By Scott Tibbs, October 19, 2009
Unlike the Indiana Daily Student's editorial board (October 16), I am very disappointed in Baron Hill for voting to criminalize thought by supporting the fraudulent "hate crimes" bill that was dishonestly attached to a defense spending authorization. Baron Hill's vote makes it clear that if you have beliefs that the powers that be find distasteful, you can be punished more harshly for those beliefs.
The assertion that Congress has not passed "most basic extension of rights to GLBT citizens – that is, the right to be protected from hate-motivated crime" is patently false and does a disservice to the IDS readership. Murder, rape, assault, theft and so forth are already illegal. There is no exception to laws against these crimes if the victim is homosexual. Including such an obvious falsehood damages the reputation of one of the nation's top college newspapers.
Baron Hill voted to create a special class of victims. Crimes committed against groups favored by Baron Hill and his Democratic colleagues will be punished more harshly than a crime committed for the purpose of greed or revenge, such as the horrific attack on a teenage boy who was set on fire after reporting fellow teens who stole his father's bicycle.
Why did Baron Hill vote against a fundamental principle of the American system of government as mandated by the 14th Amendment, that all people should be treated equally under the law? Either Baron Hill believes that we should not be treated equally under the law or he is trying to curry favor with his Leftist base in Bloomington that will be crucial to holding his seat in 2010.
A decade ago, George W. Bush was lambasted for not supporting hate crimes legislation in the wake of the torture-slaying of James Byrd. Little attention was paid to the fact that the perpetrators of this crime received either the death penalty or life in prison. The Byrd case is a model for how law enforcement should be conducted: those who commit murder should be put to death. It is unfortunate Baron Hill voted against equality under the law. Where is Baron?