Is speech itself the crime?
Laws that provide harsher punishment for hate crimes sound perfectly reasonable--until you discover that, once in place, the definition of a "hate crime" will be surreptitiously expanded through court precedents to include words and ideas ... so that one day speech itself is the crime!
That's exactly what's happened all over Canada and Europe. Noble-sounding hate laws like the one before Congress inexorably led to nightmarish "hate speech tribunals" where any member of a victim group who hates what you say in public can drag you into court for saying it--and you can't use the truth as a defense. All the plaintiff has to prove essentially is that his feelings have been hurt. For example:
* For publicly saying what the German government hates to hear, men in their 80s have been tossed into cold jail cells, stripped of their doctorates and their pensions.
* For turning down a printing job for a gay/ lesbian group, a Canadian printer was fined $5,000 on "hate" charges and spent $175,000 defending himself. He was bankrupted.
* Canada's most popular talk-radio station, CHOI FM, was shut down in 2004 because a talk-show host had the custom of satirizing African dictators.
* In the Netherlands, 657 websites have been shut down; in Germany, more than 700.
And it's already happened here. At a "gay pride" parade in Philadelphia in October 2004, 11 Christians, peaceably assembled, were jailed overnight and charged with "criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways." Five of them, including a 17-year-old girl, were bound over and charged with five felonies and three misdemeanors and were facing 47-year prison sentences. A judge dismissed all the charges in February 2005.
Sadly, no number of hate laws can prevent a tiny deranged fragment of the population from committing despicable acts against those they hate. But hate laws can prevent you from opening your mouth--that they can do quite efficiently, that's what their real purpose is, that's why they're trying to sneak the current hate law through Congress without debate.
Contact your congressman toll-free at 877-851-6437 and ask him or her to oppose the "Local Law Enforcement" hate bill that's guaranteed to lead to the abridgment of First Amendment free speech and to a category of legal proceedings where the truth is no defense.
New York, New York
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|Title Annotation:||LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Apr 30, 2007|
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