It does indicate that God calls us to kill for justice - let alone punishment.

You might want to read the story of Cain and Able if the 10 commandments aren't clear to you.

If you care to learn more of about figures of speech (which were first catologed by the Romans and Greeks by the way) check out this site

 
At 17:27, Blogger dorsano said...

I expected you to make the argument that just like an individual is called to defend his or her life by killing if necessary,

the state is called to defend itself from extinction by killing if necessary.

When the rule of law is threatened or a break down in civil order is threatened, the state has an obligation to defend itself.

 
At 17:40, Blogger dorsano said...

The axe was the chosen implement for beheading, a wooden block, often shaped to accept the neck, was required.

[Daniel 7:22] Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years. ...

 
At 06:08, Blogger lovin' it said...

Well, since you brought up Genesis, read Genesis 9. Here God specifically calls for the death penalty in cases of murder. In Exodus 21, God again calls for the death penalty for premeditated murderer. There is nothing ambiguous about either of these passages.

I don't accept your explanation of Romans 13, but even if you are right about it, the Bible still commands capital punishment for premeditated murder. The ten commandments you quoted are in Exodus as well.

 
At 07:29, Blogger lovin' it said...

I should make one point more clear:

You are right that the reference to the sword is a metaphor. But the simplest way of explaining it is that that sword represents the state's power to take life. A sword is used to kill.

The context is defending the state's power to enforce laws and make war. In modern terms, we would say, "they don't carry guns for nothing." Obviously this includes the deterrent power against resisting arrest, but it is only a deterrent because we are saying the state has the right to kill when necessary. That is the point.

 
At 13:36, Blogger RedStateExile said...

lovin it,

I guess you missed the part about me living by faith earlier.

Fine, if we are going to follow every single word in the Bible, then no more playing football, BBQ pork ribs, no more one woman/one man marriages because you'll have to marry your brother's wife when he dies, and don't get too attached to your kids because you may have to sacrifice them on an altar or stone them for some sin.

I could go on, but I'm really bored with this now.

Faith...just have a little faith, 'kay?

 
At 13:55, Blogger lovin' it said...

You're welcome to any faith you wish to hold. My faith is based on what the book actually says. No one says yours has to be. I was responding to Dorsano quoting scripture to me to try to support his point.

 
At 14:23, Blogger RedStateExile said...

And I was responding to what you said to me.

Hey, you pick out what suits you and ignore the rest, but don't get testy with other people do the same.

Funny thing that Bible is, how it can be used for both good and bad purposes, depending on a person's intent.

 
At 14:32, Blogger lovin' it said...

I do my best to follow everything the bible teaches. I interpret the Old Testament in light of the new, but I don't disregard any part of it as merely written by men.

So, when the New Testament teaches that we are no longer bound by the dietary laws of the Old, I accept that. But I am not free to ignore something just because I don't like it. I am not God. I don't get to make it up as I go.

You think there's nothing in the Bible that I wish was different? You're wrong if you do. I don't always want to tithe or turn the other cheek any more then anyone else. But what I want is hardly the point.

 
At 16:27, Blogger dorsano said...

Exodus 23:7 is also pretty clear: Though shalt not execute the innocent.

It says nothing about "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "clear and convincing evidence".

That edict is stated other places but it's stated most clearly there. Absolute certainty is the minimum threshold requirement for the biblical death penalty.

Are you infallible?

With a literal, out of context reading of the Bible it's easy to interpret that God has given man license to bring HIS justice and He has not.

It's simply not supported by the text - God is infallible, he has infinite mercy and infinite wrath and the two balance each other.

We can't restore live and balance out death.

Since 1976, 87% of executions in the United States have taken place in the Bible Belt.

I don't think God is amused.

 
At 16:32, Blogger dorsano said...

the state has the right to kill when necessary.

When necessary just like a human being - to prevent against imminent death.

In other words - Thou shall not murder. which is the Hebrew interpretation.

The same applies to the state. If the rule of law is not threatened or break down in civil order is not threatened, there is no imminent threat of the state's extinction.

 
At 16:53, Blogger dorsano said...

See:

Romans 5:15-6:14,
I Corinthians 2:7-10,

Then read

I Corinthians 1:18-31, 15:21-28,
Colossians 2:12-15.

The power of evil which holds sway by its ability to impose death on us is defeated by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

For Jesus to defeat evil he must not imitate evil's power.

We are called to resist and defeat evil by means that do not imitate evil’s power.

That's interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New.

Using current events, we can't defeat terrorism by acting like terrorists or they have won no matter which of dies last.

 
At 07:48, Blogger lovin' it said...

Dorsano - Your argument against the death penalty sounds well thought out and reasonable, whether or not I agree with it.

Let me ask you one question to help me decide if you are sincere:

Do you believe that abortion is immoral and should be illegal, or do you condone the murder of preborn innocents as a private choice?

If you're really pro-life, then we can talk about the death penalty. But if you're pro-life for murder convicts and pro-abortion for innocent babies, then I'm calling you out as a hypocrite worse then any pharisee.

 
At 08:31, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Well, Dorsano, he was just laying-in-wait for this one because of course EVERYONE can't wait to get pregnant or knock someone up so they can run out and have an abortion. YIPPEE, abortions are just SOOOO much fun!!!

Love the selective word choice too.

 
At 08:55, Blogger lovin' it said...

Nice dodge Callie. Care to answer the question?

 
At 15:30, Blogger dorsano said...

Do you believe that abortion is immoral and should be illegal, or do you condone the murder of preborn innocents as a private choice?

Answer this question for me and maybe I can answer you.

When does a fertizlied egg acquire a soul?

 
At 15:53, Blogger dorsano said...

Dorsano - Your argument against the death penalty sounds well thought out and reasonable, whether or not I agree with it.

To be honest - I never thought deeply about the death penalty. I was never "against" it - especially when a cop is killed, an act of treason is committed, an act of "terrorism" - or the death penalties handed down during the Nuremburg trials.

I always valued the life of an inocent person above most requirements to "punish" - I know that.

Something you said in one of your early comments prompted me to think about it. I'm not sure what.

It must have been time for me to think about it. I'm glad Callie indulged me and allowed me to think out loud on one of her comment threads.

And I appreciate your taking the time to discuss it.

 

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