Friday, September 24, 2010

Civil Rights and Hate Crimes

Gary Fouse

The revelations about how the Justice Department dropped charges against the New Black Panther Party over the incident that occurred in front of a Philadelphia voting station leads to a discussion of the entire issue of how to enforce civil rights law, which in turn, leads to a discussion on hate crimes. This also corresponds to a report issued this week by an Orange County agency named the OC Human Relations Commission. Don't ask me what they do. All I know is that they are led by an empty suit named Rusty Kennedy. As I have previously written, I wrote to Kennedy in 2008 complaining about anti-Semitism on the UCI campus, and all I got back was a nastygram because I had also criticized what I considered the lack of an effective response by the university. Anyway, here is the link to the OC Register article on the study on hate crimes in 2009 in Orange County followed by the report itself.

Note: If you go to the above website, you are going to wind up someplace else, so I suggest you go to the OCHRC main site below, see all the happy faces, read all the puff, and then click on the report, which is on the right.

So what are we to make of the situation in Orange County, which has evolved into a multi-ethnic county? As for the OC Register article, it is completely centered on hate against Muslims. Note the title and the statements from CAIR. Interestingly, it features as its lead photo, a shot of Muslim Student Union members at UC-Irvine as they were disrupting the speech of the Israeli ambassador to the US last February. I wonder if that incident was included in the stats. Eleven arrests would have had some kind of impact on the OCHRC results, would it not?

If you really look at this study, you are talking about 77 reported instances in 2009, most of which were vandalism and committed by unknown persons. There were only a handful of cases of serious violence. Not a bad record, but one case is one case too many.

First of all, is insulting someone and referring to their ethnicity or religion a crime? Two such incidents are mentioned in the OC Register article in which Muslims were insulted. I do not condone that action, but is it a crime absent a threat? (The boy in the restroom was, in fact, threatened. That is a crime.)

The article mentions that over half of the incidents involve graffiti or vandalism. That is a crime-and especially despicable if in occurs on a religious building, such as a mosque or synagogue. The question I have is whether legally, the offense should be enhanced because of the "hate" aspect. I still have a problem with charging people for what they think as opposed to what they do. Is the motive for a crime not an element of proof rather than part of the charge? For example, if I kill you because I want to rob you or I am a hired killer carrying out a contract, is that any more or less than if I kill you for racial or religious reasons? Of course, self-defense, temporary insanity etc are considered mitigating factors. If I kill you because I just saw you kill my daughter, that would also be a mitigating factor.

Some would argue, quite reasonably, that to assault someone because of their religion or race has implications far greater for society than just the individuals involved. Yet, I think there are some legal issues involved including whether they are applied equally as to who the victims and perpetrators are.

Back to the study. From reading this study, it would appear that non-white, non-Christian minorities are the chief victims. Keep in mind, there were 77 reported incidents. Do we know who the perpetrators are? Or do we just assume they are the old boogey man-whites? For example, who is attacking who? The best this study can tell us is that out of 77 reported cases, the majority of offenders are unknown, but that among known offenders, the majority are white -just as nationwide they add. The numbers on the screen are tiny, but by my adding, it looks like 16 out of 33 known offenders were white (offense not specified), but who's quibbling? They also came up with a figure of 75 cases of unknown perpetrators so it gets rather confusing to a simple guy like me. My conclusion is, since I follow the news, is that the vast majority of incidents in Orange County involve defacing or destruction of religious property (synagogues and mosques) and that the perps are unknown. All in all, we have a pretty good county when it comes to this issue. I wonder how much money this bunch gets paid to put out these statistics based on 77 incidents in a single year. Is it significant to say attacks against a certain group tripled during the year-from 2 to 7? Just nitpicking.

In Los Angeles (not in Orange County), the most serious attacks (deadly) against African-Americans are generally carried out by Hispanics-and vis-versa-due to the gang wars. Drop into any California state prison some time and see how the blacks and the Hispanics get along. Hell, the Hispanics are divided against each other according to whether they are Nortenos or Surenos (North or South-sorry, I can't get the diacritical marks down on my blog).

Another questionable aspect of this study is that the lowest victim group is......whites, of course. Strange since we live in a society where you can pretty much say anything you want about whites and get away with it. Are you telling me that the OCHRC couldn't find a white guy who had never been insulted as a "white so and so"? Maybe they found two, but then again, insulting is not a crime unless it involves a terroristic threat (of violence). Surely, a few have been punched in the nose the past year by a minority.

Let me get a little more daring and lay out this scenario. Suppose I (a white guy) decided one night to take a drive to South Central LA and try out the nightlife. You know, hit a few bars, nightclubs, maybe hit on a few black ladies, maybe get lucky. What do you think is going to happen within the first hour or two?

If you guessed hate crime, you WIN!

Now I know there are still some places and bars in the US where a black guy would be ill-advised to spend the same kind of evening. Yet, the places I have frequented my whole adult life (and they are many) are not like that. The point is that it is all wrong. Expressions of hate toward another group is wrong. Civil rights in the US are supposed to be for all-even the group that historically discriminated against others. What we learned from Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement was that everyone should be treated equally. His message was not that only certain groups should be protected, but all groups.

That leads us to the mess in the DOJ and Eric Holder's little fiefdom. It is being alleged that current DOJ policy is to not pursue cases in which minorities commit an act against whites. Unless you believe in the principle of "pay-back" (which has no legal standing), these laws must be applied equally. We now have strong reason to believe that DOJ is not doing that.

Of course, political correctness tells us that society is divided into certain "victim" groups and "oppressor" groups, and that the victim groups deserve special protection. Yes, they deserve protection and a guarantee that we will never go back to "Jim Crow", but at the same time, everyone deserves the same protection. Let's not forget that many "hate crimes" or hateful statements are being made both to minorities and whites by.......other minority groups. If you don't believe me, you need to listen more to the words of the New Black Panthers and their spokesman Malik Shabazz. I have also written many times about anti-Semitic expressions made by Muslims though they are much more frequent and open in other parts of the world as opposed to the US.

That leads me to the topic of Islamophobia, however you wish to define it. Is there Islamophobia in the US? Of course. Millions fear Islamic terrorism. Millions still smolder over 9-11. The recent issue of the NY mosque, acts of terror world-wide, and other expressions of radicalism and hate toward others (mostly coming out of the Middle East) have convinced millions of people that Islam is violent, intolerant and bent on taking over the West. These are legitimate concerns and cannot be swept under the rug in the name of political correctness. The dilemma is how to deal with this evil-and it is evil-without harming innocent and peaceful Muslims in our country who simply wish to go about their daily lives, raise their children as best they can and be left alone.

A major part of the Muslim issue is that political correctness has determined that Muslims are now a major "protected group". Thus, if you talk about these issues or protest against a Ground Zero mosque, you are a hater, you are a bigot, and no American wants to be called that. It is also well known that American Muslim groups like CAIR and others are ready to file lawsuits on a moment's notice. Furthermore, we know that perceived "insults" toward Islam will be answered with violent protests in the Islamic world. Our news media will jump to pump up a story about a misguided pastor who wants to burn Korans, but ignore an imam in Lebanon on tape calling for the beheading of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. (His name is Feiz Muhammad.)

The fact is that double standards have no place in American society. We are a multi-ethnic society, and we are still struggling to make the best of it-and we can. However, the laws and the rules must be the same for all. How sad that the man who was going to "bring us together" (President Obama) is dividing us. How sad that the Department of Justice, which I was proud to work for for almost 25 years in several Republican and Democrat administrations, has come down to the point where it is little different than a local Alabama courthouse in the 1950s.

As for the next OCHRC report on 2010- I can hardly wait. Hopefully, there won't be any incidents to report. Wouldn't that be great? Then Orange County can get rid of Rusty Kennedy and his Human Relations Commission.

1 comment:

  1. Good post!
    Ref:"That leads us to the mess in the DOJ and Eric Holder's little fiefdom. It is being alleged that current DOJ policy is to not pursue cases in which minorities commit an act against whites."

    Mark Levin talked about this on his radio show today. You can listen here (set the slider at 11 minutes and 10 seconds)