Friday, October 1, 2010

The Farce That Is "Hate" Crime

Eighteen year-old Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers and a talented musician, took his own life on September 22 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.  His suicide came after two other students (including his roommate) had arranged to video-tape his assignations with another man--apparently Mr. Clementi was a homosexual.  Those videos were streamed live and without Mr. Clementi's knowledge.  Both of the students involved in the illegal surveillance have been arrested and released on bond.

This story is a tragedy.  A young man is dead, an apparently talented, young, sympathetic man.  Two incredibly foolish and malevolent students have been arrested and are likely to face considerable retribution for their role in this man's suicide.  All in all, a horrible thing has happened, and many lives will forever be changed.

Into the breach of this tragedy--in order to add much needed definition and nuance--steps one Steven Goldstein of the gay-rights group "Garden State Equality" whose group has released a press-release informing us, according to this report, that Mr. Clementi's death was a hate crime (point of fact, the release does not actually call it a hate crime--it refers to a "hate related" death)

I rage against the death of Tyler Clementi--but I rage also at the use of the term "hate crime", and more insidiously, the characterization under the law of crimes committed under the rubric of "hate".  A free society should not prosecute people for what they THINK--only for what they DO.  Adding punishment or specifying penalties associated with "hate" crimes moves the society dangerously toward the prosecution of "thought crime".  Mr. Clementi's video assailants have committed crimes and society should exact retribution therefrom.  They should do so because a man was videotaped without his consent in what a reasonable person could conclude was a private setting.  That's it.  Nothing more.  That they may have been motivated by attitudes toward his conduct is IMMATERIAL.  Society NEEDS nothing more than the proof that they videotaped Mr. Clementi--they need not know what the videographers had in their hearts and minds when they performed the act. 

Human life is sacred, whether it is a homosexual musician in New Jersey, a pretty high school girl in Aruba, or an anonymous body turning up in a large city.  What causes death--and the reaction it causes in observers--are very human phenomena.  But prosecuting murder/death/crime "differently" because the victim was a homosexual, or young and pretty, or rich and famous--is just not right.


"The Hammer" said...

Many times in my life, while espousing my conservative/libertarian views (usually unsolicited), have I been called racist. As I've said many times in the past, I have never met anyone that wasn't racist, especially when applying the left's own interpretation of the word.

Hate Crime legislation is the codification of racism/sexism etc. It is thought-crime. It is the other side of the Jim Crow coin. Furthermore it's dangerous and unnecessary.

I heard about this crime yesterday and it's a tragedy. What we have here is a couple of stupid kids trying to act the fool with devastating consequences. But they shouldn't be punished because the victim was gay.

Goldwater's Ghost said...

I bet if you were to speak with Mr. Davi and Ms. Wei, they would both insist they are peace-loving progressives. And I would believe them.

They didn't kill Tyler Clementi, Tyler Clementi killed himself because he was ashamed of his desires.

I see no difference between what Mr. Davi and Ms. Wei did and what gay activists do when they publicly "out" gay celebrities or public officials.

There is no hate crime here, just an opportunity to claim a martyr for the cause.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ghost

You make an excellent argument.

Mudge said...

GG - Couldn't agree more. There is but one person responsible for this young man's death and he's no longer with us. BTW, where is the outrage from the gay activists when a conservative is outed publicly? Dumb question, I know.

Hammer - the left's "own" interpretation of the word mandates that racists, every damned one of them, be white and solely white. It is impossible in their interpretation for a non-white to behave in a way that is racist. So if you've never met anyone who wasn't racist when applying their interpretation, I am left to presume you've only ever met white people. Oh, and women can't be sexist. And so on. But I do get your point.

Don Tate said...


sellstl said...

From what I have read, Tyler kicked his roommate out to use the room quite often. Would Mr. Davi have taped his roommate having sex if he was heterosexual? Probably. Did he think it was "funnier" to tape him because he was gay? Probably. Should he be on the hook for Tyler taking his own life? Absolutely not.

"The Hammer" said...

Good point Mudge. I'll have to rethink my position.

Goldwater's Ghost said...

I have to wonder if some in the MSM are a little disappointed that this incident took place at a Northeastern multi-culti establishment like Rutgers and not a small Mid-Western Christian college.

After all, how are you going to tie this back to the rascist, homophobic Tea Party?

Anonymous said...

The crime is invasion of privacy. Period.

When that poor boy out West was tied to a fence and beaten to death because of his sexual orientation, no one would question the hate involved in the crime. But the crime was murder. Period.

This is not a political issue and to bend it into one is a little thoughtless.

Doc Milnamo said...

Amen to Anon!

You make reference to to the 1998 Matthew Shepard case of torure and murder. That was it, torture and murder. There's nothing more capital than murder. There already exists a clasification for "hate-crime" murder. It is called Murder 1 or premeditated murder.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Would it be OK to hate a gay person, but not kill them or to kill them and not hate them?

You see it is the killing that is the crime, not the hate. As you said it is the action not the thought or lack thereof that precipitated the action.

Anonymous said...

when is murder NOT a hate crime?

Chris said...

This kid was TARGETED BECAUSE HE WAS GAY. Ravi himself said as much in tweets inviting his entire dorm to watch the sex video. There is ample evidence of repeated harassment by the roommate. The issue of hate crimes here is immaterial -- I don't care if it applied here or not. The point is there are some who would view this as a "prank". It's not a prank. It was premeditated malicious and repeated. I am a gay man and a Rutgers alum.

Jim McGreevy said...

Gay man tearfully admits to being a Rutgers Alum!

Anonymous said...


I don't think anyone is arguing that this was merely a prank. It most certainly was a crime.

I am dismayed if the indivuals involved had hate in their hearts. However, and luckily, it is not yet a crime to hate someone. Who has the authority to judge another person's heart? To elevate one human to this authority is to give them the authority reserved for the Almighty.

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