Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Big time link:

I must thank Andrew Sullivan for the big-time link on the Shepard case.

I got more email on that than anything I've posted before. Here are some excerpts:

You seem to know a great deal about what was going through McKinney's mind. "Uncontrollable rage"? How about "uncontrolled"? How do you know that McKinney "just lost it"? Maybe he thought "I'd better kill this guy so he won't testify against me." As for "preexisting anger problems," don't we all have them?...

Interesting post. But must express some puzzlement at your conclusion that Laird opinion was astonishing. Shackling a defendant in front of a jury---okay, I'm not a criminal lawyer and I don't know what the standard is, but still---is a pretty clear indication that the judge and bailiff think the guy's guilty. Process is important, yada yada yada....

Hate crime laws are not going away and therefore need to be applied fairly. Getting to the bottom of every story is essential to this fairness. But please, this framing of the meth-head story is beginning to sound like the Dan White Twinky defense....

McKinney probably got excited about the thought of sex with Mathew and wasn't trying to kill Mathew as much as kill the thought inside himself. It wasn't a hate crime because Mathew was coming on to him and he was revolted by the idea as much as it was a hate crime against a part of himself by sacrificing another person....

I missed 20/20's show. However, one thing I wanted to ask about your commentary regards the targeting of Shepard. My recollection is that he was a pretty tiny guy -- 105 to 110 pounds. Could that have been a factor if the intent was to overwhelm someone during a robbery? I know you can't literally answer that, but was any reference made to his size on 20/20?...

Great point about Anthony Milano, but I think the rest of your take is slightly off base. The Shepard murder is actually quite consistent with the patters established in ones that came before and after....

I'm female. I've never had the freedom to go home instantly with whomever I meet. Not because it was socially frowned upon, but because I knew that there was a not so remote possibility that I was going home with a psycho and could get knifed. I still wish I'd had the freedom from rational fear that would have allowed me to go with the cute guy in Hawaii who stood up in his sports car in the middle of the traffic jam and asked me to go out with him as I walked down the street. But I was 18, alone and female. Maybe if we'd both had groups of friends. Young girls get propositioned constantly. Most of the time you don't want the guy, but....


Here is a longer excerpt:

I do not understand how you can feel singling out an individual based on their race, sexual orientation, etc, and murdering them is the same as murdering a random person. Yes, the end result is the same; however, the points leading up to it are not. The person who knowingly selects a homosexual and kills them due to their own homophobia should have their circumstance labeled as a hate crime. This is good for America too! It educates the general public! It teaches them hate doesn’t pay. There is a larger picture here and I think you, Jonathan, are missing it.

Also, hate crime bills allow for Federal investigations into possible hate crimes. Punishments don’t change but investigative help on the federal level does change. Considering many hate crimes happen in rural areas where the local police themselves are homophobic, don’t you think it necessary for hate crime legislation?

If we followed your line of thinking when it comes to hate crimes, then we would also not differentiate between rape and child molesting. What are your thoughts on that?

Jonathan, I appreciate your opinions and your willingness to share them. On this issue, however, I feel you are ill advised or simply trying to raise awareness of yourself by diverting a popular consensus in the gay community. Hate Crime Legislation is not a special right for gays or other races; it is a necessary piece of legislation to cut down the number of crimes that are motivated out of hate.





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