Monday, July 31, 2006

Debasing Hate Crimes

In a display of banal and extreme jerkiness, Mel Gibson gets drunk, climbs behind the wheel and, when caught, not only makes a general ass of himself but spews anti-semitic sentiments as well.

This behavior is what we want to investigate as a hate crime? A hate crime?

Have we taken leave of our senses? Proponents of the hate crime category actually want to dumb down the definition in this manner? Pray tell, if what Gibson did can be classified as a hate crime, what are we going to call it the next time a group of morally-impaired, worthless thugs decide to kill a gay teen simply because he's gay, for example? Genocide? And then what do we call instances of genocide? Words fail.

In any case, I thought the point of making the distinction of "hate crime" as worse than other crimes is based on the notion of "hate" as the motivation behind a criminal act or acts. So ... we're saying that Mel decided to drive drunk and speed because he's anti-semitic? Did I miss the part where he said, "I had to get likkered up so's I could go run me down some Joos?" Or that he was actually trying to do so when stopped? Or that he was resisting arrest--if indeed what he did after being stopped falls within the definition of that transgression to the point of rising to the level of a crime itself--due to anti-semitism? If the latter is true, then we're redefining resisting arrest as potentially a hate crime?

I mean, WTF?

Perhaps the key lies in the way in which this sentence is worded:
JEWISH groups have demanded Mel Gibson be investigated for hate crimes after the Hollywood star allegedly made anti-Semitic comments to US police officers when he was stopped on suspicion of drink-driving and speeding.

Regarding the words which I emphasized in bold, is the idea that because Gibson was caught making anti-semitic statements while drunk (the latter of which doesn't excuse the former), that provides probable cause for launching a generalized criminal investigation to determine what other hate crimes he might have committed?

Man, I'd love to see that go before a judge.

What a wonderful precedent this would be. Next up, investigations for hate crimes when some drunken fool (or even sober one) starts in with misogynist drivel--or misandrist drivel, for that matter. Or racist drivel, of any flavor (including African-American against whites). Or religious drivel. Or... .

Let's get this straight: Certain groups are willing to debase the very notion of hate crime out of hatred of Mel Gibson and what they perceive he stands for. For the satisfaction of the "gotcha."

How freakin' cynical, and even stupid, can you get?

UPDATE: While I have found generally found The Scotsman to be a decent source, it seems that its story--which is the one I happened to see early this morning and on which my post is based--is slanted in its specific bringing up the hate crime issue and, absent additional sources, misleading, at best, which, of course, means my post is misleading. Based on looking at a number of other articles on the internet this evening, this AP article, in this case printed in the Mercury News, is representative of the way in which the situation, and the statements from Abraham Foxman, the national director of the US Jewish Anti-Defamation League, has been reported by the media.

I want to sincerely thank commenter Alene for prompting me to look further, which, of course, I should have done to begin with, regardless of my previous experience with the original media source that inspired this post.