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'Hoax' Against Hate Crimes Bill

Earlier today, I called Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), hoping to get her statement of contrition for her stunningly ignorant comments about the murder of Matthew Shepard.

While arguing against passage of the hate crimes bill yesterday, Foxx said:

I also would like to point out that there was a bill -- the hate crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay. This -- the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it's really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.

A hoax?

"This is the urban legend that wouldn't die," Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard, told me as she headed to the airport after spending a couple of days on Capitol Hill pushing for a federal hate crimes law. "If anyone read the court transcripts, they would know Matt was singled out because he was gay. That makes it a hate crime by any definition."

The hate crimes bill -- which would expand the definition of hate crimes punishable by federal law to include attacks based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity and mental or physical disability -- has had a hard time getting through Congress. President Bush was against it. Opponents, many of them Republican, believe that existing statutes are adequate. I disagree on the same grounds espoused by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who said that hate crimes "not only injure individual victims, but also terrorize entire segments of our population and tear at our nation's social fabric."

Well, despite Foxx's comments, the House yesterday passed the Federal Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by a vote of 249 to 175.

Mrs. Shepard said she's "really confident" that it will become law this time "given the support we have from the president and Harry Reid," the senate majority leader. In a statement before the vote, President Obama said: "I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance."

At Foxx's office this morning, no one answered the phone. I couldn't leave a message because the mailbox was full. But, thanks to Glenn Thrush, I was able to see the statement she released.

It has come to my attention that some people have been led to believe that I think the terrible crimes that led to Matthew Shepard’s death in 1998 were a hoax. The term “hoax” was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate crimes bill. Mr. Shepard’s death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received. I am especially sorry if his grieving family was offended by my statement.

The larger context of my remarks is important. I was referring to a 2004 ABCNews 20/20 report on Mr. Shepard’s death. ABC’s 20/20 report questioned the motivation of those responsible for Mr. Shepard’s death. Referencing this media account may have been a mistake, but it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts.

Not that she asked, but my advice to her is stop digging.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 30, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: Michael 'Snoop Dogg' Steele

Comments

Lemme guess. John Stossel that colossal dbag was behind the 20/20 piece.

Posted by: Gutavo | April 30, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

North Carolina 5th District: What a loser. She gives you a reputation for stupidity, racist and hate. I actually like the Tar Heel state and vacation there often (Outer Banks).

Of cource I can't talk about my representative, John Boehner. He was Bush's biggest but# kisser of all time. He brags about no pork for our district but if you go to legistorm.com you will see he has accepted more money (bribes) from corporations than anyone but Tom Delay, Trent Lott, Dennis Haterset and Conrad Burns. He may have primary competion next election because of an anti immigration crusader name Sheriff Jones. The saying is Jones arrested Agent Orange/Suntan John because he thought he was an illegal immigrant.

Maybe both our districts can do better in 2010.

Posted by: respect1 | April 30, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Is that a flag pin she's wearing? Did she ask them super-size it? Of course, she's taking the word of the convicted killers here, but what the hey?

Posted by: st50taw | April 30, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"We know," you know nothing except you masters told you to be against this and you don't care if you malign a murder victim. Just like "we know" per Karl Rove that pandemic flu preparation is just pork spending that must be opposed. Getting swine flu is just a matter of personal responsibility. Just like "we know" Iraq has WMDs. "We know" Congress is full of Socialists and should be investigated.

Posted by: jvbutcher | April 30, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Certainly Representative Foxx's comments are dishonest and repulsive. But we need to look beyond her comments to see who and what she represents, and in that it is the hate-filled populace of Northwestern North Carolina.

It is very scary country down there. It feeds the kind of hatreds that lead to the Klan-driven Greensboro massacre in 1978, and the subsequent acquittal of the killers. Her district includes Winston-Salem, the center of the death-dealing cancer industry.

So when we see Virginia Foxx, we have to realize she has been elected to represent the purest forms of evil.

What is alarming about this incident is the lack of outrage from fellow Republicans. This tacit approval of Rep. Foxx reveals that as the Republican Party relegates itself to a regional status it is becoming more and more a voice for all hate groups. If this seems far fetched, look at Republican David Duke who was arrested in the Czech Republic for hate crimes, and realize many Republican leaders will not be able to travel abroad because they may be charged with war crimes.

The Republican Party is becoming nothing less than a criminal organization. Virginia Foxx is just another one of its voices.


Posted by: colonelpanic | April 30, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Virginia Foxx is an idiotic bigot masquerading as a human being.

Posted by: OIFVet | April 30, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

An ignorant Republican homophobe from North Carolina - as their gay native son, Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, surprise!"

Posted by: coloradodog | April 30, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

She looks like a Rovian Wicked Witch of the East.

Posted by: coloradodog | April 30, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Ofttimes conservatives wonder why Repubs are viewed as mean. It is because of the stupid, hateful things that spew forth whenever they open their mouths. What is in world is wrong with the modern conservative movement? In the past (i.e. pre-Limbaugh/Hannity/Gingrich) I would sometimes vote for Republican candidates; however, I see nothing of value in their current party.

Modern day Republicans are homophobic, warmongering, bigoted, inept, incompetent ideologues that would destroy this country given half a chance. Look at what happened to our beloved country in six short years of conservative governance. The GOP is a party of fools.

Posted by: Kaneohe | April 30, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The hate crimes bill -- which would expand the definition of hate crimes punishable by federal law to include attacks based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity and mental or physical disability -- has had a hard time getting through Congress.

---

Very politically correct.

Why not include hate crimes against ugly people?

Why not include hate crimes against fat people?

Why not include hate crimes against short people?

Why not include hate crimes against old people?

Why not include hate crimes against children?

Why not include hate crimes against women?

Everyone knows what a crime is and we have appropriate penalties.

This bill sounds like a source of witch hunts and a legal morass.

Who decides guilt?

A ’politically correct’ jury?

What are the legal definitions?

Sexual orientation?

Gender identity?

Mental disability?

Physical disability?


Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jack Dixon,

To answer your question about why a hate crime should carry an additional punishment, I'll point to Black's Law Dictionary as it describes an aggravating circumstance to a crime:

"any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences, but which is above and beyond the essential constituents of the crime or tort itself."

You see, this is not a new idea in law.

And what we are doing here is stating in legislation, that to the great majority of Americans, committing an act of violence for hateful reasons against homosexuals is such a heinous act that it does increase the "guilt or enormity" of the act.

This circumstance has always been the responsibility of prosecuting attorneys to bring bring before the judgement of the jury. Only with this law, hatred of homosexuals must now be considered such a circumstance.

We are codifying this because we know there are groups of Americans who advocate hatred against homosexuals, and support violence against them -- they root them on. And most Americans find this disgusting. Don't you?

What is even more disturbing to me is seeing this hatred drive the lies of a Representative to the Congress of the United States of America.

Posted by: colonelpanic | April 30, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, what else would you expect. The Pashtun-speaking wing of the Taliban harbored terrorists in 2001, and the Murikan-speaking wing of the Taliban is defending terrorism here in 2009.

Support the troops. Defeat the Taliban, at home and abroad.

Posted by: B2O2 | April 30, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Northwest North Carolina has had 2 political legends over the last couple of decades: Ms Foxx and Jesse Helms.

Enough said.

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | April 30, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Would the perpetrators of Matthew Shepard's torture & murder be punished any more or any less severely if he had not been gay? If the punishment would have been essentially the same regardless of Shepard's sexual orientation, what difference would the added legislation do?

"Russell Arthur Henderson pleaded guilty to felony murder and kidnapping, allowing him to avoid the death penalty. [This was the result of a deal with prosecutors for him to testify against McKinney]"

"Aaron James McKinney was convicted of felony murder and kidnapping. Henderson is currently serving two consecutive life sentences and McKinney is serving the same but without the possibility of parole."

Posted by: amazd | April 30, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Why not include hate crimes against ugly people?

Why not include hate crimes against fat people?

Why not include hate crimes against short people?

Why not include hate crimes against old people?

Why not include hate crimes against children?

Why not include hate crimes against women?

----------

Hate crimes against women?

You might have a point, and someday, we might catch up.

You have to understand the motivations behind hate crimes and the necessity of the state response to said crimes to really argue the point.

It's clear you don't.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | April 30, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Kaneohe got it exactly right in his post. Republicans are often viewed as mean (not to mentioned bigoted) "because of the stupid, hateful things that spew forth whenever they open their mouths."

There are perfectly legitimate arguments for and against hate crimes legislation. Indeed, there has even been something of an intra-community debate about the legislation in the gay community. I tend to think the arguments in favor outweigh the arguments against the legislation.

But the point is that when there are *legitimate* arguments available, why--time and time again--do conservative Republicans prefer to spew bile and bluster, rather than make a cogent, non-offensive policy argument? Whether the bill is named for Shepard or not is about the least significant aspect of the issue, yet it is the one that Foxx chose to rant about.

This preference for spewing hate instead of respectful dialogue is why conservative Republicans often come across as complete bigots.

Posted by: uh_huhh | April 30, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear colonel panic:

Should pedophilia be a legally protected crime?

Why not include hate crimes against battered women?

Why not include hate crimes against a husband?

Why not include hate crimes against a wife?

Why not include hate crimes against divorced couples?

Why not include hate crimes against separated spouses?

Why not include hate crimes against rich people?

Why not include hate crimes against poor people?

Why not include hate crimes against those who report crimes?

The proposed legislation is very politically correct.

Why not have the federal government focus on where the most “hate” crimes occur?

What is the frequency of the proposed protected ‘hate’ crimes?

What are the statistics on crimes against the following?

ugly people?

fat people?

short people?

old people?

young children?

adolescent children?

single women?

battered women

husbands?

wives?

divorced couples?

separated spouses?

rich people?

poor people?

those who report crimes?

Which of the above is beyond "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences, but which is above and beyond the essential constituents of the crime or tort itself."?

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with jackdixon. Why should a crime be considered worse because of what someone was thinking at the time. I don't care if someone attacks me because I'm white or because I'm tall, or because I'm a man or because I might have some money on me. It should all be the same crime. It's this kind of politically correct BS that drove me to become a Libertarian.

Posted by: tom_ryan | April 30, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The repeated references above to "Republican" clearly show that the proposed legislation is political in nature and has nothing to do with equal justice under the law.

What it can do is introduce arbitrary discrimination.

Equal Justice under the Law?

I think not.

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The 20/20 piece about Matt Shepard's was done by Elizabeth Vargas. I will tell you that after you saw the story you will see that he was not murdered because of his sexual orientation. In fact, he'd had an intimate relationship with one of his killers. After the killers (who were high on drugs) beat him they then went and beat someone else up - who wasn't gay.

I was really proud of 20/20 for going back and looking at this case in minute detail. Too often journalism is done as the result of breaking news headlines and we never get to the bottom of the story. The Washington Post did the same thing recently with its wonderful reporting on the Chandra Levy case. We should encourage journalists to revisit stories after the hype has left, and we should not attack them for what they report or discover.

This takes nothing away from the life that Matthew Shepard led. He was a special person, but he was not a victim of a hate crime. There's no question that we need a hate crimes law in this country.

Posted by: Glenderful | April 30, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with the judgement of southern voters? Oh! It must be those pesky VOTER GUIDES the fundamentalist American Taliban hand out in church!

Oh, but then I forget that they don't mix politics with religion... Noooo that would be illegal. No we don't do that down south in the US of A no sir. Not at all. No.

Posted by: onestring | April 30, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Dear jack,

I never mentioned anything about pedophilia being a protected crime. I think that is disgusting.

Your wild implication does your argument no good. And in fact amplifies my opinion -- and likely the opinions of others reading your comments -- that that those who are against hate crimes legislation are dishonest, and very likely hateful, people.


Posted by: colonelpanic | April 30, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

OK first of all Rep. Foxx is pond scum, but for a Republican to tell a vicious and transparent lie is about as remarkable as the sun coming up in the morning. Lying is what they do, it's what they all do, they have no interest in telling the truth because reality is against them.

That said, I'm against the name of the bill as well, and I am against hate crimes as a special consideration. It complicates the law by pretending to divine a murderer's intent, when all we really need is to distinguish spontaneity from premeditation.

Two things.

(1) Existing laws against malicious mischief, assault, and murder should be enough, so long as they are fairly enforced. It was not that long ago that the panic defense was admissible, or that murders of "unmarried antique dealers" went uninvestigated

(2) Shepard didn't deserve that befell him but he was certainly seeking it. He had been badly assaulted several times before for coming on to redneck trash, but he kept doing it. He snuck out on a class trip to Morrocco and got gang-raped; he was beaten up bad by a bartender in Cheyenne. He loved risk, and at 21 was already HIV+. I really don't think a law named after a self-destructive kid with serious problems is the best way to go.

And oh, I'm a gay man.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow - She's in the same league with Rep. Michele Bachmann. And, like Bachmann, I'm sure she isn't getting any Mensa recruitment letters in her mailbox.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | April 30, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear colonel panic:

Your comment to me was, ”I never mentioned anything about pedophilia being a protected crime.“

I didn’t say you did.

The question I posed was:

Should pedophilia be a legally protected crime?

So who is being dishonest?


Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

CPanic

So if someone disagree with you they are dishonest and maybe hateful people? Don't think so-one can be against such a law for very legitimate reasons. You can apply reasoning in a case with codifying it in law. That was a concern when the Constitution was written--that codifying some things would be seen as the limit--in other words, anything not codified would not be protected.

Posted by: luchok | April 30, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that he was "seeking it." If you saw the 20/20 piece then you realize he KNEW his killers and had an intimate relationship with one of them. That was the thing about the 20/20 follow-up report, it made Matthew actually look better. At first we all thought he was some horny kid who got into a car with two complete strangers and "deserved" what happened to him. In fact, he knew them and so was quite comfortable going out with him. Unfortunately, they were high and he was killed as a result of a drug-fueled binge.

Posted by: Glenderful | April 30, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

If Congress is serious, it would first conduct a study of crimes to see which ones involve a modicum of “hate.”

One reason sexual orientation is promoted is because when it is claimed, it results in headlines and gets promoted way out of proportion to its frequency.

How many were there last year?

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

How many were there last year?

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:13 PM

==

Now that you mention it I guess we shouldn't get so bent out of shape over a couple of ugly business towers in NYC either, right? After all, more people die from smoking-related illnesses every three days, right?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Are you sure that isn't Joe Biden in drag?

Sure sounds like him.

I know, dopey politicians who say stupid stuff are only from the south - like Wilmington Delaware.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | April 30, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Glenderful: that really doesn't change anything and anyway I don't buy the "dope binge" stuff, that sounds way too Reefer Madness to me. And it does change the reality of Shepard as a risk-junkie, which he was. For example he and his friends liked to strand themselves, getting rides to gay clubs and leaving themselves no ride home, so they had to go home with someone, anyone who would have them. The kid had a screw loose, he was turned on by danger. He was on a collision course with death.

And even if he did know one of his killers, he was an idiot to go private with them. Did you see them? They were trash.

It's comforting to know that they are both doing time in one of the most violent prison systems in the country, and that both are small and at least at the time of their incarcertion, young.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

"How many were there last year?"

I'm still waiting for an answer.

But be factual.

A factual response would have meaning instead of your rambling about the 9/11 disaster.

Your response is totally irrelevant to this topic.

Don't show your ignorance.

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Don't show your ignorance.

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:45 PM

==

That's pretty funny coming from a gooper

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I see that chrisfox8 has a limited ability to discuss a topic intelligently.

Sad.

Posted by: JackDixon | April 30, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

"What is alarming about this incident is the lack of outrage from fellow Republicans."

I agree! I also don't anticipate the GOP critiquing her. The congresswoman's bigoted attitude and politics disgusts me – because she is a representative of our government. Mr. JackDixon's attitude saddens me -- because he cannot or refuses to relate to what it feels like to be victimized for being a member of a specific group, not because one is a member of the general population/society.

I do agree with one point Mr. JackDixon makes. Ignorance such as his and the congresswoman’s should not become a reason for subjecting them to a hate-crime. Rhetorically speaking, some random person out of 6.7 billion humans should just horrendously kill them -- for being insensitive, perhaps bigoted, and stupid, though according to both these reasons don’t matter. This person would be guilty of a horrendous murder (according to their victims) but not a hate-crime – for the latter crime only targets persons with specific attributes associated with a specific group, not the general population.

Unfortunately, insensitivity, stupidity, and bigotry are attributes shared by the general population, wherein hate-crime laws seek to deter/reduce/punish more severely crimes motivated by “bigotry”.

I wonder how the congresswoman and Mr. JackDixon would feel about creating additional laws to punish more severely those who “rape children” compared to “raping adults” – whether “rape is rape” regardless of the attributes of whom is raped (a baby, child, and teen) and why the victims are targeted (because they are members of a specific group – children versus adults). Imagine further, if children were born into a culture/society that for centuries discriminated against them openly, legally, and covertly daily; devalued, marginalized, and oppressed them daily; and all of these values and practices promoted and validated a pervasive attitude and culture that motivated individuals and groups (pedophiles) to target and horrendously victimize kids. Is it conceivable that we would tolerate such!

Posted by: GroupThink | April 30, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Took me under five seconds to google it

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2007/incidents.htm

"Single-bias incidents

An analysis of the 7,621 single-bias incidents reported in 2007 revealed the following:

* 50.8 percent were racially motivated.
* 18.4 percent were motivated by religious bias.
* 16.6 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
* 13.2 percent stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias.
* 1.0 percent were prompted by disability bias. (Based on Table 1.)"

Any special reason you can't do the same, "Jack?"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The crime in question was a horrible act and there appears to be conflicting testimony to the motivations of the murderers. The state of mind and behavior of the individual committing a crime are certainly taken into account when charging the defendant(s), judging and sentencing. That said, the very concept of "hate crimes" seem to go against the equal protections afforded by the Constitution.
While I abhor violence, I think that having certain groups of people protected above and beyond all of the many, many laws we have would lead to abuses. An example: Two men get into an argument that leads to a fist fight with one or both injured. One happens to be gay and because of that has a certain advantage in the law if one or both of them would be charged with assault. If indeed the gay man was attacked for no good cause this would already be cause to merit stronger punishment for the defendant. Hate crime laws tend to delineate certain marked groups for protection and exclude others. Let us deal harshly with those who commit heinous crimes with forethought or exceptional malice no matter what the reason.

Posted by: vilcasan | April 30, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

There's really no such thing as a "hate crime". It's just another way to make victims feel special.

If you're punched in the nose, it's illegal. You don't need a 2nd law that punishes the other person more because you happen to be light in the loafers.

Seriously.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | April 30, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

What a despicable interpretation. I really ought not dignify it with a response but I'm going to anyway.

The point is not to make the victim feel special, what a nauseatingly childish way to express it. The point is to express society's distaste for bigotry, which is in itself a perfectly good thing. It's in line with the change in my lifetime from workplaces where minorities, racial and otherwise, could be legally terrorized, while now calling your coworker by a racial name means being marched out of the building by a guard and your career over.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 30, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Rep Foxx is either unbelievably ignorant or just a hateful bigot. Either way she's not fit to hold public office.

Posted by: mtnmanvt | April 30, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

While not impressed with Rep. Fox, it must be said Congress should have more important things to do than debate this issue. The killers of Shepard were put away for two consecutive life terms. Do we really need more laws on the books when they may end up causing all kinds of unintended consequences. As the old saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Posted by: vilcasan | April 30, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8 states:

An analysis of the 7,621 single-bias incidents reported in 2007 revealed the following:
* 50.8 percent were racially motivated.
* 18.4 percent were motivated by religious bias.
* 16.6 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
* 13.2 percent stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias.
* 1.0 percent were prompted by disability bias. (Based on Table 1.)"

---

What is an incident?

Did some just repeat a Polish joke?

How many were murders?

Of the 24,950 juveniles ages 12-17 who were murdered annually between 1980-2000 12,880 were black, and 11,270 were white. The remaining 620 murdered were combined as American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, or Pacific Islanders.

How many of these murders were hate crimes based on sexual orientation?

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

uh_huhh says:

“This preference for spewing hate instead of respectful dialogue is why conservative Republicans often come across as complete bigots.”

Let’s see who is spewing hate.

Go see who is using the following words:

butt kisser
dishonest
repulsive
hate-filled
idiotic bigot
homophobic
warmongering
heinous
mean
scum
Hateful bigot

That should tell you who is spewing hate instead of respectful dialogue.


Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

tom_ryan wrote: "Why should a crime be considered worse because of what someone was thinking at the time."

The law has always considered crimes worse than others because of what someone was thinking at the time. It's the fundamental difference in the law between negligent homicide and first-degree capital murder and everything in between. Intent -- what someone was thinking at the time -- IS the driving factor that determines the charge. It's been that way for centuries.

Perhaps Rep. Foxx should do as Judy Shepard suggests and read the transcripts of the court proceedings in her son's murder. Matthew was clearly targeted because he was gay. To say otherwise -- as have Rep. Foxx & the 20/20 piece -- is to put more faith in the statements of the very murderers who killed Matthew Shepard six years after the murder than faith in their statements at trial when their lives were at stake. Which version of events would a reasonable person believe? The 20/20 piece took its "new information" directly from the murderers and their friends -- *all* of whom said something completely different immediately following their arrests AND at trial. Foxx is the hoaxx.

Posted by: PattiFink1 | May 1, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

WEll "Jack" since you are reduced to equivocating hopelessly over definitions I'd say you're finished here.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 1, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Let me explain something to you, JackDixon.

You GOP trolls advocate torture, you glorify in bigotry, you lie like a rug, you defend war criminals, you support invading other countries, you argue in bad faith, you deny science, you believe crap, and, for those reasons and others, we despise you.

Are we clear?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 1, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I have never liked legislation to be given the name of an individual or group. I know that it is done to imbue the act with a “face” designed to generate broad empathy and portray opponents as unfeeling cads. In this case we have the merits of the proposal mixed with the question of whether the incidents involving the “poster” crime victim meet the criteria.

This is what led to the remarks uttered by Rep. Foxx about Matthew Shepard and his suitability. The circumstances of Shepard’s murder has no bearing on the applicability of any future crime cases. Many have noted that if the proposed legislation had been on the books it would not have mattered appreciably to the punishments rendered. Still, not all hate crimes end in death.

We should concentrate on what this bill means for the living. I do not know if I support this particular bill; I have not read it. But I no problem with using enhanced penalties for crimes motivated by the victim’s membership in an oft-targeted social group.

Posted by: SCKershaw | May 1, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow - She's in the same league with Rep. Michele Bachmann. And, like Bachmann, I'm sure she isn't getting any Mensa recruitment letters in her mailbox.

Idiot.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 1, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

For JackDixon, We have hate crime laws for the same reason we increase penalties for assaulting a police officer as compared to assaulting a stranger on the street. Terrorism is by definition a motivational crime. If someone blows up a building because they like blowing up building it isn't terrorism, if someone blows up a building to try and destabilize a government then it is terrorism. Only difference is motivation. So guess what Jack ifwelcome to a democracy.

Posted by: crete | May 1, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Those of you who can only comment on internet articles by using insults and rudeness should really step back and look at yourself in the mirror and wonder what face you are putting on your cause.

Crete, we have stricter penalties for assaulting police because they are charged with keeping the streets safe, and the law is to keep police from being too intimidated to effectively do their jobs.

Hate crimes legislation, while nice sounding, gives some classes more protected status than others. How is that reasonable?

An angry murder of a white, straight man is less heinous than the murder of a gay person?

No person should ever be punished or hurt because of their views, race, or orientation; however, all violent crimes are hate crimes.

There is no need for this law.

Posted by: OhioCols | May 1, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans astound me. They love Torture and they become convinced by idiots like Stoessel that there is another side, a lighter side if you will (as VP Cheney would say), to violence.


The reason why Hate Crime legislation makes sense is that it does protect classes of people from being attacked because of their membership in a particular group.

Hate Crime Laws can be applied evenly. Idiotic Animal Rights Fanatics can be prosecuted for targeting "anti-animal" individuals. Conservative Christians can be protected from being targeted.

Obviously, more Gay People are targeted for Bias Crimes, because there are individuals who feel they can "Send a message to Fags" (as the Westboro "Christian" church does at Funerals) that "God hates them" and "They are not welcome here".

Hate Crime Legislation stops such groups from ACTING on their hatred.

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | May 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The good news is that Ms. Foxx is now less ignorant. Her statement holds at least a glimmer of recognition that she believed an urban (or in this case, rural) myth and now sees that she was wrong to believe things without researching them first.

She ought to work to moderate the more rigid members of her constituency -- help them recognize their biases. Her statement, of course, doesn't really apologize. It should.

But in having light shined on darkness, there's hope.

Posted by: cturtle1 | May 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"If you're punched in the nose, it's illegal. You don't need a 2nd law that punishes the other person more because you happen to be light in the loafers.

Seriously."

Seriously, you're ignorant of the law. Murder by lying in wait or murder for hire is punished more severely than crime of passion murder or vehicular homicide.

The victims are dead in all cases, but the punishment can vary widely. This is common knowlege, so why do you post such nonsense? Just a troll, are ye?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 1, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8

“Let me explain something to you, JackDixon. You GOP trolls advocate torture, you glorify in bigotry, you lie like a rug, you defend war criminals, you support invading other countries, you argue in bad faith, you deny science, you believe crap, and, for those reasons and others, we despise you.” Are we clear?

---

“You GOP trolls advocate torture“

I am not a Republican and I don’t advocate torture.

---

“you glorify in bigotry”

I think you are talking about yourself.

---

“you lie like a rug”

Who is the liar? You say I advocate torture when you have no proof.

---

“you defend war criminals“

No, I would give them a fair trial and then take them out and hang them..

---

“you support invading other countries’

I am totally against invading other countries.

---

“you argue in bad faith,”

Please read the above and see who argues in bad faith.

---

“you deny science”

I have degrees in, and work in a field of science.

___

“you believe crap‘


No, I don’t believe what you write.

---

“we despise you.”

I think you have a self-loathing which you try to place on others.

---

Are we clear?

I am. But I can’t say the same for you.

---

YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.

GROW UP!

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Here is something to be concerned about if this legislation passes:

Imagine being on trial and your state of mind is a critical factor in whether the crime you are being tried for is a “hate crime.”

Seated on the jury is chrisfox8 and 11 others like him.

Could their self-loathing be a problem for you?

You don’t want to find out.

The country doesn’t need this ‘politically-correct’ legislation.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

And yet another repubican terd falls into the neo-con cesspool. Plop.

Posted by: swatkins1 | May 1, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

What caused you to fall?

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Could their self-loathing be a problem for you?"

Self-loathing? You must be referring to closeted GOP Fudgepackers like Rove, Limbaugh, Crist, etc.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 1, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

"Self-loathing? You must be referring to closeted GOP Fudgepackers like Rove, Limbaugh, Crist, etc"

---

Hardly.

Rove and Limbaugh are the opposite of self-loathing. They are ego-maniacs, and they are far from being closeted.

The real danger is having self-loathing chrisfox8 and 11 others like him on a jury.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Hate crimes legislation, while nice sounding, gives some classes [groups] more protected status than others. How is that reasonable?"

An angry murder of a white, straight man is less heinous than the murder of a gay person?"

Yes and No -- Yes or No!

Yes, the murder of "white straight males" is "more heinous" if they are targeted by "gay persons" because these citizens are "white straight males" -- especially if the "gay persons" are the statistically dominant group in power and have been using that power (as individuals, groups, and their institutions) to discriminate against "white straight males" in many ways, including hate-crimes.

No, it is not a hate-crime but a "general population crime" if there is no "bigoted motivation" and no "specific group" was targeted because of their visual or otherwise know attributes -- where the crime was commmitted against an individual "as a member of the general population".

It is disengenous for those claiming our laws/values are "one-size-fits-all" or should be, when they know the bigoted history and present-day practices of our culture/nation -- how specific groups are targeted and terrorized via many forms of discrimination including hate-crimes. These bloggers also know each of us (as individuals and groups) value our members (and even those we know) more than we do others, strangers. American went to war because a few thousand Americans dies in the 911 terrorist attack -- we translated our anger at being "target" into a "US" vs "THEM desire for revenge/justice. And we spend billions of dollars to act out that "cultural indignation".

Not giving "targeted groups" some extra justice translates into defending and preserving the culprit individuals/group's bigoted "terrorizing" practices -- hate-crimes, for these culprits are not targets themself, by those they hurt/murder or any other groups. This group blends into the general population, and only become victims as random individuals in the society.

Hate-crime laws equalize the victimization and justice field. For example, if we could put all those citizens who are against enacting hate-crimes in a room, the odds are 100% few of them will be members of a target group, past or present -- and gives us a clue about why they object to such legislation, more so than any of their abstract notions of equality, or eroneous notions that we have one-size-fits all laws. These persons, more often than not, don't want themself and their group to be held MORE ACCOUNTABLE for their pervasive actions.

Posted by: GroupThink | May 1, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

GroupThink

“For example, if we could put all those citizens who are against enacting hate-crimes in a room, the odds are 100% few of them will be members of a target group, past or present”

---

I don’t know what “the odds are 100% few of them” means.

But more to the point:

There is no need to make statutory what is already done in crimes where there are mitigating circumstances.

“Hate” can be a mitigating consideration taken into account by a court just as other factors are in many cases.

It's up to the prosecutor assigned to the case, the judge and the jury.

The country doesn’t need more federal involvement.

If taxpayers are going to pay more to achieve justice for its citizens, it should start by providing more protection for battered women and others such as those killed for defying criminals by testifying against them.

The proposed legislation is simply ‘political correctness’ run amok to satisfy a onstituent lobby.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. JackDixon:

For example, I'm age 49, born in 1960, African American, have lived in 10 nations and 10 states, was a teen Black Panter, gang-member, military soldier, community activist, corporate climber, government analyst, have 3 degrees in social science, and recognize fallacious logic, esoteric thought, and a persons who need a reality-check.

In other words, Sir, I'm experienced first-hand and have witnessed hate-crimes. Please Sir, save your "rationalizations" for others. I argued this non-sense in undergrad 20 years ago with Ivy-Leaquers (all trust fund rich kids) who understood the complexities of this issue on a deeper and more experiential level than you, given what I've read of your many posts. I don't mean to be dismissive. But I've got enough first-hand, travelled, educational, and observational life experience to not waste my time (like I used to do debating members of the KKK) to indulge you in your esoteric abstract mental flights of fancy. I can only suggest, Sir, you not become a victim of a hate-crime -- a member of a target group. If such were to happen, I can 100% guarantee you, you'll UNDERSTAND the issue not only intellectually but first-hand:)

Thank you, Mr. JackDixon for sharing your point of view. Please continue to blend back into the general population:)

Posted by: GroupThink | May 1, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

GroupThink says

“I'm experienced first-hand and have witnessed hate-crimes.”

No one has a monopoly on ‘hate.”

---

Are you aware of the following?

A white man aboard a subway car is taunted, harassed and attacked by a gang of black high-schoolers. Three white Michigan teens find themselves in the "wrong" neighborhood and are beaten and shot by six black youths. Then there was the case of a white couple that was gang raped, mutilated and murdered by five black adults.

Welcome to the world of hate crimes that aren't hate crimes.

In prosecuting the murder of the couple, Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian, the assailants will go on trial without ‘hate’ being charged according to John Gill, special counsel to the district attorney in the case,

He said, "There is absolutely no proof of a hate crime."

In the case of the Michigan teens, Dustin Kaiser, Michael Carter and an unnamed 14-year-old girl, two victims survived to bear witness. Their assailants were convicted but again, no hate crime charges.

Google “black crime on whites” and you will get 17,100,000 hits.

The problem with hate crimes is that there is unequal justice. In practice, hate crime law becomes political.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 1, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"No one has a monopoly on ‘hate.”

Mr. JackDixon,

I don't claim to have a "monopoly" on hate-crimes, because I'm African American or personally. To the contrary, I'm quite knowledgeable about which segments of our nation (past and present) are hate-crime targets. I claim "hate-crimes" exist, past and present. However, if you wish to argue all members of society (or using your examples, whites ethnics generic) are equally or comparably victims of hate-crimes, then you're incorrect. Racism, sexism, homophobic, etc. are not equal opportunity victimizers Sir, in form or frequency, interms of the culprits and victims. I can asure you, Sir, if our 200 plus non-hispanic white majority were frequent victims of racial hate-crimes (past and present) by blacks or any non-white group, our nation would have enacted hate-crimes already, and in all 50 states.

My point to you was, I've been the target of hate-crimes, past and present. I've witness others victimized -- even on rare occassion whites, to whose defense I'm came, at life and death risk of myself being murdered. But, because I'm my age and race, and given my travels and education, I have a unique "qualitative" and "empirical" perspective on the issue, one most white heterosexual males are oblivious to, will rarely or never experience, because they can "blend into the general population".

I also opined that if straight white males (as individuals and a group) were "theoretically targeted" because of their race/gender, then this too would constitute a hate-crime. But such is not a frequent and pervasive reality. There is no non-white equivalent to the KKK (and other flourishing neo-nazi) groups targeting whites. Even a now non-existent group (the Black Panthers) that was mis-perceived (by our white majority) to be targeting ("hating") whites was openly and covertly "assasinated" and "wiped-out" by the FBI - in contrast to our now flourish KKK (and other white hate groups), openly under 1st Amendment Rights and covertly.

Your "we're all crime victims and equally race, gender, sexual orientation, identity victims" is fallacious Sir. You, Sir, can google your history and present-day statistics, also study deeply the qualitative differences, also volunteer yourself to become a targeted hate-crime victim (my preference being you becoming a female in any nation or non-white, especially black), and then, perhaps you'll stop "rationalizing" the "real-world" operates (especially crime wise) in the way you project.

Thank you, Mr. JackDixon, for sharing your point of view. I simply disagree with it!

Posted by: GroupThink | May 1, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Justice should be blind.

When someone deprives another of a constitutional right, regardless of race or other perceivable "difference", the law should apply the same remedy.

That's what 'Equal Justice under the Law' means.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 2, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It`s difficult to be proud of any politicians, most being tone-deaf idealogues. To solve the hate crime debate we only need to add penalties for crimes committed against victims that are not the same race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation as the perpetrator. White dude steals from Black dude, more penalty. Female hits male with hammer, more time in jail. Homosexual robs heterosexual, ditto. Naturally born male kills post-op transexual, stiffer penalty. That eliminates the unfairness. Criminals should only violate people similar to themselves or face serious consequences.

Posted by: bender1 | May 2, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"To solve the hate crime debate we only need to add penalties for crimes committed against victims that are not the same race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation as the perpetrator."

---

Pardon me Sir. but I am about to beat you to a pulp, or worse. But first I need to know your religion, sexual preference, and your race, because in this poor light I can’t really be sure of your skin color. I need to know this to see if I will be guilty of a hate crime.

Posted by: JackDixon | May 2, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Who decides what constitutes hatred, bigotry, homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism? Who decides what constitutes acceptable opinion? The powerful decide. Technically, the powerless are allowed to disagree, but if they do, they will be made to feel like Hitler in a synagogue.

Posted by: markoller | May 4, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

The problem of having special laws for "special" people is that definitions of words change over time and with different people.

The definition of "hate" could be loosened up later on so that anything negative can be considered hate. This is going on already with "politically correct" speech

Before you know it, looking cross-eyed at some liberally favored, group member will get a person sent up under "hate" crime legislation. That will be a real hardship for those poor cross-eyed people.

You'd then be using special laws to persecute handicapped people. Another favored group. A real, liberal conflict of interest.

Posted by: battleground51 | May 4, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The 20/20 piece to which Foxx referred is here: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=277685&page=1

As for "my advice to her is stop digging," that seems a peculiar philosophy of life to come from a journalist.

Posted by: kingpigeon | May 4, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I've seen both of those knuckleheads interviewed in prison. Their motivation was definitely robbery, but the fact that Shepard was gay certainly didn't help him any when it came to their brutality.

However, it doesn't constitute a "hate crime." And people who try to make that reach in this particular case are only undermining the very cause they claim to support.

Capehart is still wet behind the ears; he'll learn where and when to picks his fights in due time.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | May 4, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Before accusing others of hate crimes, I suggest that the PC media look at itself in a mirror. Blaming Zionist terrorism on Muslims to justify a holy war is a hate crime. You might as well have demolished the Twin Towers yourselves. Some tv executives, and media moghuls had prior knowledge.

The Cambodian killing fields was as much a liberal media atrocity as a communist atrocity. The motive was anti-American hatred. The media is still portraying American sodiers in Vietnam as a bunch of Nazi baby killers, but this is not an insult. They were the pathetic victims of fascist America. Liberal newspapers have been an accomplice to every communist atrocity since Stalin's time. And eventually, liberalism mutated into political correctness.

Posted by: markoller | May 4, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

No hatred can compare to liberal hatred for President Nixon. As soon as he showed a sign of vulnerability, the liberal media pounced on him like a pack of rabid hyenas. Nixon's real crime was preventing a communist victory in the Vietnam war. Why don't you ask Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees whether your victory over Nixonian fascism was worth it.

Posted by: markoller | May 5, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

As a matter of curiosity, would the ravings of the gay supporters against Miss California be considered hate crimes? How about Al Sharpton's actions during the Tawnawanda Brawley fiasco, particularly after she admitted no rape had taken place. Reverend Al continued to attack a white man for a crime he didn't commit. Why, if not hatred of whites? The people who called President Obama on his association with the Reverend Wright, his wife's assertion that she had spent most of her life being ashamed of America, and his friendship with ACORN and Bomber Ayers? Were those hate crimes?

Posted by: hyood | May 6, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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