Any damned fool can
By DOUGLAS OLSON
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Of all the anti-freedom concepts identified by George Orwell in 1984, perhaps the most chilling is that of the "thought crime," which results in government punishment of an individual for entertaining improper or forbidden thoughts.
Orwell's creation proudly survives and thrives today as the "hate crime," the name change being necessary to disguise its true origin. "Hate crime" calls forth two kinds of responses from leviathan's ministers of love: (1) added punishment for actual crimes, based on the "protected" status of the victim and the presumed "bias" on the part of the perpetrator that led to the crime; and (2) criminalization of speech, writing, and other expression of thoughts and feelings disapproved by the state.
In the first category, a crime has actually been committed. And if a person is robbed, battered, or killed, the perp should be punished. But the idea that the incident is somehow more serious or insidious simply because the victim enjoys officially "protected" status is ... positively Orwellian. Do his wounds ache any worse if he is battered for being black rather than for being the driver of an SUV coveted by a carjacker? Are a white man's wounds less painful because he has no official government "protection"? The state believes that the answer to both questions is yes.
Most of the uproar today over "hate crime" takes place under the second category, which is premised on the bizarre idea that everyone at least everyone who is "protected" has a constitutional (and perhaps even divine) right never to be offended. Burning a cross on someone else's lawn is a crime at a bare minimum it is trespassing. No traditionally recognized crime is committed when one circulates a flier or other publication unflattering to minorities; or calls someone a "nigger," "queer," or some other less-than-civil thing; or lights a cross on his own property but all of those actions are actionable today as "hate."
Over the past decade, the second type of "hate crime" has become a growth industry, fueled to no small degree by flashy property crimes and the occasional injury faked by minorities and women to gain sympathy, status, money, and attention for a particular cause or agenda. These days, reports of such "hate crimes" almost invariably feature two components: the first, widely reported, indignant piece about the discovery of the damage and its terrible effect on the victim, the entire community, and the world as a whole; and the second, very neutral, very short, always-buried (if reported at all) story about the authorities' determination that the victim actually committed the "crime" against himself, or that another member of his own "protected" group was the actual culprit.
Clippings from the past eight months spotlight no fewer than 18 such "hate crime" hoaxes that were actually unmasked and reported, and still others in which authorities have voiced suspicion of false reporting but have insufficient evidence to bring a charge. A few are noted below, proving that any damned fool can spell "KKK."
Two black University of Louisville students confessed to placing "hate literature" on the car of a fellow Negro, describing it as a "prank" after they were caught.
Scott and Barbara Zamitalo (he's white, she's black) of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, said they found a cross in their yard and that their carpet was doused with diesel fuel and burned. They later admitted it was nothing but an embellishment in their attempt to commit insurance fraud. In an almost identical case in Houston, Nicholas and Tracey Gatlin pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. He received a 10-year prison sentence, and she got four years deferred adjudication; they were ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution.
The most-publicized recent case was that of Claremont (Calif.) College psych prof Kerri Dunn, whose 1992 Honda was broken into, robbed, and sprayed with anti-black, anti-Jewish, and anti-female graffiti. After the entire college was worked into an uproar and its president issued dramatic new "anti-hate" directives, two eyewitnesses came forward to identify Dunn herself as the vandal. Additionally, $1,700 worth of property Dunn claimed had been stolen from the vehicle was found in her possession. Even in the face of all this, Dunn attempted to brazen (or whine) it out: "This is so overshadowing the bigger problem on campus, which is that the administration has turned its head regularly on hate speech and hate crime." She was eventually charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud and one misdemeanor citation for filing a false police report.
A black female Rowan University student claimed to have been accosted by a man who made racial slurs and used threatening words. Under questioning by Glassboro, New Jersey, authorities, she admitted it was a lie.
Two "KKK"s, eight swastikas, four "niggers," a drawing of a hangman, and the statement, "I will hang you black nigger, get out of Hudson [High School] or die" adorned a message received by a black high-school junior in St. Petersburg, Florida. After getting authorities, the NAACP, and local media all in a rage, the culprit turned out to be a black freshman, who admitted to writing the note as a "joke." Not eager to be cheated out of their celebrity, the "victim" and his mother tried to cast doubt on the confession: "Why would another black student with all we've gone through write a letter like that?"
A Mexican family in Des Moines, Iowa, claimed their two cars had been set afire, their home vandalized, and "KKK," "wetbacks go back to Mexico," and a swastika painted on their front door. According to police, the "hater" is Luis Silva, also a Mexican, who lived with the family. He faces charges of arson, stalking, and filing false police reports.
Mazhar Tabesh, originally from Pakistan, hollered "racism" when a hotel he owned in Heber City, Utah, burned, blaming "post-September 11 rage." The Los Angeles Times obligingly accused "white supremacists and skinheads living in the area." Tabesh, who was losing $5,900 a month in the business, was eventually charged with arson.
A 19-year-old Northwestern University student claimed not only to have had "Die Spic" written on his dormitory door but also to have had a knife put to his neck and been called a "spic." After useful idiots on campus raised a $2,500 reward and held a "Stop the Hate" rally at which he tearfully recounted his ordeal, Jaime Saide was charged with two felony counts of filing false police reports. According to police, "He said he wanted to do something to motivate minority students."
In perhaps the ultimate hoax, a 22-year-old New York City transvestite cut off his own penis and then claimed to be the victim of a "hate crime." He was not otherwise identified, but the New York Post reported that he was treated at Harlem Hospital Center.
And on and on it goes.
In stark contrast, here is what Ithaca (N.Y.) police absolutely refuse to consider calling a "hate crime":
At a Cornell University concert by Ludacris (was there ever a more appropriately named rapper, even down to the misspelling?), a black female accosted a white woman, demanding, "Get your white hair out of my face." As the woman obediently put her hair up to get it out of the way, the black struck her, and she fled to the back of the facility. After the performance, the victim was surrounded by five black females and one black male. "They said they were gonna f--k up my 'pretty white face,'" she recounts. One then slapped her hard enough to rupture her eardrum, and, when she lost her balance, the others began hitting her, kicking her in the face, and pulling out her hair. The mass assault stopped only when one of her male friends intervened. "If it wasn't for [him], I don't know how long it would have gone on," the white woman said.
Although six black females (two age 14, the others between 19 and 23) were arrested in the incident, police refused to file any "hate" charges. The adults were accused only of second-degree harassment and the juveniles with misdemeanor assault. It was not a "hate crime," the berserkers protested, because no one in their group "used words that were bias [sic] or racial." They further claimed that the lone victim was "very aggressive" toward them and "looking for a fight." What a masochist she must be to have picked a six-on-one fight in such a venue! (And what a racial masochist to have been there in the first place!)
"They called it hate crime just to cause a whole bunch of hype," complained one of the assailants.
Gee, where could the victim ever have gotten such a sneaky idea?
July 29, 2004
© Douglas Olson.
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