Oh, Washington Post, how many foibles can you make with the gays this week? First there was you letting Tony Perkins use your paper to spread hate rhetoric, then there was your dumb response to it (ban reporters from responding to critics on Twitter). And then there’s op-ed columnist Richard Cohen making the foolish argument that adding hate crimes to the penal code is almost as bad as the hate crimes themselves. Dumbass.
Discussing the string of anti-gay violence in NYC (the Bronx torture, the West Village bar attack, the Chelsea distict assault), Cohen wrote yesterday, “Almost as bad as hate crimes themselves is the designation. It is a little piece of totalitarian nonsense, a way for prosecutors to punish miscreants for their thoughts or speech, both of which used to be protected by the Constitution (I am an originalist in this regard). It is not the criminal act alone that matters anymore but the belief that might have triggered the act. For this, you can get an extra five years or so in the clink.”
Wow, that is quite the disastrous argument to make right there! The designation of a violent act as a hate crime is almost as bad as the crime itself?
Here is the difference: The designation of a hate crime is when somebody is punished additionally because that violence was aimed at a minority simply because the victim was a minority. An actual hate crime is when you are forced to strip naked, sodomized with a plunger, burned on your penis and nipple with a lit cigarette, sliced with a box cutter, and beaten senseless because some stupid wannabe gangster thinks you’re gay.
One is certainly worse than the other.
Tellingly, Cohen’s logic fail is on par with an undergrad at Rutgers University, who tried making a similar argument in the wake of Tyler Clementi’s death in the student newspaper The Daily Targum: That criticism of the newspaper’s outrage was, ahem, almost as bad as the vicious bullying waged against Clementi that led to his death.