Maybe their rabid bigotry is the result of fear. The intent isn't to terrorize but to rid themselves of a perceived threat. Does that make more sense?
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Prosecution, on the other hand, is a different matter. It's clear that once charges are brought up against the suspect that the penalties should be harsher, as per law.
I know the Stranger is all about calling out the cops for the shit they do wrong, and they do plenty of it wrong around here, but really so much of the problem with the Seattle Police is that there aren't enough of them to do the job effectively.
This wouldn't have gotten investigated any more than any other fight, as in it wouldn't have been investigated at all, except now that there is a slight amount of media attention. There aren't enough cops to go and do follow up interviews, let alone investigations of lower profile crimes. There aren't enough cops to even do occasional patrols FFS, let alone the traffic stops that any other city would have. I'm just shocked that our crime rate isn't much higher than it is, and that's more about the citizens wealth than it is about the effectiveness of the policing.
The act of attacking a child with a baseball bat is a crime regardless of why it was done. We shouldn't have thought crimes on the book as well.
The officer who took the report noted the fact that Tiva was "dressed in women's clothing at the time of the attack" - I'm very surprised the dots didn't connect themselves in the SPD system at that point, checking the "hate crime" box automatically no matter how the woozy young victim managed to self-identify.
Say a man attacks someone because they slept with his wife. That's no less an act of hate but it's not prosecuted as a hate crime. I recognize that intent is relevant but it's being weighed unequally with hate crime prosecutions.
The point of such attacks is to cause fear in the community, to cause people in that community to live in subservience and attempt to be invisible. It isn't random, and it isn't motivated by profit or greed. It's worse.
The signs point to slow police work, not a conscious choice to disregard hate crime evidence.
Again, it goes back to the issue of a thought crime. If you want transgendered and cisgendered people alike to feel safe, put more honest cops on the streets and prosecute equally. Charging someone with a hate crime does nothing to change the minds and hearts of other bigots.
You have to be kidding.
What is your beef with bias crime legislation?
And no, I don't think this should be turned into a federal case. I think more laws need to be written to deal with the varying levels of terrorism. You said the act was meant to put fear into a specific community. That's the very definition of terrorism.
1) misusing the term "thought crime" which refers to criminalizing thought itself, before there is even any intent or action; and
2) you are totally ignorant of our entire system of law.
EVERY crime depends on the thought behind it. That's what makes it CRIME, is criminal intent, or 'mens rea' under the law.
The nature of the crime depends a lot on the intent of the person behind it. If a person picks up a gun and shoots somebody to death, that depends largely on what the person at the time was thinking.
And lastly, hate-crimes are really just a form of terrorism. When Al Qaeda blows up a building, that's a crime of terrorism significantly more egregious than simple murder, because the intent behind the crime is entirely different, and is prosecuted and punished differently. Hate crimes are a particular subset of acts of terrorism that are often based in bigotry and intended to victimize an entire class or group of people.
This is why, say, burning a cross in a black family's front yard is not simple arson, but an act of terrorism.
The cry of "oh hate crime laws are criminalizing thought" is totally bullsh*t, and completely ignorant. That line of non-logic would undo OUR ENTIRE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. Aka, you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. The next time you have a thought, just let it go.
EVERYTHING is a crime because of thought.
That's. how. criminal. law. works.
Also, NO, it is not. Bashing a kid's skull in with the requisite criminal intent, THAT is a crime.
If a kid breaks into my house in the middle of the night with a gun, and I bash that kid's skill in with a baseball bat, that is NOT a crime. Why not? Because the person committing the second act is THINKING SOMETHING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.
If the law worked your way, then we'd have to change OUR ENTIRE SOCIETY to fit your totally unworkable bullshit idiocy.
I think it is a massive insult to the families of victims who are not the victim of a hate crime to say that their family deserves less retribution because they were only victimized because they were being robbed. Regardless of the reason a person commits a violent crime, it is worthy of prosecution, no more, no less. We all deserve equal protection under the law, and not just minority groups. Everyone. I say this as a member of two separate minority groups.
I simply believe all violent crimes should be punished severely. I think rape should be a life sentence. I think that the perpetrator of a savage beating resulting in near death of the victim should receive a very lengthy prison sentence, and perhaps a life sentence.
I do not believe that hate crime legislation will make a difference in crime statistics. I believe, firmly, that an individual or a group that perpetuates a horrific crime is a person or group that is beyond reasoning, beyond logic, beyond sane. You cannot reason with a crazy person. Therefore, a perpetrator will not take into account the penalty of a crime. And frankly, some people convicted of horrible crimes occasionally receive light sentences. Personally, I think it would be best for the community if we simply had stricter laws regarding violent crimes, crimes which are not chosen...I do not think that two adults engaging in a fist fight by choice should be severely punished, for them, a misdemeanor will do.
But for those who will perpetuate a heinous crime upon another, I care not for the reasoning behind the crime, I simply care that they are punished severely with a lengthy prison sentence. Of course, I would make an exception to the law for a person who was out of their mind, say, a boyfriend who had a GF that was raped who then savagely beat the rapist. Or say a mother who kills the molester of her child. For these individuals, I would still punish them, although more leniently.
I just think that a violent crime is a violent crime, and unless it is self-defense, or retribution for another horrific crime, that we should simply have very stiff sentences.
And by the way, I am a huge supporter of the gay community since I was about 8 years old and first exposed to gay culture. I used to, and still do, argue endlessly with those who would look down upon homosexuals. In no way do I think that homosexuals deserve less protection than a straight person. I simply think that they deserve equal protection. Equal.
That is what we want right? To be equal, right? If this is not the goal anymore then what is, to be superior, to be treated better and with more protection? I think we are losing sight of the issue. It is about equal protection, not more protection.
My two cents.
I probably won’t have time to revisit this blog today, so you can save the nasty comments and save yourself some time, as with my schedule I will likely not have time to revisit.
It's imperfect, of course. Sometimes people are motivated by hatred so strong that the potential consequences--no matter how severe--don't factor into it. But if some angry kid with an axe to grind knows he's likely to get 10 years for beating the crap out of some poor gay man, instead of the 5-and-parole he'd get for doing the same in a random bar fight, it's definitely possible he'd be less likely to actually follow through with it. Which means his potential target is, at least slightly, somewhat safer than he would've been otherwise. Still nowhere near the average level of safety for a straight guy, but at least a bit closer.
So: Who here has strong Google-fu?
My question is, can we compare violent crime in general to bias crime? We know that, over the last 30 years or so, violent crime has gone down. Has bias crime declined at the same rate? In the same places? Is there a higher rate of attacks against queer folks in places that do not include sexual orientation/identity in bias crime law? In short, does it actually make a difference or are we just doing this because it makes us feel better?
You deserved better and I hope that you make a speedy and full recovery.
This is a horrific crime and I hope they throw the friggin book at the SOB!
We are saying, yeah, feel free to be a bigot, but the second you act on that bigotry (act, not just speech or thought), we as a people will stand united and condemn you. Powerful stuff, yes?
1) I'm using a broader definition of thought crime that isn't restricted to preceding an action,
2) and no, I am not totally ignorant of our entire system of law; I was oversimplifying when I wrote about intent and thought. I'm sorry that you missed the point I was trying to make but it sounds like we partly agree.
I'm glad that you can see the terrorist nature in most acts of hate-related violence. But not all hate crime cases are guaranteed to be acts of terrorism, while many other crimes should be considered hate crimes but aren't because the hate isn't focused on an individual because they're part of an oppressed group.
Not to say that a study shouldn't be done, just saying it would have to be very careful/thoughtful with its statistical analysis.
Next, can we do the same for anti-gay violence? Is anti-queer bigotry down over the last twenty or thirty years? Has anti-queer violence reduced at the same rate as overall violent crime?
Seriously, *someone* must have studied this kind of stuff.
It was a person acting alone. Considering the low profile of transgendered people in society (due to their scarcity) odds are that woman had never even *seen* a transgendered person before, let alone had any notion about joining an anti-trans group, whatever the hell that is.
This case is a textbook example of a lone, know-nothing bigot who took out her plentiful inadequacies on a defenseless child.
Hate crime legislation, specifically, Washington State's Malicious Harassment Statute is specifically based upon a persons statements, and that is what is tantamount to 'Thought Crime".
If someone beats up a gay, then it's not a hate crime unless they're shouting 'faggot" during, before, or after to the extent the legislator defines the statute. That is oversimplified, but it is essentially so.
Do you understand the idea that bias crimes are not just against the individual, but also against the community the victim is perceived to be part of? And that intent has always played a role in determining the severity of the consequence? If you answer yes to both of these questions, then I respectfully ask you to connect the dots between the two concepts.
However, I'm still curious as to whether bias crime legislation has an actual effect on the incidence rate of bias crime.
You say that some bias crime may not come from hate, nor from a desire for the victim/community to be further marginalized, BUT instead from fear inherent to the perpetrator. What would that fear look like? Can you give me an example of this kind of fear, that does not carry any concurrent hate or desire to stifle?
The stereotype of the bias crime is a few louts gaybashing, or beating up a black guy 'cos he's black. (Or Latino, or trans, or Jewish, etc.) Am I missing something? Is there another possibility?
If a perpetrator feels that much fear, without hate, then either they were in actual danger and can use an affirmative defense, or they are unbalanced and can use a M'Naghten defense.
Really. Would they not be lashing out in an attempt to make the supposed threat (and all other possible threats) afraid of them?
Actually, that doesn't matter. Either way, their case needs more attention (and possibly more punishment) than a normal assault and battery case. A guy who gets drunk and gets into a fight with another guy in front of a bar is not the same as a guy who gets drunk and beats up a guy he thinks may want to hit on him. That behavior has a different motive, and motive matters in sentencing.
When someone kills an abusive spouse or perhaps a cheating spouse, that's not the same as killing them for the insurance money. We take that motive into account because one of those murderers is a guilty of a greater crime AND a greater threat to the community.
It's not that it doesn't matter whether or not the criminal means to terrorize the community. But it also matters whether or not the criminal IS terrorizing the community.
However, if you asked the perpetrator in your examples if they were scared of the gay man, I bet they would say no. It is an *irrational* fear, and we don't cater to those as a society. A crime of this type still says, "Go be gay somewhere else, your kind are not welcome here." And as a society, that motivation is worse than the drunken punch-up in a bar.
@49, the Washington State has bias crime legislation. Sounds like the community would like the prosecutor to apply that, should the perpetrator be caught. Perhaps I don't see your point; it's clear I'm not firing on all cylinders today.
No, I made the assumption that this exact argument, that "the action is what should be prosecuted" is completely anathema to our entire legal system.
Such an argument is nonsensical, idiotic, and ignorant.
There are legitimate arguments to be made against hate crime legislation. Your consistent attempt to argue that "the action is what should be prosecuted" is, at best, staggeringly ignorant of our legal system. And I react vehemently against that argument, because it is the type of argument consistently deployed throughout history to shield and protect bigotry, hatred, and a vicious legacy of relentless terrorism committed against minorities in this country and elsewhere.
There's centuries of legal history where minorities walk into a courtroom with two strikes against them automatically. And the minute anyone starts attempting to undo that stacked deck with tools like hate crime legislation to defend a protected class, then people start screeching about some bullshit like "thought crimes" or similar idiocy that some moron spoon-fed their ignorant asses.
It is an absolutely bullshit and vicious argument that has no place in what purports to be some kind of vaguely thoughtful discussion about hate-crimes legislation.
So fuck off. If you don't like hate-crimes legislation, come up with a real argument. Equating hate crimes with 'thought crimes' is bullshit, regardless of whatever on-the-fly "oh, well actually I semantically intended to mean..." back-tracking load of shit definition you're going to try to twist into some vague argument is not going to fly with me.
If that woman had felt the same hate, the same desire to do something, yet for some reason (even sheer coincidence) had refrained from striking that girl with a baseball bat, no crime would have happened, despite her bigotted thoughts.
So it appears that, even though 'thought' as you defined it is a necessary condition for a crime, it is not a sufficient condition. And this is as it should be.
What Aurophobia is worried about is that at some point the 'thought' might become a sufficient condition (thought crimes). And since bigotry is indeed despicable and our society is definitely turning more and more against it, there's the danger that it could happen.
It could happen even if the law doesn't change appreciably in form. After all, in Russia, they have laws that read very well for dealing with extremism, but since the definition of extremism is often interpreted with a bias favoring the agenda of the powers-that-be, the end result is dangerously clause to anti-thought-crime legislation: the practical result is often that those who disagree more vehemently with the guidance of the United Russia party are preferentially pro- (and per-)secuted.
In other words, there's a place in this world for both your concerns, and Aurophobia's. Even though I understand where your outrage is coming from, there is no need for vehement rhetorics here: a more civil tone will probably do more to help get your point across.
Thoughtcrime? Should I face death/life in prison simply for the crime of thinking through my murder before I commit it?
This part, I'm just throwing out there: Rape is more about a man using his personal power over one woman for his own ends, rather than saying, "All those bitches better not . . ." That is strictly conjecture.
So straight white guys need not apply.....unless we're wearing skirts.
@65 Even if a white person is attacked for their race, as Shane McClellan was in West Seattle, they should not be covered by hate crimes law?
"Straight white guys who don't cross-dress have not been the targets of systematic oppression. "
Tell that to the Irish.
I stand by my assertion that white guys have *not* been the victims of systematic oppression. If you want me to qualify that by saying 'in the last 50 years', then I'm happy to do so.
What about Apalachia whites then?
Of course you weren't. Slog doesn't report on anti white hate crimes. Think James Paroline, Tuba Man and Kris Krimes. Clear cases of individual white people attacked by gangs blacks because if their race
Black people weren't considered people, so therefore they weren't being oppressed?
That is called the gay panic defense which is also uhh, slightly problematic.
It is also the logical foundation that under-girded centuries of segregation.
The Klan was motivated significantly by fear, yet nobody would deny that the Klan is a long-established terrorist group.
Blessed Be Tiva. We, are all praying for a speedy and full recovery. And don't worry sugar there are a lot more people who have your back than there are people to harm you.
*Hugs and positive thoughts*
Rising up? Where, in SLog's comments section?
I hope Miss Tiva and her parents receive justice and dont lose faith in humanity. Tiva and others like her deserve to be treated alot better than whats been dished out to them.
I really can't post any more than that on this, I just can't bring myself to politicize this story at all.