googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: It's Now A Crime to Tease Someone

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Now A Crime to Tease Someone

I was a little surprised to hear the verdict in the “webcam spying” case. Actually, I wasn't surprised; it's more like concerned. According to, Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was found guilty of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation Friday in a webcam spying case that focused national attention on the harassment of gay teenagers.” [bold added]  It's the “bias intimidation” part that really scares me.

From what I understand about the case, the 20-year-old defendant had witnessed, via his webcam, his gay roommate kissing another man. He tweeted about it and jokingly said he would invite others to view the next encounter. In spite of some early rumors surrounding the case, no videos of the act were made and certainly nothing was posted on YouTube. The gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide, allegedly out of humiliation over the incident.

From the article, a gay-activist attorney said of the verdict, “The verdict today demonstrates that the jurors understood that bias crimes do not require physical weapons like a knife in one's hands.” Really? I don't think the jurors understood very much at all. The article cites one law professor as saying, “The jury appeared to find that Ravi's intentions were not out of hatred or bias but the jurors believed Tyler Clementi perceived them as such.”

Let's set aside the “invasion of privacy” charge for a moment. What exactly is bias intimidation? From this verdict, it doesn't need to be a threat or even need to be intended to intimidate. It simply has to be perceived as intimidating. Remember, we're not talking about the KKK burning a cross in the front yard of a black family. In a case like that, there is overt intimidation and the possibility of violence is very real. In this case, no one threatened the gay student. They merely teased him. More precisely, they didn't even tease him – some people joked about him online. There was never any threat of violence. The “victim” wasn't scared; he was humiliated.

Is this really the precedent we want to set? If you make a joke about someone – never intending to harm him – you could still go to jail? Are gay people so thin skinned that we need to arrest people who are perceived as “insensitive”?

Let's apply this same standard to another demographic. Should we arrest people who make jokes about blacks? Some liberals would say yes so that doesn't work. Let me think... what other group might we use? What about... oh, I don't know... let's say, Christians. If someone makes insensitive remarks about Christians, is it a hate crime?

Let's suppose for a moment, that some atheist blogger wrote a scathing piece about Ken Ham and said hateful things like, Millions of people, including some of the most knowledgeable biologists in the world, think just about every day that you are an airhead, an ass, a birdbrain, a blockhead, a bonehead, a boob, a bozo, a charlatan, a cheat, a chowderhead, a chump, a clod, a con artist, a crackpot, a crank, a crazy, a cretin, a dimwit, a dingbat, a dingleberry, a dipstick, a ditz, a dolt, a doofus, a dork, a dum-dum, a dumb-ass, a dumbo, a dummy, a dunce, a dunderhead, a fake, a fathead, a fraud, a fruitcake, a gonif, a halfwit, an idiot, an ignoramus, an imbecile, a jackass, a jerk, a jughead, a knucklehead, a kook, a lamebrain, a loon, a loony, a lummox, a meatball, a meathead, a moron, a mountebank, a nincompoop, a ninny, a nitwit, a numbnuts, a numbskull, a nut, a nutcase, a peabrain, a pinhead, a racketeer, a sap, a scam artist, a screwball, a sham, a simpleton, a snake oil salesman, a thickhead, a turkey, a twerp, a twit, a wacko, a woodenhead, and much, much worse.”

Oh, wait a minute, PZ Myers did write that about Ken Ham on his blog. So, is this “bias intimidation”? Isn't Ken Ham being ridiculed because of his religious beliefs? Myers may not be intending to intimidate Ham but, according to this new standard, there need not be any threat of violence. Mr. Ham only needs to feel humiliated. If Mr. Ham, in a fit of depression and humiliation, should jump off the Brent Spence bridge, PZ Myers would probably cheer. No liberal would think for a minute that Myers should face 10 years in jail for his blatant assault on Ham's religious beliefs.

Isn't a person's religious views protected from hate speech or is protection only reserved for a person's sexual orientation? For the record, though, I believe the whole notion of “hate speech” or “hate crimes” is misguided. We already have laws protecting people against violence. What need is there to protect them against ridicule? Sticks and stones, as they say. If I cried “hate speech” every time someone tried to shame me for my religious beliefs, half the cyber-world would be under arrest.

Once again there is a glaring, double-standard in the liberals' application of “rights.” They're not interested in equal treatment of everyone. Tease a gay, go to jail. Ridicule a Christian day after day for years, win the adoration of millions of liberals everywhere. Have I mentioned before that liberals are hypocrites?

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