Obama just signed the Matthew Shephard bill, which has prompted the beginning of a round of tooth-gnashing about thought crime and criminalizing intent from the usual suspects.
Relatively tame so far but I imagine we’ll get a lot more of this by tomorrow. At any rate this just really isn’t complicated or controversial or full of gray areas in any way shape or form. You either harm/kill people for their sexuality or you aren’t affected by this law, it’s that simple. (I don’t know who he’s been hanging out with but one of the commentors on the Townhall piece calls it another piece of legislation that “discriminates against average Americans.” Um, no.)
ed. It’s also revealing that these people only tend to show up when there’s a discussion about whether or not to extend currently-existing hate crime laws to new groups. If we’re going by their actions it really seems that they don’t have a problem with hate crime laws, only gay people. I mean, shouldn’t they be arguing for a total repeal if hatecrime legislation amounts to criminalizing thought? Another point is that the bill’s full name is the “Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.” I guess it’s less fashionable to be seen speaking out against protecting black folks.
On the other hand, the thing about intent is perfectly reasonable given that our legal system makes no distinction between first and second degree murder, the normal and gross negligent forms of homicide, manslaughter, so on and so forth. It’s not as though homicide (killing) and murder (intentional killing) are codified as distinct crimes or anything, so I can see where people feel comfortable saying that.