Seattle Couple Threatened

Jim Burroway

September 26th, 2011

God Hates F*gs!
Get the f**k out of our neighborhood.
The bible says God forbids men committing indecent act with other men.
Pack up your sh*t and get you gay sh*t out.
– KKK

That’s the note that wrapped a rock which was thrown through the windshield of a Seattle gay couple. Lyle Evans and Chris Ilovar were woken by the noise sometime after midnight Saturday morning.

We thought it was the cat. We thought it was sprinklers going off,” he said.

Ten minutes later, they heard the same sound again.

“I flew open the blinds in our bedroom and that’s when I saw shadows running down the street,” Ilovar said, “And I went, ‘Okay, something’s up.'”

While police reports officially call this an act of property damage and malicious harassment, the Evans and Ilovar said it’s pretty clear from the message left behind that this was a hate crime.

The suspect or suspects slashed all the tires on both men’s cars, as well as throwing two baseball-sized rocks — one through Ilovar’s passenger-side window, one through Evans’ rear windshield.

The couple have reportedly installed a new security system in their home the very next day. They have also installed a flagpole adorned with a rainbow flag.

Timothy (TRiG)

September 26th, 2011

They have also installed a flagpole adorned with a rainbow flag.

I like it!

TRiG.

Christopher

September 26th, 2011

My first thought was that Bob Paris, former champion bodybuilder, moved from Seattle to British Columbia to be with his husband, Brian.

Not relevant? Perhaps, but it is when you realize that had this happened NORTH of the 49th Parallel, this WOULD be seen by authorities as a hate crime. It’s the divisions based on geography that humans draw between themselves that fascinate me.

Lucrece

September 26th, 2011

“-KKK”

How creative of the perps.

David Benson

September 26th, 2011

I think the flag pole was the perfect touch. Let them know you are there and have no plans on leaving!

Regan DuCasse

September 26th, 2011

See there is EVIDENCE of anti gay property damage and sentiment here. There is a police report filed and the couple themselves are the sorts of people who typically WOULD be subjected to taunts, threats or basically cowardly, under cover of darkness vandalism.

Whenever the anti gay claim they have been threatened there can ALWAYS be tangible evidence and witnesses to such incidents.
So far, nothing. Just CLAIMS.

This is a difference that can be pointed out. We know that there have been gay people murdered, beaten to death, injured terribly and hospitalized with serious injuries.

There is a prolonged video tape of a young transwoman being beaten by two women with the ferocity of pitbulls and the person holding the camera laughing at an assault in progress.

So…
We have HUNDREDS of exhibits of the threat and danger that the LGBT are under anytime, anywhere. A trip to a convenience store, or McDonald’s or a motel parking lot could mean the last day of one’s life.

So far, Brian Brown, et al have ZERO to back up their claims and I wish somebody who supports them would start questioning that.
Especially since the veracity of gay lives and what happens to them, despite evidence, STILL gets questioned all the time.

Vic Yepello

September 26th, 2011

This IS a hate crime and should be treated as such. My heart is out to these men to be able to live in safety and peace.

Terry T

September 26th, 2011

Sorry Regan, the damage and the note clearly shows that there is more than just a “claim”.

Norris Nordin

September 26th, 2011

Lyle and Chris are two guys with a lot more courage than o strike under the cover of darkness. Further, for the police to see this attack on home and property to be anything but a “hate crime” is ludicrous!

Soren456

September 26th, 2011

Notable that the phrase “God hates fags” was used.

msrowena

September 26th, 2011

Flagpoles! So ….. phallic!!!! Perfect!

tavdy79

September 26th, 2011

The FBI does list crimes against property (including vandalism and harassment) as hate crimes where appropriate. I remember from when I did some number-crunching to compare rates of religous/homophobic hate crimes a few years ago.

customartist

September 26th, 2011

Sometimes the Local Police Departments seem to need a little help in identifying Obvious Hate crimes.

Let’s help them:

Seattle.fbi@ic.fbi.gov

tomchicago

September 26th, 2011

As was pointed out above, it is significant that the Westboro Baptist preachers are quoted verbatim by the perpetrators. It is another instance of hate speech providing an alibi for violence.

Dr Kat

September 26th, 2011

In Seattle?!?! Now I’ve heard everything.

Tony P

September 26th, 2011

Good that they took the steps they did.

Of course they are reasonably safe steps. Me, I’d be hunting the bastards who did it.

I may have only spent two years in law enforcement, but it gave me the skill set I need to find people like the pukes who harassed the two guys. It’s pretty easy actually.

rusty

September 26th, 2011

The boys live in our neighborhood and will be receiving a lovely fall mum or something like that in the next couple of days. Local reports also detail that two flagpoles were installed, one for an american flag and the other for a rainbow flag.

yes hate crimes happen in Seattle. They happen everywhere. Problem is, much like the iceberg analogy, most incidents are not or underreported due to increased publicity and/or hassle of dealing with police and indifferent folk.

Cory Sampson

September 27th, 2011

@Terry T

Sorry Regan, the damage and the note clearly shows that there is more than just a “claim”.

Um… Regan is talking about anti-gay advocates (specifically, I’d imagine, the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger witnesses), who makes claims of harassment by gays. So far, as Regan has pointed out, the anti-gays have only unverifiable claims – always secondhand, always hearsay.

Examples of LGBT folks beind harassed usually have documentation (and in this case, police documentation) to back it up. THAT is the point Regan was trying to make.

Andrew

September 27th, 2011

I’m cautious here — there’s room for kids looking to be little douchebags and picking a target because it’s “cool” versus the kind of 1960’s stark terrorism as part of a campaign of cultural and socioeconomic violence found in a cross burnt on a lawn – that happens to us also, but it’s too soon to tell if this is that.

My uneducated suspicion is that this is “get irritated” territory, not “get scared”.

That’s not to say “don’t worry” — this kind of bias doesn’t come from thin air, and, left unchecked and unrepudiated, it can both escalate and spread. But I wouldn’t run around behaving like victims just yet.

Few things:

The flag and security system says what needs to be said “we can take care of ourselves, and we’re not going anywhere”. Now all they need is an NRA sticker on the front door. Just so folks get the message.

To best figure out what level of animus is behind this, we need to catch the little bastards. I’m sure there’s plenty of community service that needs doing by folks with so much excess energy.

Oh. Last thing… I don’t really do “hate crimes”. There’s ample criminality to punish on the basis of property damage alone. There’s a very real chance the note was just way to try to poke/incite/etc — I had the experience with neighbors punk teenage kids… we got into a disagreement, they wanted to get a dig in, so they went for the gay comments. I laughed at them. Everyone gets along fine a few years later. In my family, we call it picking on my uncle (he’s kind of an asshole, but we like to badger him because he reacts like a lunatic). Worth pointing out that the same family members treat my husband like family, so it’s not really anti-gay animus. So, be careful with the “hate crime” assumption. Sometimes it’s just douchbaggery. Don’t take the bait until you know what’s what.

justme

September 27th, 2011

“I don’t really do ‘hate crimes’.”

That’s good. If only the people who committed the hate crime against this couple felt the same way.

Here’s sincerely hoping that nobody ever commits a hate crime against you — but especially since you’re not into them and all.

Miguel Vega

September 27th, 2011

“God hates fags”?? wrong! God don’t hate PERIOD!
The bible says God forbids men committing indecent act with other men…..hmmmm sure the acts of coward intimidation, harassment, property damage are very decent acts uh?

enough already

September 27th, 2011

Hate Crime legislation is aimed squarely at those in law enforcement who would otherwise just turn a blind eye to the offense, mutter ‘ boys will be boys’ and, in so doing, signal the haters that it is OK to bash whatever group is the hate-flavor of the month for the criminals.
And that is what these far-right people are. Criminals.

Andrew

September 28th, 2011

Well, I intended to stir things up, and I’m glad I did (it’s fun).

justme, I’ve been assaulted more times than I care to mention, possibly more times than you have, but mostly because I’m 5’6″, not because I’m gay. I don’t really see small men getting a special category for being targeted, even though I can guarandamntee you I’m sized up for a mark based on my perceived ability to fight back (for bad people reading this: that would be a mistake).

There are differences between targeting someone because you think you can get away it (short guys), taking a cheap shot at someone not because you hate their group but because you know it will sting (experiences with my uncle and my neighbors), and crimes perpetrated to terrorize an entire community and keep them in their place (KKK in 1960’s Alabama).

Which of these does this incident more closely resemble?

In order for hate crimes to really “work” in that last category, they need to be institutionalized by systems of power — and in that very sense I agree with “enough already” about the best intentions of HC legislation.

But at what cost? For openers, we’re intrinsically criminalizing thought – specifically bias. Not the kind of intentions that the law uses to distinguish between, say, manslaughter and murder, but opinions and beliefs (ugly ideas make great candidates for that) — and that’s a knife that cuts both ways. Everyone here who wants to chip away at their 1st Amendment protections, raise your hand.

Next — remember all those critics who cite “special rights” for gays? Here they are. And you’ll notice that it has become a central platform in the fight against gay marriage. Sadly, the argument that religious people who speak against gay marriage will be cited for hate crimes has actually seen significant traction, even though it’s pretty obviously bogus. The reason? At the end of the day, criminalizing thought is – rightly – anathema to most Americans. They may not think deeply about civil rights generally, but they see the headlines about Hate Crimes and how assaulting Certain People is somehow worse than assaulting People Like Them, and they resent that — and that creates very fertile soil for the lies of our foes.

Another perspective: let’s imagine my car and my neighbor’s car are both vandalized by the same hoodlums at the same time, but they leave a racist note on my neighbor’s car. I’m really supposed to take a back seat in my access to law enforcement to my neighbor? What happened to equal protection under the law?

Now let’s consider the impact it has within our own community. This mindset engenders a bunker mentality and leaves us as perpetual victims. It makes us look brittle, thin-skinned, and dependent, and worse, it makes us *feel* those things, too. Rather than uniting us with the greater community, it divides us — carving out a special privilege for our delicate sensibilities that is unavailable to our neighbors. When the greater community rallies around us in response to hate crimes, they do so out of guilt or pity. I’d rather they do so because we’re all sick and tired of rocks through our windshields and stupid hooligans running amock, or because assault is just wrong.

Hate Crimes privileges leads to the enshrining of identity politics over good policy — and we see it over and over — where taking a stance on undocumented persons becomes equated with anti-latino sentiment, criticism of Israel is automatically conflated with anti-Semitism, and failure to decry Hate Crimes against gays is, obviously, homophobic. Facts and good policy are subordinated to the demand of the minority for respect, and common sense and civil debate go out the window.

At the end of the day, this was vandalism, property damage, and possibly crimes associated with making threats. It’s that simple. Where else are we going to go with this? Terrorism? Assault? Maybe conspiracy with intent to commit bodily harm? Because, with hate crimes, there’s an escalation of charge (in many jurisdiction, it actually alters the charge to something that didn’t actually happen, and elevates misdemeanors to felonies — such as from disturbing the peace to assault over something like nasty comments exchanged in a restaurant). Where do you go with this? Or shall we make thinking bad things about gay people its very own crime?

We won’t really know what gerbils were running around those hooligans’ heads until they’re caught, so we won’t really know which of the 3 very different categories I started out with actually took place.. but no matter how you slice it, I’m not clear on what hate crimes garners us here, except sympathetic headlines, the erosion of the very civil liberties that protect us all, and another point in the conservative narrative that special interests have captured the reigns of government. When are we going to stop handing ammunition to our enemies?

justme

September 28th, 2011

Oh, Andrew, I’m sorry, but that’s just sad.

You didn’t “stir things up”. You had one comment from me about one extremely silly thing you said wherein I totally shut you down. Much like I’m doing here.

As to your new post? I didn’t get past the first sentence. As the kids say: tl;dr.

NoxiousNan

September 28th, 2011

Andrew, I completely agree with you, and have always been against hate crimes legislation from it’s well-intended begining for some of the reasons you describe. And now you have given me more.

Justme couldn’t even read what you had to say; that’s very telling. I would have preferred a reasoned argument if JM remained unswayed by your own, and the absence of such leads one naturally to the conclusion that the person shut down was Justme. And that’s sad as well.

Regan DuCasse

September 28th, 2011

Thanks Corey, for explaining it to Terry T. You understood exactly what I was saying.

Priya Lynn

September 28th, 2011

NoxiousNan, I know I’ve heard opponents of hate crimes laws make the same irrational arguments over and over and over. Like Justme I didn’t read much of Andrew’s last comment. As you say, maybe in it was some compelling argument that would make his case, but I doubt it.

Andrew

September 28th, 2011

justme, you didn’t shut anything down. you made snark. i can’t help your intellectual laziness, but it’s precisely for folks in our community like you that i posted.

Regan DuCasse

September 28th, 2011

Correct Tavdy, the FBI does consider vandalism targeting protected classes a hate crime. More specifically, this crime has a note attached NAMING the group they want to target.

@ Andrew: you really have to go back and do some homework about the definition of hate crimes laws and legislation.

It’s not about the ‘thoughts’, but the JUSTICE AFTER THE FACT.
All too often we’ve seen judges, juries and law enforcement officers reticent, ignorant or prejudiced in carrying out their duties.
To the point that even FIRST DEGREE MURDER, is reduced down practically to a misdemeanor because of the prejudices of those charged with adjudicating the crime.

Here in CA, a jury was conflicted over just such a crime in the execution style murder of a 15 year old by another juvenile. He was TRIED as an adult, that anyone should be conflicted over his age wasn’t even on the table!

In the course of the trial, the defense attorney made the victim out to be the harasser, the aggressive one complicit in his own murder.
The result was a mistrial, and who knows if the victim will get the justice he deserves.
THAT is why hate crimes legislation must be in place.
We are not assured that the prejudice against gays and lesbians as motivating their killings by being aggressive sexual predators won’t be a part of the proceedings in a trial.
And any given comment thread regarding gay lives prompted by anti gay articles or public controversies shows just how people would behave if they were jurors.
They’d prefer a murderer go free, than consider a gay person innocent of anything.
If they don’t like hate crimes legislation, then they have to be committed to being fair and just when a gay person is the victim of a crime.

The anti gay are the reason we need it. It’s about hate crimes JUSTICE…not hate crimes THOUGHTS.

Andrew

September 28th, 2011

Priya, if the arguments are “irrational”, then make the counter-argument. “I didn’t read it, but I doubt it” is a pretty indefensible position.

Priya Lynn

September 28th, 2011

“Priya, if the arguments are “irrational”, then make the counter-argument. “I didn’t read it, but I doubt it” is a pretty indefensible position.”.

Good thing I don’t intend to defend it.

Andrew

September 28th, 2011

@Regan – of course it’s about thoughts. The only thing the distinguishes a hate crime from a “regular” crime is the stated motivation.

The place where I agree with you is on levers of power. Without hate crimes laws, there are no means to count bias crimes in FBI statistics and thereby formulate good and effective policy, or develop the case for court defense of equal protection laws – anti-gay crime was not counted for decades. Without hate crimes, small town crimes that are pervasive in nature against one group lack access to State or Federal law enforcement and resources. Without hate crimes laws, judges have more discretion, and can let someone off with a warning because the victim “had it coming”. But hate crimes don’t necessarily fix those things – we still rely on friendly prosecutors. We still rely on juries.

And by raising the bar too far, you make it far MORE likely that the entire case gets thrown out by juries because of over-reach. And, in the end, you’ve given up your 1st amendment rights and your right not to think of yourself as a victim.

I’m not ignorant of these things, I understand what hate crimes are intended to do. Go back and read my piece before you tell me what homework I have or haven’t done.

Here in CA, the waters were muddied by the fact that the boy was tried as an adult. He was 14 at the time of the shooting, not 15. And, at the time, I was one of the voices who spoke out against trying him as an adult from a medical perspective. There is ample scientific evidence that the decision making centers of the brain in a 14 year old aren’t developed enough for them to make rational decisions. It’s why we don’t let them vote, drive, sign contracts, or drink, and it’s why we hold them separate in labor laws, and classify crimes against them as especially odious. For example, if the same boy, if tried as an adult and sent to an adult prison had sex with another inmate (of either gender), that person would be charged with child rape because a 14 year old doesn’t have the ability to offer legal consent. Where is the logic here?

All that to say – there’s a lot of grounds for a jury to get stuck with a bungled prosecution like that. That’s a bad job on the prosecutor’s part.

I’m not saying Hate Crimes aren’t rooted in hate, or that they aren’t bad. I’m saying that you can’t write laws to govern men’s minds and expect good outcomes.

@Priya, then why bother? I’m sure there’s a wall downtown somewhere you can spraypaint.

Priya Lynn

September 28th, 2011

Andrew, I don’t blame you for being annoyed that I’ve dismissed your ideas out of hand. Perhaps in the future you could summarize your position in one or two paragraphs and then if people raise objections add more detail.
To me when I see something that lengthy and the point isn’t clear in a paragraph or two I think the rest has got to be based on highly abstract (and questionable) reasoning and tortured logic. I’ve heard it all before.

David

September 28th, 2011

People who do these kinds of things are usually stupid enough and irrational enough to do it again, to the same victims. I would highly recommend to this couple that they install IP cameras for surveillance of their property.

IP cameras are small, inconspicuous, cheap and easy to install. You can record hours of video to a regular computer hard drive.

I’m afraid unless and until the backwards hateful idiots who did this are identified and apprehended, they are likely to keep doing this, hoping to cost the victims enough money and aggravation that they’ll drive them off. They need to turn the tables and get these people on camera.

andrew

September 28th, 2011

Priya, the piece was long, but the logic was pretty concrete, and hardly tortured. There were just many distinct reasons that hate crimes laws are a bad bet for everyone. If it’s complicated for you, I sympathize. But until you’ve had a chance to either read it, or understand it, maybe you should wait to characterize it the way that you did. Because otherwise it sounds like you just don’t like people to disagree with you, and that says more about you than it does about the piece.

@David – I completely agree — we had a problem with taggers (graffitti – gang related, not anti-gay), and if it had not stopped when it did, I was going in for the IP camera and the motion sensor.

Here are some additional things folks should consider: get an NRA sticker for your front door and/or car. Even if you don’t join. No one wants to get a butt full of buckshot. Get a rescue dog. I think everyone should rescue a dog from the pound, they make great additions to your family, and it’s amazing what it does for keeping intruders away. Make friends with your neighbors and keep an eye out for each other. Where there are known issues, meet with police leaders and work with them — they want their jobs to be easier, not harder and will probably work with your group.

And yeah, that big old flag is awesome — it send a very clear message.

BUT… we still don’t know what the actual intent was for the idiots with the rock here. They might just have been riling up these homeowners with anti-gay speech because they know it’ll get a reaction, not because they have any more animus toward gays than anyone else. Catch ’em and find out what crickets are chirping between their ears. If they’re really anti-gay hate mongers, it’s critical to know who’s influencing them. If they’re just morons looking to tweak people by finding things that upset them the most, I’m sure there’s garbage by the side of the road that needs to be picked up for the next 26 weeks.

g_whiz

September 29th, 2011

Yes, an NRA sticker is going to prevent property crime to a degree, but won’t do anything about any other situations where ones race/gender/orientation makes them a mark. The whole “hate crimes legislation is innefectual” argument bothers me quite a bit, primarily because those morons from GoProud make the claim.

The sanctions attached to a violent crime may not serve as a deterent for all, but a few things need to be considered before one handwaves the importance of legislation to this effect. These people didn’t just smash up a home. They sent a very clear indicator who they were and why they were targeting the couple above. In other words, they were sending a message from people “like them” to people “like us”. That their God doesn’t like us. That they want us to cower and tow the line. And hate crime legislation sends a similar message to the overarching society- that our justice system is invested in you even when people “like them” aren’t.

Its not about prevention as much as it is about transmitting the counter message to the would be/future victims. That alone is a valid reason for legislation to stand. We have enough people who live in fear of being put “in their place”. Every bit of indication of support to the contrary is welcome after something as harrowing as this ordeal is.

g_whiz

September 29th, 2011

And hate crime legislation does not in fact “legislate people’s minds”. It attaches greater punishment to crimes where a person targets someone else because of real or perceived minority status. (Or animus related to that status)
Much the way a person who commits murder is likely to get a more sever punishment than jaywalking.

There is no point where any bit of legislation I’ve ever read suggests a person cannot hate gay people, or black people or jews or the muslims until the cows come home. It does however stress that those who burn crosses in people’s lawns, hang nooses from trees and do things like the above can’t hide behind freedom of speech or religion while inflicting damage and resorting to violence. (Intimidation and vandalism aren’t “rights” to my mind in the first place)

justme

September 29th, 2011

Wow, Andrew, I stand corrected — you actually got other people interested in your “thoughts”. Don’t know how or why, but you apparently know your audience.

Happily, I’m not it. Sorry to rain on your parade, but, judging from the fact that you responded to me again (I caught my name at the beginning of your post), I know that’s got to hurt.

I assume you’re also NoxiousNan? Hysterical. I won’t be reading any more of those, either. Congratulations, though, on finding a forum for whatever it is you think you’re doing.

Andrew

September 29th, 2011

@justme — i love the “scare quote” around “thoughts”… Ironically, you’ve posted more responses than almost anyone, for someone who’s not engaged. And no, I’m not NoxiousNan – I don’t play games and I don’t need to make up people to agree with me. I’m interested in ideas and changing minds and talking about issues – more like GWiz and Regan – even when I disagree with them. I don’t really understand the substitution of personality for social dominance for ideas that you’re engaging in. It’s as though you’re more interested in winning something than in throwing ideas around and challenging minds. And that’s too bad. Good luck to you.

Andrew

September 29th, 2011

@Whiz: Thanks for making a cogent counter-argument. I disagree with you on most, but I think I understand and respect you.

Agreed — a sticker doesn’t solve the problem. Gays with Guns bucks the stereotype of weak men that some have. It’s a small gesture, but it works for me personally.

I dislike GoProud because they define themselves by who they aren’t. They seem more interested in making neocons accept them as pets. It’s all very Uncle Tom and toxic. That said, just because a bunch of idiots think something is true doesn’t innately make that thing wrong – ideas needs to be judged on their own merits.

People can demand that you cower all they want. Whether or not you choose to do so is up to you. The request isn’t criminal.

When the sole difference in prosecuting two identical acts is the beliefs of the person committing them, then yes, you actually have legislated minds.

You equate HC’s with intent. Beliefs are not the same as intent, but yes, they’re cousins. Intent speaks to whether a person did something on purpose or not, and that matters. Intent alone is criminal – attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder – which can be predicated solely on intent – are criminal acts.

Where I agree with you: Beliefs can prove intent. You can’t reasonably argue “gay panic” as a murder defense if you have an anti-gay blog or have a history of making anti-gay statements – you had an agenda, you acted with intent — and there’s your jump to felony or first degree without requiring a test of whether the bias is government-approved or not.

But criminalizing bias requires us to determine “bias against whom”? And now the government is in the business of deciding what kinds of bias are permissible, and what kinds aren’t.

If we go further with the parallel to intent (admittedly, this is going out on a limb)… if we criminalize bias as we do intent, then the bias alone becomes sufficient — and now we have a free speech test.

I don’t believe we need the law to create a category of who it’s illegal to hate. On top of that, we still leave people out. Remember how long we went without being included in HCLs? When do we re-categorize rape as a hate crime (which seems pretty logical to me)? When do we start protecting the disabled, the homeless, or very short people, who are targeted for violence, as a group, for obvious reasons?

In short – who gets to decide who’s in and who’s out? Who’s cool and who’s disenfranchised? You? Me? Really?

And in the meantime, you’ve let society take one more nibble out of the 1st Amendment. You’ve traded a freedom for security (we hope), or maybe just societal respect (good luck) – which is something that we’ll never earn by playing the victim and trying to force others not to hate us.

I love the Ben Franklin quote: Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither, and will lose both. But like most of the rest, that’s a belief, not a fact.

Like I said, I disagree with you, but I respect you for disagreeing with me, for being coherent, and for arguing your issues, not launching ad hominem attacks.

NoxiousNan

September 29th, 2011

haha, I about spit my coffee all over my monitor when Justme accused me of being a non-existent sock puppet – it’s my first time! But I think I’ve been skulking around here long enough that it would be pretty simple to determine that I am not he (nor even a he).

I had a paragraph for Prya Lynn, but Andrew made my point more succinctly when he asked why Prya bothered. But Regan and Gwhiz gave me good counter-point food for thought, my thanks.
I have agreed and disagreed with Regan, but s/he strikes me as a sincere, well informed and reasonable person every time.

Andrew

September 30th, 2011

@Nan – loved the visual on coffee-spitting. Should I engage in a diatribe about the voices of women being marginalized within the gay community, being reduced to little more than sock puppetry? Or perhaps on the serious dangers to the gay community of self-victimization through the embracing of the habit of playacting with footwear? Bring it on ! ROFL. I didn’t mean any of that, but I can’t find the gentle self-mockery tag.

Marauder

October 1st, 2011

The problem with hate crime legislation is that it makes it more criminal to hate someone for certain reasons than it is to hate them for other reasons – for example, if Bob spray-paints “Joe is an asshole” on Joe’s garage door, he’d be faced with a lesser penalty than he would for spray-painting “Joe is a fag”. Either way Bob doesn’t like Joe and has criminally vandalized his property. Heck, maybe Bob doesn’t care one way or the other about Joe’s sexuality, but he knows Joe cares so he hits where he knows it’ll hurt.

Or, let’s say Joe is openly gay and Bob has religious objections to homosexuality. One night Bob and Joe run into each other on the sidewalk and Bob beats up Joe. People assume that Bob beat up Joe because Joe’s gay, but in reality Bob was willing to live and let live until Joe insulted Bob’s mother. If everyone knows Joe is gay and everyone knows Bob thinks being gay is a sin, how the heck is Bob ever going to prove that Joe’s sexuality has nothing to do with why he beat him up?

Priya Lynn

October 1st, 2011

Marauder absent any evidence that bob beat up Joe because he was gay (yelling “Die homo Die!” or “Gays are the spawn of Satan”) Bob isn’t going to get convicted of a hate crime. Its a tough bar to cross to convict someone of a hate crime, there has to be clear evidence that the motivation was not just to attack Joe, but to send a message to the gay community that they’re next.

In your example I doubt painting “joe is a fag” would cross the bar in order to be considered a hate crime. It would have to be something like “fags not welcome in our town”, “Queers must leave”, something that sends the message that the entire community is under attack, not just a given individual. The difference between that and painting “Joe is an a-hole” is that the latter only attacks an individual and isn’t an attempt to terrorize a community which is what a hate crime law punishes.

Timothy Kincaid

October 5th, 2011

Maurader,

Those are good points. I too have complicated feelings about hate crimes penalty enhancements (I am definitely in favor of tracking).

And police and legislators also share those concerns. As Priya Lynn noted, though, a hate crime is not when a straight person commits a crime against a gay person. Rather, its when commits the crime or picks the victim because he’s gay.

I’m not sure that the line is drawn exactly where Priya Lynn illustrates (Joe is a fag might be enough). But she’s correct that the action has to be against Joe’s orientation and not his disrespect for Bob’s mother.

And, as in all criminal prosecution, there is no presumption of hate crime. Bob doesn’t have to prove that he did not act out of hate. Rather, the prosecution must prove he did. (At least in the US and, I believe, Canada. In Great Britain the laws are quite different).

Phoenix criminal law

January 30th, 2012

It all started with slavery now they are targeting people’s lives.

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