In the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, more people are noticing the ways the media takes its marching orders from political activists, abetted by criminologists who use their position to promote political causes through a thin veneer of “academic” observation. This activism-disguised-as-expertise has played a central role in enforcing the orthodoxy of hate crimes activism for more than a decade.
So when ordinary people ask, “why is this crime not a hate crime?” the media answers by turning to activist-criminologists like Jack Levin and James Allen Fox, who spool out definitions that are utterly irrational on their face but go utterly unchallenged: it is an intricate dance designed to shut down discussion, not actually explain anything.
For they cannot explain, speaking honestly, why writing an anti-female screed, then going out and gunning down a bunch of women in a gym is not a hate crime, but merely the selective targeting of random women motivated by hatred of women, which would be a bias crime if the killer selected blacks, or gays, or Muslims, but is not hate because he selected women.
In that case, the hate crime “experts” took the long road around the words, “hate crime,” and talked about the killer’s feelings of alienation, instead of his expressions of hatred.
The Fort Hood case is troublesome because hate crime activists simultaneously wish to depict the murderer as a victim of hate crime, but not perpetrator of it. Could these troubles be overcome without the media’s complicity? Nobody will know, for the media has stuck to the activists’ script, reporting on non-existent “backlash” hate crimes against Muslims as if they were real events while studiously playing down the killer’s own expressions of hate. But this time, for many watching, the veneer is beginning to crack.
A few weeks ago, the movement had a different problem on their hands: they needed the media to deflect attention from the fact that the gang who raped a young women to the cheers of photo-snapping, cheering onlookers actually looked one heck of a lot like . . . a lynch mob. Journalists did this the usual way: by chattering about other things that became the “meme” of the story. Avoiding the subject of hate crimes was particularly important in that case because the crime was a rare instance of the type of mass, bystander-witnessed violence activists talked about when they passed hate crimes laws a decade ago — far more so than Matthew Shepard’s killing.
Tragic as it was, Shepard’s murder involved partying and a bar pick-up, exactly like many crimes committed against women that nobody calls hate, just something done to a woman.
If not for the media’s obedience, it also might have been a bit discomfiting for President Obama to sign the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crimes Act right on the heels of this victim throwing a giant wrench in the works by getting attacked by a hate mob while just being a female and not one of the groups the President and Attorney General Eric Holder want to highlight.
Obama couldn’t acknowledge out loud that the law he just signed is not really intended to apply to hatred directed at certain types of people (such as women) who get targeted every day because of “what” they are. To admit the truth would look bad and raise uncomfortable questions. But he also couldn’t call the gang-rape-with-onlookers a hate crime because the activists who dictate which crimes will count as hate did not want this type of crime against women counted. Silence was Obama’s only cover. And so, silence is what he chose. Luckily, no one questioned him.
For, imagine what Obama would have said as he signed the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act, had a white mob attacked a black man five days earlier, instead of just attacking a female. Imagine if a white gang had just raped a black girl, or if a gang of straight men (preferably white) had sexually abused a transvestite.
Then Obama and Holder would have stood side by side in the East Room and denounced the crime as a blight on America’s soul. But this victim wasn’t the right type of victim, and the offenders weren’t the right type of offenders, even though crime itself was a textbook “hate crime” according to the textbook Eric Holder wrote back in the Clinton years.
Let us be very clear about what Obama did: he denied the actions of a hate-filled mob as he signed a law that purportedly opposes the actions of hate-filled mobs.
Nobody should ever forget that.
Consider all the ways the California gang rape was clearly a “hate crime”: a crowd gathered to cheer on the girl’s attack; the victim’s genitals were targeted; hate speech was used; photographs were taken (a classic sign of mob violence is taking souvenir pictures), and fear spread among other females in the vicinity (one told the media she was transferring schools immediately).
It takes a real expert to deny that this attack was, in fact, hate.
Luckily, reporters had experts handy, particularly Jack Levin. Levin is the academic who recently walked the quivering press through the “hey, isn’t blogging about hating women and then going to a health club and shooting a bunch of women a hate crime?” danger zone. He’s the go-to guy for tamping down such inconvenient questions, the academic reporters turn to when they get that phone call reminding them “not to call this one a hate crime on the news, because, you know, it was just a woman. Talk a bunch of nonsense about something else, would you?”
Levin and the others swung into action, talked about “snitching” and “group dynamics” and Kitty Genovese; they carefully talked about anything except whether the crime should be prosecuted as a hate crime, though others were certainly asking that question.
Levin discussed “snitching culture” but not hate. Drew Carberry took an empathetic little stroll in the mob’s shoes:
“If you are in a crowd and you look and see that everyone is doing nothing, then doing nothing becomes the norm.” explains Drew Carberry, a director at the National Council on Crime Prevention.
To say the least, this is not the way spokespeople from the National Council on Crime Prevention talk when they’re talking about hate crimes. Here is how they talk about crimes that are deemed to be hate:
[H]ate crimes are acts of terrorism. So let’s think about what we need to do in order to drive these latest statistics back down. After all, we are at war with terror abroad. Let’s not forget the war at home.
See, the behavior of the men in the gang-rape was a “cultural norm.” Hate crimes, on the other hand, are acts of “war” that must be fought with weapons, not “understanding.”
Does anybody actually believe that CNN would be consulting psychologists to talk about the mob’s feelings if the perpetrators were white males and the victim was a minority or a homosexual? Of course not. The mere thought is laughable.
As new victim-groups (the homeless, illegal immigrants) clamor to be included in hate crime laws, and established victim-groups accuse others of failing to prioritize their victimization, and the problem of counting or not counting women festers, the hate crimes movement increasingly relies on the media to keep quiet about the enforcement of these laws when the wrong type of victim gets targeted. Recent random attacks on women, in particular, have been met with a sort of hysterical denial from hate crime activists and reporters, so hysterical that no less a liberal than Bob Herbert grumbled about it in the pages of the New York Times. Here is Herbert commenting on the failure of the media (which had turned to Levin for deflection) to talk about hate in recent cases of gunmen targeting females:
[T]here would have been thunderous outrage if someone had separated potential victims by race or religion and then shot, say, only the blacks, or only the whites, or only the Jews. But if you shoot only the girls or only the women — not so much of an uproar.
Of course, the activists are absolutely correct when they say that actually counting gender-based violence directed at women would “overwhelm” hate crime statistics. So would enforcing hate crime laws whenever minority offenders express anti-white bias while committing crimes. So would counting anti-female and anti-white slurs as “verbal intimidation hate incidents,” as other slurs are frequently reported and counted.
In other words, enforcing these laws with an even hand would spell the end of their political usefulness.
But it never comes to that, thanks to the media and their criminologists. The Justice Department readily acknowledges the invaluable role the media plays, as this extraordinary quote from a Justice Department bulletin explains:
The influence of print and broadcast media is critical in shaping public attitudes about the hate crime, its perpetrators, and the law enforcement response.
The media is critical in shaping public attitudes. Yes, they actually put that in writing.
Eventually, however, Americans are going to get tired of being lectured that most murders are not hate-based but that a tiny handful are hate-based and thus far more significant. They are going to get sick of being told they simply must believe, as Eric Holder lectured Congress, that the crimes he calls hate crimes are “different from” and “spread more fear than” and “are worse than” other crimes.
None of this actually makes any sense, which is why Holder and others keep repeating these words instead of making real arguments.
I suspect the entire hate crimes industry is going to collapse some day under the weight of legal irrationality and their biases, just as the hate-speech courts in Canada lost their credibility and collapsed after a few brave journalists stood up to the mind-bogglingly subjective application of those laws (In America, hate crime activists focus on street crimes because speech is protected).
And when this happens, I predict that the Fort Hood shootings, and Barack Obama’s silence on the California sex lynching (there is no better term for it) as he signed the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act — will be remembered as a turning point.