“Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God’s fingers?” Arthur Miller, The Crucible
The biggest problem with hate crime accusations is that they are completely subjective. Whenever anyone claims that a hate crime has been committed, all that means is that they perceive that a hate crime has been committed. There’s no objective standard, no uniform physical sign that constitutes an undeniable smoking gun.
How could something so nebulous NOT end up getting abused for political gain?
Consider the current furor over the Rutgers student who has just been convicted of a hate crime even though there’s no actual evidence that he “hated” the victim, personally or publicly. Continue reading
Yes, the death of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi is tragic, and yes, the students who posted the video of him kissing another man should be charged with invasion of privacy, because that’s a law they clearly broke. However, I hope that those who are advocating for a harsher treatment of the offenders will think ahead to the larger damage such a course might lead to.
The zealous prosecution of those who “out” gays or who bully them might actually lead to more gay suicides. Think about it: young people are already sensitive and prone to dramatic overreaction. If a young person happens to be gay, you can add extra loneliness and isolation to that mix.
Now our society seems bent on punishing those who torment them to the fullest extent possible. Such compassion is fine, but what I’m saying is that it might be counterproductive. If this keeps up, these tortured young people will get the clear message that if they just kill themselves, the bullies who hurt them will suffer incredibly for the rest of their lives. It’s the ultimate revenge.
If you don’t think there are plenty of young people who would seriously be attracted to such an outrageous idea, then you don’t know enough young people.
Actually, some commentators have been predicting this for a long time, and one could make the case that this year’s rash of gay suicides nationwide might be a result of these very growing efforts meant to help them.