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Monday, May 18, 2020

Hate Crime Hysteria in Georgia

Since the shutdown apologists seem to be losing their argument—because the vast majority of us are in little to no more danger from the Wuhan virus than we are from other such illnesses, because the number of Wuhan virus infections is a near-useless metric, because “social-distancing” is pseudo-science quackery, because more and more of us are getting the proper context on Wuhan virus numbers, and because the hand-shake police really are out there—democrats are now resorting to their favorite political fallback: “Racism!”

No doubt you’ve probably heard of the death of Ahmaud Arbery that took place recently in a small South Georgia town near Brunswick. Mr. Arbery, a black man, was shot and killed after suspicious behavior in a neighborhood and a 911 call led two armed citizens—Gregory and Travis McMichael, both white—to give chase. According to multiple reports and video evidence, at the time of the shooting, Arbery was not armed and was in possession of no stolen property.

After a brief investigation, the McMichaels were initially not charged. Several weeks after the shooting, video of the event went viral and charges of vigilante murder, an unjust cover up, and racism ensued. The McMichaels have since been arrested. I’m not going to argue here the guilt or innocence of anyone involved in this ugly incident. I’m praying and hoping for truth and justice for all those involved.

However, as is often the case when someone white (or “white Hispanic”) kills someone of color, many others are not content with mere justice. Some folks want to make political hay out of such events. And, as often happens when we go down this foolish road, truth and justice get set aside for ugly politics.

A few days after the McMichaels were arrested, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms—whose jurisdiction lies about 300 miles north of the Arbery, McMichael incident—called the shooting “a lynching” and laid blame at the feet of President Trump. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Bottoms said, “With the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways, I think that many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way that we otherwise would not see in 2020.” Left-wing pundits galore have been using similar ignorant, inflammatory, and deceptive rhetoric.

In addition to such foolishness, Arbery’s death has led to rampant calls for hate crime legislation in Georgia. Of course, this is unsurprising from the left, but many on the right in Georgia have signaled that they are at least open to the possibility of such legislation, and some have even directly called for it.

The most notable individual in the latter group is no less than Georgia’s Speaker of the House, republican David Ralston. Just days ago, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), Ralston said that once Georgia’s legislative session resumes in June, he would “challenge and implore” the Georgia Senate to pass the hate crimes bill already adopted by his chamber, House Bill 426, “with no delay and no amendments.” Ralston added,
The time for being silent ended last week. It’s time to do what’s right. It’s going to take some leadership and some courage, but I think it’s time to act…It’s a shame that it took a video of this to engage many leaders, but our responsibility is threefold: to demonstrate that Georgia and Glynn County will not be tarnished by this act of evil. It’s time that we bring our law into the 21st century and make it more just, and it’s time to do what’s right.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has indicated that he’s open to signing a hate crime law. Georgia is one of four U.S. states that don’t have hate crime legislation, and for good reason. Hate crime laws are unnecessary, and they do nothing to deter hate.

According to FBI data, in 2018, there were only 7,120 hate crime incidents involving 8,496 offenses in all of the U.S. More than half of the offenses (52.2%) involved property damage or “intimidation.” About two-thirds of the offenses (5,566) were crimes against persons. Of these, 80% were crimes of intimidation or simple assault. In 2018, there were 24 murders that were classified as a hate crime.

One murder is too many, but if you take just three U.S. cities—say Chicago, Baltimore, and St. Louis—there’s around 24 murders nearly every week of the year. Most of these murder victims are black Americans. Shockingly, the CDC reveals that for U.S. black males, from birth to the age of 44, the leading cause of death is homicide. As has been often reported (but also often ignored), the vast majority (over 90%) of these homicides are the result of black-on-black violence.

Using the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of criminal victimization (2018), Manhattan Institute researcher Heather MacDonald reveals: “There were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations…between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent.”

MacDonald adds that, “Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes – by 50 percent – according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24 percent. This is particularly true for anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate crimes.” In other words, in spite of the narrative so often perpetuated by hate crime apologists, America does not have a problem with white on black hate crime.

Of course, in spite of its lack of hate crime legislation, this is true for the state of Georgia as well. North Carolina and Michigan both have a total population that’s almost exactly equal to Georgia’s—about 10 million. In addition, both North Carolina and Michigan have hate crime laws. According to the FBI, in 2018, North Carolina had 142 hate crime incidents. Michigan had 431. Georgia had 35. And despite having half the number of black Americans as does Georgia, Michigan had 10 times more incidents of racially-based hate crimes than Georgia. North Carolina has two-thirds the number of black Americans as does Georgia yet had three times the number of racially-based hate crimes.

What’s more, hate crime laws are predicated upon someone’s idea of what is “hate.” As they have done with most everything else they have had their hands in, the modern left has even perverted hate. Sadly, in today’s America, a “hate crime” is often nothing more than the “heinous” act of disagreeing with a leftist.

This is especially true when it comes to anything or anyone that runs afoul of the evil LGBT agenda. For example, many on the left today consider it an act of “hate” to declare that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman, to note that biology determines sex, or to refer to acts of homosexuality as sin. More than half of democrats want to criminalize such “hate speech.” Last year, The Washington Post ran an editorial (from the former editor of Time magazine!) that declared “Why America needs a hate speech law.”

America doesn’t need a “hate speech” law. America doesn’t need hate crime laws, and neither does Georgia. Most violent crime is motivated by some sort-of “hate.” The effort to get hate crime legislation passed in Georgia is nothing more than the Georgia left trying to elevate themselves politically. E.g. “Because we support ‘hate’ crime legislation, we ‘hate’ crime like this more than those who don’t support ‘hate’ crime legislation, thus vote for us!” Shame on Georgia conservatives for not realizing such.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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