Another Hate Crime That Was The Wrong Kind of Hate

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Among the many toxic effects of hate crime laws, the worst is that they destroy the ethic of equality before the law.  This ethic was the cornerstone of the civil rights movement and its most compelling argument, and for forty years — from 1955 to 1995 — appeals for equal treatment before the law for both victims and offenders swayed white Americans to understand minorities’ plight.

All of this changed when Eric Holder and Bill Clinton shoved through a highly politicized hate crimes regime in the late 1990’s.  From the beginning, this regime wasn’t about punishing hate wherever it happened; it was about weaponizing identity politics where they least belonged: in the courts.  It was about freezing America like a scared rabbit before the image of eternal imaginary Klansmen eternally burning down black churches and eternally lynching minorities.

The hate crimes movement also helped distract from the real “tidal wave” of crimes being committed by offenders who frequently happened to be minorities (as were most of their victims).  The “tidal wave of racially motivated church burnings” in the nineties which was ostensibly the motivator for creating the modern hate crimes regime actually didn’t happen, but that didn’t matter to Clinton or Holder either: they just lied about it.

Hate crime laws were really about re-racializing the justice system.

Holder and Clinton knew that these laws were never really intended to “combat hate” but to create a legal spoils system to reward political friends, punish political enemies and super-charge racial divisiveness.  The winners were the various race and ethnic hustlers and the losers were everyone else.

The hate crimes regime that exists today has succeeded beyond Clinton and Holder’s wildest dreams in sowing divisiveness and inequality before the law.  Sadly, nobody even expects these laws to be enforced equally anymore.  Yet nobody in the Republican Party in the states — most hate crime laws are state laws — has the backbone to try to repeal these laws anymore, though doing so would likely be a popular, politically attainable goal.  The racism card and various other prejudice cards, played endlessly, have successfully reduced Republican elected officials to a quivering silence.

Back in the 1990s, Holder and Clinton still bothered to assure the public that hate crime laws would be applied equally — except, they said with a wink and a nudge, where women are involved because there’s just too many female victims of random rapes, not to mention random sexual slurs and random subway assaults and anti-female graffiti and all those other serious and unserious crimes that result in federal investigations when the writing on the dorm room wall is directed at blacks, or Muslims, or (liberal) Jews, or gays, or lesbians, or transvestites, or Latinos, or homeless people, or any of the other groups selectively empowered to demand mobilization of the hate police.

The N.O.W. under Kim Gandy and several other (not all) feminist organizations cheerfully swallowed this double-standard because they:

(A) were known to cheerfully swallow absolutely anything Bill Clinton told them to swallow.

and

(B) were so dominated by the political lesbians and minorities in their ranks that they really did not care if heterosexual white women were subjected to anything from rape to harassment on a public street — heterosexual white women have long been no more than the feminist movement’s whipping boys.  [And yes, to the Judith Butlerites out there, I know on the one hand that I shouldn’t use the term “boys” to describe women, but you (or “u” or “it” or “shoe” or whatever you call yourselves now) must admit that I’m at least disrupting cissexual gender normativity by doing so.]

Back in the nineties, Clinton and Holder swore that white victims of racial violence and abuse would “be counted” alongside other victims (it’s all about the counting).  They swore that these laws wouldn’t diminish other victims of crime.  They promised a lot of things that never happened, but these things were never really intended to happen in the first place.  White people were never intended to be protected against anti-white hate.  Women were never intended to be “counted” as victims of hate.  “Gender bias” was always intended for only non-biologically-born females, not hatred against females, because there’s just too much of it.

As a consequence of these lies, we’re now at a place where randomly killing a heterosexual woman is not as important to our justice system as killing certain other types of people, and mugging a white man is not as important as using a slur word against a minority, and mugging a black man, if the mugger is also a black man, is not as important as a slur word uttered by a white.  Neither types of muggings is likely to be investigated much, if at all, while the right kind of slur word uttered by the right kind of person actually brings out federal troops to investigate and denounce the crime.

It is important to remember that all of this is by design.

The best example of the selective dehumanization of victims created by the hate crime regime was, for a long time, for me, the beating murder of a transgender prostitute in Cordele, Georgia in 1999.  Tracy Thompson managed to seek help before dying from terrible injuries.  Before she died, she said “her boyfriend” had committed the crime, but it was uncertain whether she meant a John or someone she knew.  It was thus also uncertain whether the killer knew that she was biologically a man dressed as a woman and if that knowledge factored at all into the crime.

And so, the real intentions of hate crime laws were horrifically laid out: if Thompson’s killer was angry at her for being transgender — if he had picked her up with the intent of buying sex and “discovered” male genitalia under her skirt then beat her to death because of it, that was a hate crime.  But if her killer just decided to kill a female prostitute, that wasn’t hate.  It wasn’t a crime that would bring federal intervention; it wasn’t as serious a state crime, sentencing-wise; the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) would not get involved; the activists would not march in the streets; the exploiter organizations, from the SPLC to the Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal (the source of the church burning deceptions) to the ADL to the NAACP to the HRC to the NOW (special shame on their heads) would not given a damn; the crime wouldn’t be recounted in the pricey “teaching tolerance” manuals sold by the SPLC and shoved down childrens’ throats at school; it wouldn’t be solemnly memorialized at civil rights events by Eric Holder and Bill Clinton or by Eric Holder and Barack Obama some dozen years later.

If the male genitalia under the skirt didn’t matter to the killer, then it wasn’t an important injustice like killing Matthew Shepard: it was just your run-of-the-mill kidnapping and brutally beating to death of a woman in a lonely field.

At that moment, hate crime laws made “biologically-born” women officially less human than transgendered women and a whole slew of other specially designated people, and this inequality in the courts has only grown stronger since that time.

Nowadays, nobody even expects hate crime laws to be enforced with a facade of even-handedness.  Nobody expects equality before the law anymore, and that lack of expectation is horrifying in its normalcy.  We gave away a lot in 1999.

And so we come to just the latest ethical and practical mess the hate crimes industry has made of our entire justice system.  From the moment Shaima Alwadi was found murdered in her home in California, with a note denouncing the soon-to-be divorced housewife as a “terrorist” nearby, it was well understood that the note was likely a hoax.  But the hate crimes industry cannot let pass any opportunity to accuse Americans of being racist because that is their primary purpose, and so the candles in the cups appeared, and the vigils, and the marchers, and teach-ins on college campuses and elementary schools: the entire apparatus of the for-profit non-profit hate crimes industry struck up the band.  As the media reported: “The case reverberated across the nation because at first, it was thought to be a hate crime.”  So we have trained people to react and also to not react when the victim is just the usual: black-on-black, or black-on-white, or male-on-random female, or, frankly, male-on-male victim when it’s a sex crime.  The latter never gets counted as gender bias, because that’s not what gender bias laws are for.

From the beginning, there was ample evidence that Alwadi’s murder was some type of domestic violence, including her own recent warning to her sister that she would be killed by her husband.  But we have primed a generation of young people to believe above all else that an easily dismissible note with a racial slur is more important than a woman’s beaten and murdered body.  And so the mob assembled, and when the killer’s laughable ploy was revealed, the mob did not retreat: they simply claimed, as they always claim, that it was a “teachable moment” about white racism nonetheless.

The hate crime activists simultaneously demeaned the real victim and created a fake one.  Alwadi simply wasn’t politically useful if she had just been killed by her husband.

Shaima Alwadi’s husband was convicted for murdering his wife in San Diego this week.  Her killing was not prosecuted as a gender-bias hate crime because it was just an angry man killing a woman because she tried to leave him.  Of course, the question of whether his anger arose from his Muslim beliefs in women’s submissiveness would never be “counted” as potential grounds for hate crime charges — not only because feeling such things about women doesn’t officially count as hate, but also because Muslims are among the groups who are systematically designated only as victims of hate crimes,  not as perpetrators of them.

If we enforced hate crime laws in ways designed to actually fight hate, even this domestic murder might be investigated as a form of gender bias.  But if we enforced hate crime laws equally, the Muslim terrorists of 9/11 would count as the most prolific hate criminals in our country’s history (3,000 dead thanks to anti-American nationality hatred); Major Hasan would be one of the worst individual hate criminals in history (13 dead thanks to anti-infidel hatred), and female victims of serial, stranger rapists would be by far the largest category of hate crime victims (gender bias hate) and male victims of serial, stranger rapists who targeted men exclusively would be a significant cohort of gender bias hate crime victims as well.  If anti-white slurs and targeting of random whites were counted as hate, as it should be, minority males (and increasingly females) would rank the highest among hate crime offenders for crimes ranging from robbery to gang assault.

The vast majority of hate crime victims would be white, and the vast majority of hate crime offenders would be from several of the minority populations whose advocates control the deceptive enforcement machinery of these laws today.  These activists could not, of course, allow the truth to be told this way.  To maintain their hate-filled, false vision of America, they must make sure that these laws are never enforced equitably.  Until conservative elected officials find the backbone to address this terrible injustice, we should cease pretending that equality before the law is an ideal or practical matter in our courts.

Good Thing It Wasn’t A Hate Crime: Raymond Harris Just Tortures Women and Sets Them On Fire

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He’s not a hate criminal, just a guy who likes to rape women and stab them and beat them to death or near-death while torturing them by setting them on fire.   Second City Cop has the only real coverage — nobody else is outraged by the fact that Illinois let this guy go, not once, but twice, after he raped and tortured and set a woman on fire, and tried to get another one, and now he’s attacked a third woman (surely there were more).  This time, the victim, a 73-year old nurse, died.

Raymond Harris, serial torturer and rapist of women.  But not a hate criminal.

Well, thank goodness it wasn’t a hate crime: we can all take comfort in that.  From Second City Cop, who links to this Chicago Sun-Times article:

Only in Illinois can 30 years in the joint equal 13 years:
  • A parolee who fatally beat and robbed an elderly nurse in Bridgeport last month used the dead woman’s engagement and wedding rings to propose to his girlfriend, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.Raymond Harris, 36, showed the rings off at a party just hours after he attacked Virginia Perillo in her garage in the 3300 block of South Parnell, assistant state’s attorney Melissa Howlett said. In addition to her rings, Harris also took Perillo’s purse, Howlett said.Perillo, 73, was discovered by a neighbor in a pool of blood with severe head injuries and defense wounds to her forearms on the night of Oct. 22. The brain-dead woman died at Stroger Hospital two days later.
  • Harris was paroled in May after serving 13 years of a 30-year sentence for his 1997 attempted murder and aggravated arson convictions, Howlett said.
And this isn’t the first time he violated parole:
  • In that case, Harris broke into a woman’s home, raped and beat her for several hours, Howlett said. He also threatened that victim at knifepoint, cut her neck and set three separate fires in the woman’s home, Howlett said. The woman woke up with her legs on fire and suffered third-degree burns.Just three weeks before that attack, Harris had been released from prison for a 1993 armed robbery, vehicular invasion and burglary. In that case, Harris brandished a gun at a woman getting outside of her car outside her home, Howlett said.
Obviously, this piece of s**t doesn’t learn from going to prison.

And just as obviously, the Illinois Parole Board and the Bureau of Prisons haven’t learned that some people are beyond redemption and reform. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the outcry that yet another violent offender isn’t serving even 50% of his sentence before being loosed upon society once again to maim and kill.

Note that among those participating in the lack of outrage is the Chicago Civil Rights Unit, which doesn’t give a damn because these particular beaten, raped, and tortured victims just aren’t the right type of victims.  They aren’t calling these crimes hate crimes because the victims were just women, and doing this sort of thing to just women isn’t as serious as picking other types of victims, thanks to hate crime laws.  Eric Holder says so — he said so repeatedly and belligerently when Clinton made him the point man for implementing the deceptive enforcement standards that pretend to include but quietly exclude heterosexual females and many other living things from hate crime law enforcement.

Note too that the other usual suspects — the Jessie Jackson types, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, the gay activists, the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR — not a peep from any of the braver arbiters of what is and isn’t to be “counted” as hatred.

Just torturing and raping and setting women on fire doesn’t count.  Not the right kind of body, see?

Imagine for a moment the headlines if Raymond Harris had a nasty habit of repeatedly trying to beat black men to death and setting them on fire.  Imagine if he targeted Jews, or Muslims, or gays, or lesbians, instead of “just women.”  Then it would be candles-in-paper-cups, rally-outside-city-hall time for all the professional activists and politicians who view the torture of some as particularly heinous, while run-of-the-mill rape-torture-torchings are just . . . well, technically, they’re understandable, and lesser, in the hierarchy of human value these activists have imposed on our justice system.

Some victims get politicians carrying candles.  Others don’t.

By dividing the world into “understandable” versus “outrageous” victim selection, where no such legal distinction existed before, the hate crimes industry desecrates the human dignity of every victim of a serious crime whom they don’t count as a “victim of hate.”  Nobody dares to challenge them, because doing so makes you a target of their rage, as I learned in Atlanta.  And rage, it is. These activist groups operate as if they are purely above question, above scrutiny and challenge.  I gave up a long time ago trying to get any reporter, anywhere, to ask any of these organizations why they don’t view crimes like the ones committed by Raymond Harris, or dozens of other brutal serial killers, as worthy of being investigated and prosecuted as “hate.”*  How much more evidence do they need that this man targets women for acts of extreme and random violence, including setting one on fire?

While researching hate-crime enforcement, I also gave up trying to speak to sentencing experts in law schools after one pitched such an astonishing hissy fit at me that I resigned myself to the cowardice of the academic classes.  I gave up trying to interview other types of academics when they refused to speak on record about their opinion of the enforcement of these laws, even when they privately expressed consternation about precisely the types of things I write about here.  Academic freedom — to quiver in the herd, indeed.  Hate crime activists guard the boundaries of their fiefdoms with extreme care; they threaten people who dare to question their agendas.  They use accusations of prejudice to maintain silence, when open and ethical conversation about the real meaning of “hate” is what is needed.

They also control the messages delivered about hate to every school-aged child in America.  If you encourage your child to question these laws when they are taught to them in the classroom, don’t be surprised if there are consequences.

Much is being said these days about the Justice Department’s departure from colorblind enforcement of voting rights laws, thanks to J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney who courageously blew the whistle on intentionally biased enforcement of voting rights cases.  But what happens when the law itself is the creator of bias?  Hate Crime laws are a disturbing departure from the very values civil rights activists once labored to impose on the justice system: equal protection under the law, equal treatment of all victims, equal punishment for offenders.  The laws themselves are the scandal, but on top of that scandal, these laws are being enforced in deceptive and rankly prejudiced ways that magnify the injustices they produce simply by existing.

How on earth do you blow the whistle on that?

How many more women, and men, and children will be raped or murdered because the justice system divides victims into “important” and “unimportant” categories, and the criminals targeting the unimportant ones get chance after chance to kill again, as Harris got?  In 1997, at precisely the time Clinton and Eric Holder were grandstanding in the White House about hate, pounding their fists on tables, proclaiming that nobody should even dare to ask why “hate crimes” are worse than other crimes (Holder’s speciality was the “don’t ask” line), Raymond Harris raped, tortured, and stabbed a woman.  He set her body on fire, leaving the victim covered with third-degree burns.  Clinton and Holder could have used Harris’ assault to illustrate the alleged need for their new law, but they didn’t consider that crime — and thousands more like them — important enough to count as “hate” because the victim was just a woman.  So 13 years later, Raymond Harris slipped out of prison again — something that surely would not have happened had he been prosecuted as a hate criminal after the 1997 attack, or even just labeled a hate criminal by activists.  Hate crime activists could have prevented Harris’ most recent parole merely by showing up and using that magical word, hate.  But, in truth, they don’t see what he does to women as hatred, because he just does it to women.

And now Eric Holder is the Attorney General of the United States, still busily and selectively deploying hate crime laws for his political ends, and Raymond Harris, abetted by the other policies Holder endorses,** has killed a 73-year old nurse named Virginia Perillo.

And the silence, from the activists and journalists and politicians, is deafening.

Virginia Perillio, dancing at her son’s wedding

*In fairness, there is one mention of “hate”  in reference to the Raymond Harris case in the Chicago Sun-Times: the Times reminds its readers that it will not tolerate hate speech in their comment threads.

**prioritizing prisoner “re-entry” over incarceration; increasing the use of early parole; making outsized claims about “rehabilitation” of violent offenders; promoting second chances for everyone except “hate” criminals

Why Isn’t Mbarek Lafrem Being Charged With a Hate Crime? ***Updated 4/13/10***

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Mbarek Lafrem

Take a good look at the face of hate. This is Mbarek Lafrem, a Moroccan citizen who nearly beat a pediatric nurse to death in a New York City nightclub last month after she had the temerity to refuse to dance with him.  The nurse suffered multiple head wounds, including a skull fracture, broken eye socket, and shattered nose.  She was beaten around the face.  She was also attacked sexually: Lafrem is charged with attempted rape.  And attempted murder, because the attack was so severe.

This is called overkill.  So why isn’t it being prosecuted as a hate crime?

Mbarek Lafram was at first so unconcerned about raping and nearly killing a woman that he found his legal predicament funny.  He laughed and mugged for the reporters.  He announced that he was the real victim, that his victim was actually the aggressor.

Mbarek Lafram Smiling for the Cameras

Later, perhaps after some lawyer apprised him of the fact that women are permitted to refuse to dance with men without being beaten to death as punishment, he changed his tune.  “I wouldn’t want that to happen to my sisters,” he said.  Well, that’s nice.  I wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone’s sisters.  What he did is what ought to matter, not to whom it was done.

But in today’s increasingly identity-politics-saturated justice system, to whom you do something is precisely the thing that matters the most.

Why isn’t the New York City hate crimes squad on this case? What, precisely, is the difference between this assault and the gay bashing outside a bar in Carroll Gardens a week earlier that spurred mass demonstrations, immediate hate crime charges, vehement outcry from elected officials (see below), and all the rest of the activist groundswell that arises when it’s anyone except a woman who gets randomly attacked?  The attack on the nurse resulted in far graver injuries, but the politicians and activists behaved as if the gay bashing was the more serious crime.

Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, Comptroller John Liu, Councilman Brad Lander and others

Will Bill DeBalsio stand outside Mbarek Lafram’s trial holding a little candle in a cup?  How about John Liu?  Don’t count on it.  Some victims are just more important than other victims, thanks to the ways hate crime laws have warped the entire legal and political landscape.

Hate crime activists have long been given the power to influence who’s in and who’s out as victims of hate.  Unsurprisingly, given the results, these are the same activists who machinated quietly for years to ensure that women don’t get called victims of hate, or officially counted as victims of hate, not even in states where “gender-bias” is on the books (including New York).  Their reason?  They don’t want the vast numbers of women who are assaulted “in part or in full” because they are female “overwhelming” the all-important hate crime statistics.

By design (a design kept firmly behind closed doors), the “gender bias” category is used almost exclusively in cases with victims who are transvestites or transgendered.  Biologically-born females don’t count.

These activists get away with denying that “hate means hate” when it’s directed at a woman largely because the N.O.W. and other feminist groups have long provided them political cover, despite occasional press releases like this one that contradict decades of tacit institutional support for reserving the “gender bias” category for non-females like transvestites.  Don’t expect the ladies of New York City N.O.W. to utter a peep about hate crime charges in the Mbarek Lafram case.  Heck, don’t expect them to even mention the case.

They know their place.

All three of the recent crimes being labeled “hate crimes” and widely denounced in New York City are minority-on-minority, though you wouldn’t know it from the speeches being made by politicians.

The media carefully avoided describing the Carroll Gardens gay bashers as Latino youth, but one gay publication on the scene, Lez Get Real, reports that the police are seeking Latino suspects.

That would make it an Hispanic-on-gay hate crime.  Only in reality, it does not, because hate crime activists have also made sure that the “Hispanic” category is only used to describe victims of hate crime, not perpetrators of hate crime.  This is part of the federal reporting rules, thanks to Eric Holder, who was instrumental in drafting them.  When so-called “hate” perpetrators are Hispanic, they are officially counted as “white.”  But when they are the victims, they aren’t “white” but “Hispanic.”

On cue, some early commenters on the Carroll Gardens crime laid blame for the attack on white “xenophobes.”  They don’t know how wrong (and, thanks to hate crime laws, right) they are: officially, the crime will be recorded as white-on-gay.  This useful fiction provides the press and activists with yet another tool to perpetuate the message that “hate” is synonymous with “young white males.”  In other settings, this is called “prejudice,” but within the hate crimes movement, it is called “justice.”

Predictably, such Balkanization and politicization of the law begets not tolerance but more Balkanization and politicization in society — and even internalized Balkanization among individual members of society who find one portion of their identities more politically salient than the other parts.   The Lez Get Real writer, for example, contemplates the problem of ethnic-minority on sexual-minority crime in her column, worried that one movement is trumping the other, but she doesn’t have a thing to say about the fact that she, as a woman, is in practice excluded from hate crime protections — that she would only “count” as a gay victim, not a female one.  People attach to the group that gives them the best status, and this perpetuates divisiveness and identity-mongering, precisely what the American legal system is not supposed to do.

Here is Lez Get Real‘s unintentionally ironic take-away from Carroll Gardens:

[T]he man was attacked last Tuesday morning at Luquer Street and Hamilton Avenue as he left a gay and lesbian party at a bar, about 12:50 a.m. on March 2. Police say, the attackers, called the victim a “faggot” and punched him numerous times in the face, knocking him down and causing him to suffer a gash on the back of his head . . .  The only description of the five men is that they are all Latino. Luckily, there is surveillance video taken outside the bar that will hopefully lead the police to the attackers identities.  City officials, including out lesbian Christine Quinn, gave statements that refer to the diversity of Carroll Gardens as a strength of the neighborhood.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said: “Something like this that still happens in the city of New York is terribly upsetting,” Quinn said. “We’re a city where diversity is our greatest strength.”  City Council Member Brad Lander said: “Carroll Gardens is a diverse community. We have no room for hate in our community. We embrace every race, religion and sexual orientation. We will not tolerate hate and violence in Carroll Gardens or anywhere else in New York City.”

However, it is possible that in this case, diversity has worked against the LBGT community. When you mix different backgrounds and cultures, you also mix together people who may not accept each other’s values and lifestyles. It’s sad but true, diversity is not a panacea to violence and intolerance. Diversity is the first step, but it is not the last. There should be community programs in place to educate people on the importance of tolerance, acceptance and peace. Let’s all hope for the victim’s speedy recovery and for increased tolerance towards the LGBT community.

Yes, that’s what we need, more “tolerance education,” which, in practice, highlights and exacerbates the very differences Lez worries about here — differences hate crime laws then actually institutionalize.  Wouldn’t simple equality before the law send a stronger message?

And as for Christine Quinn, here is what the female city council member had to say about the gender-hate attack on the nurse by Mbarek Lafram:

”                                                                ”  Update, see below

Here is what Quinn had to say about the other 109 murders, 290 rapes, and 3500 felony assaults that have occurred in New York City since the first of the year:

”                                                                “

She did hold press conferences to speak out about the two other offenses being called “hate crimes, which include a recent spate of attacks by young black girls and boys on older Asian women living in public housing projects, and a brutal attack and robbery of a Mexican immigrant by a group of three black youths and a Hispanic youth.  What, precisely, triggered the hate crimes charge in the robbery and beating of a Hispanic by another Hispanic?  Reportedly, calling the victim “a [expletive] Mexican” and “a stupid Mexican” while beating him.

And if you believe that women aren’t showered with sexist expletives when they get raped, robbed, hassled on subways, threatened in parks, beaten and battered throughout New York City every single day, in crimes Christine Quinn et. al. won’t call hate, then I have a bridge to sell you that you can then cross in a futile attempt to escape the mounting insanity of identity politics justice.

Hate crime laws destroy the very notion of equal protection.  They’re antithetical to real justice.  Still, so long as these laws are on the books, there is no excuse for not applying them to men who attack women, no matter what Attorney General Eric Holder, city council member Christine Quinn, and others think.

Even if such crimes actually do end up “overwhelming” other crimes labeled “hate.”

Ironically, while the five youths who attacked the Asian women are charged with anti-Asian and not gender bias crimes, local news media, apparently having trouble illustrating the concept of “anti-Asian hate,” resorted to showing the traditional symbol of womanhood as the backdrop for their news stories:

But in this context, the image is officially incoherent, for, according to hate crime authorities and movement activists, the crimes had nothing to do with the gender of the victims.  Legally, too, under hate crimes law they have nothing to do with targeting women, though all the victims are female and doubtlessly chosen because they are female every bit as much as they were chosen because they are Asian.

In a world without hate crime laws, such distinctions would hold their proper place: apparent, appalling, but not relevant in a court of law.  With the existence of hate crime laws, however, the law itself institutionalizes untruths and partial truths, such as: The victims were chosen because they are Asian, but not because they are female.  Once you deem “prejudiced intent” to be all-important — but only some prejudices — then you are declaring to the world that those other prejudices aren’t important after all, regardless of the body count they inspire.

Some people, of course, would certainly agree.

~~~

Update#1: I received a message from Eunic Ortiz, in New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s Office:

I just wanted to reach out with a bit of helpful information, but first introduce myself. My name is Eunic, I work in Speaker Christine C. Quinn’s press office and handle press for her surrounding hate crimes and LGBT/Women’s issues along with a few other colleagues in my office. I noticed there was an error in “Why Isn’t Mbarek Lafrem Being Charged With a Hate Crime?”. The Speaker has long been out front on issues surrounding violence against women and ways to combat hate crimes . . . The Speaker put out statements, her district office worked closely with the precinct from the moment we found out about this incident and we held a press conference and flyered throughout Hell’s Kitchen to find the man who committed this vile crime. The perp was turned in just hours after we saturated the streets of Hell’s Kitchen with flyers that had a sketch and description of the suspect passed out by the Speaker, Council Members and staff.
The Speaker does not stand for nor has tolerance for anyone who commits such acts.
Again, if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Ms. Ortiz covers “hate crimes and LGBT/Women’s issues.”  Note that “LGBT issues” undoubtedly encompasses “hate crimes.”  The same certainly cannot be presumed about “Women’s issues” and “hate crime.”  Not that Ms. Ortiz says so, in so many words, or even one word: she says precisely nothing about it, though that is the blog post’s subject.

Interestingly, however, Ms. Ortiz does not dispute my characterization of Speaker Quinn as being among those who quietly support the practice of excluding women from being counted as victims of gender bias — so that, God forbid, they don’t start demanding equal treatment and end up cluttering the all-important hate crime statistics with their harassed and slandered and beaten and raped bodies.

As per page 10 in the hate crimes playbook, Ms. Ortiz carefully says absolutely nothing that would indicate her boss’ stand on counting or not counting women as hate crime victims — and specifically victims of gender bias.

What would happen if the public were to look too closely at the ways these laws are enforced, and deployed, and reserved for special interest groups?  Might the entire “hate crimes” movement be imperiled, just as it is imperiled to the point of collapse now in Canada, after just a little light was cast on practices there?  Silence is crucial in order to avoid uncomfortable debate.

For it really is ugly, the insistence that one murder is “worse” than another — that one slur word thrown with a punch does worlds of harm, while another slur is just, well, irrelevant.  “Dyke” uttered by a rapist is grounds for enhanced bias crime sentencing; “bitch” thrown at a heterosexual rape victim is not.  At what point does somebody point out that the parsing is appalling?

Hate crimes prosecutions are pure politics.  As special interest groups — illegal immigrants here, homeless people there — jostle for predominance, crimes against people from those groups are systematically declared “worse” in the pages of the New York Times and the press offices of identity politics-playing pols.

And that shrill claim “worse” is beginning, middle, and end of debate.  “Don’t let anybody tell you hate crimes aren’t worse: they are worse,” Attorney General Eric Holder is wont to holler whenever the subject of hate crimes comes up.  That’s all he says, whether he’s testifying in Congress or speaking to the public.  The hate crimes establishment uses shouting and silence, never reason or debate, to address any retrograde who dares to ask: Excuse me, is that murder really “worse” than this murder?

Silence is necessary to keep the hate crimes racket rolling.

Ms. Ortiz is absolutely right about one thing: she is right that I was wrong not to check the Speaker’s website before writing that Quinn didn’t comment on the Mbarek Lafram attack.  I usually check press releases, and I utterly failed to do so in this case: Christine Quinn did issue a press release condemning Lafram’s crime, and she also held a press conference.  But it is disingenuous to imply that holding a press conference is the same thing as demanding that the city treat the crime as the most serious type on the books: as a hate crime.  Ms. Quinn quite specifically avoided doing that, as she does in every case in which the bias is bias against women.

Of course, nobody is accusing the Speaker of standing for or tolerating violent crime.  I’m accusing her of playing politics by endorsing hate crimes investigations in certain cases and remaining silent on the identical hate evident in others.  I’m accusing her of using these laws, not for justice for every New Yorker, or to actually combat hate “wherever it happens,” but to advance the interests of an activist class that views these laws as their fiefdom.

So in the interest of starting up a real discussion about the selective uses of hate crime laws, I sent Ms. Ortiz a list of questions that actually address the subject of women and hate crime.  Here they are:

  • Does Speaker Quinn believe that the “gender bias” category of New York’s hate crimes law is being applied fairly regarding females, that is, in every case in which a female crime victim is targeted “in part or in full” because she is female, is subjected to sexist or misogynistic language in the course of an attack, or is attacked in ways designed to humiliate her as a woman?
  • Does Speaker Quinn agree that the “gender bias” category of hate crimes codes is currently being reserved for crimes committed against transvestites, transgendered people, and cross-dressers, not biologically-born women?
  • Does Speaker Quinn agree that Mbarek Lafrem should be charged with a hate crime?  If not, why not?
  • Does Speaker Quinn agree that the offenders charged with ethnic-bias hate crimes in the attacks on five Asian women should also be charged with gender-bias hate crimes for targeting victims who are all women?  If not, why not?
  • Does Speaker Quinn agree that every incident of gender-based subway and street harassment should be treated as potential hate crimes against women and investigated by the city’s hate crimes department?  If not, why not?
  • Does Speaker Quinn agree that every sexual assault of a woman should be treated as a gender bias hate crime and subject to hate crime sentencing enhancement?  If not, why not?

Hopefully, I’ll receive an answer soon.



Case Update: Frederick Lee Gude’s three murders

7 comments

Recently, William Steele wrote to this blog asking about the latest murder conviction involving Frederick Gude, who killed Mr. Steele’s father in southeast Atlanta (my old neighborhood) in 1969.  Gude received a life sentence for that crime but walked out of prison a mere eight years later — eight years for taking a life.  He was sent up again in 1983, got out again, then killed a second time.  For that “voluntary manslaughter,” Gude was sentenced to five years.  He  walked out of prison for a third time in September 2003, then four months later he stabbed his girlfriend to death with an ice pick.  Along the way, he accumulated the usual, heinous, un-prosecuted and under-prosecuted acts of domestic violence, and other serious crimes.  Earlier this year, AJC reporter Steve Visser interviewed Gude’s adult daughter, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel who said this of her father:

“There are some people who shouldn’t walk amongst us” [she said] … “This is his third killing. This is the third one that we know of” … [S]he knew her father as a child – when he wasn’t in prison – but her mother quickly left him behind after he was released from prison the first time. He used to beat her mother and he stabbed at least one relative. Violence, she said, was her father’s defining characteristic.  “Some people kill in the heat of moment,” the Marine said. “For him, every moment is the heat of the moment, if you say something he doesn’t like.”

Frederick Gude: Three-Time Killer

Run-of-the-mill criminals don’t attract elite legal help, but once you’ve accumulated a body count like Mr. Gude’s, and capital punishment is on the table, the suits show up.  For his latest murder defense, Gude secured Atlanta defense attorney Thomas West (on the taxpayer’s dime, undoubtedly).

Thomas West: Not Atticus Finch

Mr. West is one of those defense attorneys who market themselves as civil rights heroes with the assistance of corrupted civil rights groups like the once-storied Southern Christian Leadership Council(SCLC), which long ago stopped doing anything but stealing their donations, accusing each other of stealing, and giving “Drum Major” awards to defense attorneys like West who specialize in returning brute killers back to the communities they victimized before and will victimize again.

For their part, Mr. West and his defense bar peers may fancy themselves modern-day Atticus Finches, but they sure don’t bill in croker-sacks of turnip greens, as the fictional Finch did while helping poor white and black sharecroppers avoid entailment, malnutrition, and lynching.

Today’s defense attorneys deploy sleazy technicalities to help serial predators escape consequences while bleeding taxpayers dry.  Or, as West puts it on his website:

Again and again, the law firm is complimented for the intense attention it pays to each detail of a client’s case, and its willingness to explore every legal angle in order to come up with the best possible outcome for each client.

In client Gude’s case, Thomas West obstructed justice for nine years, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers (and into his pocket).  Of course, it takes a village to really obstruct justice, and West had help from many quarters, including Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who simply didn’t bother to set a trial date as witnesses died and victims hung in limbo.  See here for my previous post on West’s manipulations of the justice system on behalf of Frederick Gude.  That was nearly five years ago, and the case just resolved in 2013.

By holding the justice system hostage with a blizzard of pretrial motions on behalf of Frederick Gude, Thomas West finally succeeded in getting Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard to take capital punishment off the table, as Steve Visser reported last February:

District Attorney Paul Howard, who said Gude’s age persuaded him to drop the death penalty request after Gude turned 69 in July, contended that the lengthy wait not only undermined the case, but also cheated the victim’s family and taxpayers. Two key eye witnesses died while awaiting the trial. By the calculation used by the sheriff’s office, housing Gude cost more than a quarter of a million dollars.

“They have a legitimate question to ask Fulton County about why are you taking so long to dispense justice,” Howard said. “This will make the third person he has killed in our county and he is allowed to sit in jail for nine years. It is unconscionable.”

Also unconscionable?  Thomas West’s vicious remarks belittling the victim of Gude’s latest crime.  West urged the court to go easy on his client, explaining that Gude had done nothing “heinous” because he just stabbed a woman to death with an icepick. Gude’s crime wasn’t a hate crime, you see, because he picked a woman to chop away at forty times (and left her 94-year old aunt locked in a bathroom near the body, where the elderly woman nearly froze to death, but hey, who’s counting?).

Here is West’s explanation for not considering icepick murder + attempted murder heinous:

“We contended it was cruel and unusual to seek the death penalty in a case where you are just accused of killing your girlfriend and not something more heinous. … In the past, the district attorney has not sought the death penalty in these circumstances.”

“Just killing your girlfriend.”  “Not something more heinous.”  Some people’s lives are just more valuable than other people’s lives.  A murder with the right mix of victim and offender will bring out the activists and the mayor marching around all puffed up with candles in little paper cups.  But Gude killed politically insignificant humans using non-heinous icepick torture, so, no heartfelt politician parades for his victims.

Yet despite West’s claim that the murder wasn’t heinous, he acknowledged that the crime scene photos of Gude’s last victim presented some “visual issues” that might have convinced even Fulton County jurors to vote for death.

Visual Issues.  Is there any limit to the degradation this man heaps on innocent victims of crime?

Thomas West was enabled in his serial lies about Frederick Gude’s murders by a criminal justice system that has spent sixty years institutionalizing such lies.  Words like heinous and hate have been warped beyond recognition in the criminal courts.  Unlike criminal investigations and trials in other western nations, our courts have become mechanisms for excluding facts, instead of seeking and weighing them.  Criminal justice is treated like a game, instead of the fullest pursuit of truth.  And so people like Frederick Gude and Thomas West game the system over and over again, with nary a peep from the tens of thousands of law professors and judges who are supposed to address such travesties.

When the justice system is in such institutionalized disarray that a murder trial can be delayed for nine years while attorneys file motions quarreling about how many thrusts of the icepick count as heinous, or a child rape trial can be delayed for more than a decade while Bob Barr and his peers argue about whether a professional fantasy role-player’s pretend illnesses can get him cut loose from the ankle-bracelet that is keeping him from raping more little boys, it’s time to start talking about whether the problem is something other than over-incarceration.

The worst part, besides the denial of justice, is that we actually pay these jerks to make such arguments.

Appallingly, Mr. West now uses his defense of Frederick Lee Gude as an advertising tool, featuring Gude’s case prominently on his website.  Gude will probably start appealing to be released early due to his advanced age any day now, which likely means more money in Thomas West’s pockets.  Nice little justice system we’ve got here.
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If anyone has information about Frederick Gude’s trial or his other crimes, please contact this blog.  Identities must be confirmed but will be kept anonymous.

Outrage: Lisa Davenport, R.I.P. “Always Full of Happiness.” And Others.

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What do you say to the judge in Athens, Georgia to justify kidnapping somebody, stabbing them repeatedly with a screwdriver, and leaving them for dead?

Well, your honor, she’s mine, and she deserved it:

Police first arrested [Phillip] Scruggs in 2001, after family members say he abducted [Lisa]  Davenport, stabbed her with a screwdriver and left her for dead.

A Clarke County grand jury indicted him on charges of kidnapping, kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault and violating the state Family Violence Act, and as part of a plea agreement Scruggs pleaded guilty to kidnapping, false imprisonment and battery.

He received a three-year sentence, but with credit for time served in county jail, Scruggs was back out in September 2004.

In 2001, the jury indicted him and the judge (and possibly the prosecutor) let him walk.  At the time, why wasn’t Scruggs charged with attempted murder instead of aggravated assault, which can be excused with one year — a one year suspended sentence, even, if the judge’s hair happens to be blowing that way?

And then why did the prosecutor agree to drop even the aggravated assault charge and let him plead to battery?

Who was this Lisa Davenport, whose life was so unimportant that someone who kidnapped her and left her for dead in 2001 got a slap on the wrist, enabling him to come back later and finish the job?

“Lisa was the kind of person who was always full of happiness and had a glow around her,” [her brother, Eric] said.  Lisa Davenport is survived by her mother, father, two brothers, a sister, daughter and two grandchildren.

I do not give a whit that this was a “domestic violence” case: aren’t the legal experts always nattering on about how the victim is only a witness to a crime, that the prosecutor represents society, not the victim, because the crime is committed against society?  Aren’t victims supposed to be these untrustworthy, dangerous creatures who must be repressed into symbolic non-personhood in the courts lest they feel “vengeful” or something, a thing far worse than the crime itself, according to the experts?

Isn’t that one of the noble ideals under-girding our entire legal system?

Well, here is (I should say was, for she is dead now) one victim whose perspective truly should have been consigned to the status of “state witness” because she was tragically brainwashed by some sick monster into believing her own non-personhood: she went back to Scruggs after he got out of prison.  Then she tried to escape him again, and he killed her.

Here is the truly chilling thing, the thing that ought to give voters in Clark County pause the next time they must stand with their consciences at a ballot box: in 2001, the judge agreed with Phillip Scrugg’s interpretation of Lisa Davenport’s non-personhood.  The judge sided with the man wielding the screwdriver, not the woman being stabbed with the screwdriver.  How, otherwise, do you explain a three-year sentence (actually less) for trying to murder her?

The prosecutor and the judge were supposed to prosecute, and sentence, Phillip Scruggs for the crime he committed, no matter who it was he tried to kill.  But they didn’t.  They failed, and we failed by letting them, and now Lisa Davenport, whose life was deemed so cheap by the courts in 2001, has been murdered by the man we didn’t keep in prison:

A 42-year-old woman who was doused with kerosene and set on fire has died from her injuries.

Family members say Elisa Davenport died around 5 p.m. Saturday at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, due to complications of burns she suffered on more than 60 percent of her body from the Aug. 17 attack.

“The trauma that her body went through was just too much for her to hold on,” her brother, Eric Davenport, said.

Athens-Clarke police say they plan to take out warrants Monday charging 49-year-old Phillip Scruggs with murder.

Scruggs, who was her boyfriend, had originally faced charges of aggravated assault and first-degree arson for the incident, which caused a blaze that gutted her home and spread to other units in an Athens apartment complex.

Lisa Davenport took two weeks to die in a burn unit in Augusta.  Her brother said Scruggs set her on fire and then sat and watched her burn:

“He didn’t shoot or stab her, but he set her on fire, and set more fire in her house in a way that made it almost impossible for her to escape,” Eric Davenport said. “Then, he just sat across the street to watch what happened, until people pointed him out to the police.”

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How do we minimize the killing of a woman? The criminologists weigh in with clinical terms like “spree killer” and “serial killer,” words designed to distract from the moral outrage of the crime, making it curious, not outrageous.  Or “domestic violence,” which sounds — well — it sounds so domestic.  Minimal.

Ironically, the very same criminologists who are consulted to label certain murders “spree” or “domestic” are also the leaders of the hate crimes movement.  Those crimes, they tell reporters, are the really serious ones, the ones that ought to provoke moral outrage.  Not like killing a woman.  Or twelve women.

Here are celebrated hate crime advisers and criminologists James Allen Fox and Jack Levin, weighing in on George Sodini, who walked into a gym in Pittsburgh and picked off 12 women, killing three of them, a crime that Fox and Levin ever so carefully avoid labeling “hate”:

There are so many features about this shooting spree that are tragically textbook. Like most mass killers, Mr. Sodini struggled through a long history of failure and rejection, from childhood, with a brother he regarded as a bully and a father he saw as distant and unconcerned . . . In his extreme loneliness, Mr. Sodini was without emotional support and comfort . . . Aside from the gunman, the real culprit in explaining mass murder can be found in society itself . . . Many Americans simply have no place to turn when they become desperate. Their misery has no company. Without options and without support, mass murder can sometimes seem like the only way out. . . we must still make an effort, perhaps by reaching out to the seemingly isolated stranger sitting alone at the next table in the restaurant or working out with an iPod at the next treadmill in the gym. We may, in the process of trying, enhance the well-being of others . . .

No outrage here, except at society, which made Mr. Sodini feel bad.  It was just killing a woman — a bunch of women, one woman, whatever, just women.  That’s not hate crime, according to these experts, not even if you set the woman on fire and then sit down to watch her burn because you think you own her, not if you pick off twelve strange women after telling the world you hate women in a blog: none of this is hate, according to these experts, so long as the people you’re hating are heterosexual females.

To say the least, this is not the way Professors Fox and Levin talk when they are labeling a crime — even a minor crime — a hate crime.  Then there’s no long, slow, minimizing rumination about the loneliness of the long distance runner, or other such prattle.  Then they declare zero tolerance and shout for moral outrage.

Imagine if the Athens community had spoken out in 2001 about an attempted murderer getting less than three years in prison for kidnapping and stabbing a woman and leaving her for dead?

Imagine if that crime, and that lack of punishment, had mobilized candlelight marches, and earnest speak-outs, and calls for the prosecutor and judge to step down, because they did not honor the woman’s humanity, her purported equality under the law.

Imagine if the activist politicians, the grand-standers and media-seekers, had stood up and declared that this crime was a crime of hate and would not be tolerated in Athens, that no attempted murder would be tolerated in Athens.  Would Davenport still be alive?  How many others, if other killers were called hate criminals, too, instead of the word “hate” being increasingly reserved for a select few?

And so, the grand-standers were in a jam two weeks ago when Lisa Davenport was set on fire by a man who sat down to watch her burn, because their need to defend a system that dictates that killing women is not hate crime is more important to them than actually speaking out on real cases of hatred, like that one (and so many others).

As Scruggs watched her burn, an American honor crime, like slaughtering your daughter if she tries to marry the wrong man, or setting a widow on fire and watching her burn, there was nothing but silence from the arbiters of moral outrage.

~~~

“There’s just too many of ’em,” said President Clinton in 1999, referring to acts of violence against women and why they pose a peculiar problem for the leaders of the hate crimes movement.  The Anti-Defamation League fretted that prosecutors might be distracted if women were counted, and the statistics might be “overwhelmed,” so they and others quietly found ways to instruct police and prosecutors to not find hate when women were the target.  And, always, the criminologists chimed in with their expert opinions, shining on the movement’s ideological necessity: to say with a straight face that stealing a car can be a hate crime, but blowing away 12 women is . . . you know, just an understandable expression of loneliness.

The feminist establishment, smacked down for years by the hate crime activists whenever they whimpered that hating women is hate, has learned to remain silent on the George Sodinis of the world.  No activists called for the shooting of 12 women to be labeled a hate crime — some naive young feminist bloggers did (they’ll learn), and Ms. Magazine ran a crabbed little note, but the major organizations kept their lips tightly zipped.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who was pretending to advocate for the inclusion of “gender bias hate” in federal law (it will not really count women) at the very time Sodini started blowing women away, remained silent.  Odd, that he wouldn’t take advantage of such an opportunity.

~~~

“We must give the lie to the notion that there is no difference between an assault and an assault that is motivated by bias.  The differences are very, very real,” Eric Holder thundered in 1999.

What he meant is that murders like Lisa Davenport’s are less bad.  That is the unavoidable meaning of his words: killing Lisa is not as serious as a murder the experts decide to call a hate crime, even though her killer set her on fire and sat down to watch her burn.

You can’t make some murders more morally significant without making other murders less morally significant.  That’s just a fact.

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In 2001, the judge in Athens, Georgia stuck his or her finger in the wind and decided that nobody really cared, and so the judge let Phillip Scruggs plead out after he nearly killed a women who had disobeyed him.  In Pennsylvania, a man wrote that he hated women; then he killed women; then the movement that purports to “expose hate” denied it instead, because the victims were women.  In Islamic states, women get beaten with clubs for showing their ankles on the street and murdered for disobeying their husbands.  We are supposed to be different from radical Islam on the grounds that our legal system is supposed to stand between such killers and their victims.  But that didn’t happen in Lisa Davenport’s case.

How many ways are there to minimize the killing of a woman?  More and more.