Friday, March 06, 2009

Hoax video part of salvia testimony; Riddle on hate crimes and hair color

I missed the hearing myself, but Vince at Capitol Annex watched the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee meeting on Wednesday and offered a couple of provocative reports:
In the first item, Vince makes an excellent catch by identifying that one of the YouTube videos Anderson showed the committee on salvia, "was from a humor site and not actually something from real life." Whoops!

That's a serious blow to the credibility of Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson's case against salvia, particularly since that the Houston Chronicle said (not knowing it was a hoax) that the humor video was the most "compelling" evidence shown to the committee. (See prior Grits coverage of the bill.)

I'm much less concerned than Vince, though, with Rep. Riddle's comments about hair color and the hate crimes act, finding little reason personally to take offense. But then, I disliked that legislation when it was passed in 2001 and more or less agree with Riddle that "Crime is crime, horrific," and that murders aren't more or less harmful because of motive.

If I am murdered, I am no less dead whatever your reasons for killing me. So even if Riddle's analogy was inartful, IMO she's expressing a valid point about the hate crimes law itself.

That said, Rep. Marc Veasey's bill only asks for a study of the effectiveness of the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, which, given that it's been in place nearly a decade, is perhaps a good idea. Like it or not, the law already exists. Why not study it to see how its being implemented, what could be done to improve the law if there are problems, and how it's functioning out in the world?

12 comments:

TxBluesMan said...

All crime is hate crime, we don't need a separate category.

Good call...

doran williams said...

Oh boy! What fun the Texas Lege can be. What would we do for fun without Reps from Waco?

Reminds me of the time a Legislator duped the House into passing a Resolution commending the Son of Sam Serial Killer for his efforts at population control.

Anonymous said...

When BS cut her blonde hair off was that a hate crime? I knew the little twit was really a hater! If the Texas Legislature makes Salvia a crime I bet it will be a felony. The Texas Legislature must be doing extensive research on Salvia by smoking the stuff themselves as evidenced by the legislation they have passed during the past few years. The felony conduct with an oyster not included!

I do hope they have a clear mind when it comes to passing the Sovereignty Resolution. We do need to tell the Federal Government to stop violating the 9th and 10th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution with their unfunded mandates to the State of Texas. A number of states have already passed like resolutions and hope Texas joins them.

Texas Lawyer said...

doran williams-

please provide a citation for the Son of Sam anecdote, as I could not find the story on google.

TxBluesMan said...

I think that Doran is actually thinking of the 1971 resolution authored by Rep Tom Moore, Jr (D-Waco) honoring Albert de Salvo (the Boston Strangler) for "his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control." It was passed unanimously on April 1st (April Fool's Day). It was withdrawn by Moore after it passed.

doran williams said...

Damn! I hate to be caught wrong by Tx, but by Gosh, he is right this time. It was the Boston Strangler.

Hard to tell all the serial killers apart without a score-card.

thanks, tx.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, that would be a good step. But I would go further and say that the 9th and 10th Amendments have been violated in the worst way on many issues, and it really goes back to the New Deal.

TxBluesMan said...

No prob, Doran.

I figure that since you always make sure and correct my (few) mistakes, I would return the flavor...

'Sides, like you said (sort of) there are way too many to keep track of, and those silly legislators are just as bad...

Anonymous said...

re: hate crimes enhancement, any other Texas penalty enhancements you all are against ?

Anonymous said...

The Boston Strangler episode is proof that legislators often, it seems, really don't have a clue and don't try to get one.

Aren't they required, on some level, in some obscure statute, or something, to at least know what they're doing?

It's obscene really... unless they were all in on the "Joke". And I have an awful feeling they weren't.

Anonymous said...

The manner in which hate crimes are different from other violent crimes is that the acts we consider "hate crimes" send a message to the entire group that a victim belonged to. If a black man is beaten and killed by white people for having a relationship with a white woman, the perpetrators were not only engaged in a violent act, but sending a message to the community at large that people like the victim should be scared and make their own behavior compliant with what the perpetrators deem acceptable.

Hate crimes are a form of terrorism, in my opinion. They are an expression of a political or philosophical idea through violent means intended to keep the rest of society in line with the perpetrators' agenda.

The problem with labeling hate crimes is that you're talking about punishing a person for their idea, above and beyond the actual crime. But we have laws that prevent discrimination based on age, gender, disability, and race because people in power have historically made unfair decisions and hurt minority groups through discriminatory practices. Discrimination hurts not only individuals discriminated against, but all of us, especially people of the same minority group who learn that they will not get a fair chance at success based on their own merits.

Should certain minority groups continue to fear violent crimes based on their minority status, knowing that angering a bigoted, violent person might get them beaten or killed simply because that violent person wants to control society through violent expression? Again, those acts should be likened more to terrorism than other forms of violence. I don't know if this means the person should get a harsher sentence, but I don't think people should simply classify all crimes as "hate crimes." That's like saying a Southern lynching of a black man is comparable to a deadly stabbing resulting from a drunken brawl. They are obviously not the same.

Old Salty said...

Well said, 10:49. I do agree with Scott, though, on the point that there is no harm in studying the effectiveness of the hate crime enhancements.