Last week, a man with a master's degree from George Mason University, a gun and 50 rounds of ammo walked into the Family Research Council. When a building manager named Leo Johnson blocked his entry, he shot Leo in the arm.
Leo Johnson wrestled the shooter to the ground, saving untold lives. The shooter then begged for mercy from the unarmed man, saying something like, "Don't shoot me. It was not about you. It was what this place stands for."
In the shooter's backpack were 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he apparently planned to drop on the bodies of the many people he wanted to kill. The shooter's parents later told police that he "has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner."
The shooter (whom I refuse to name) has been charged with assault with intent to kill and with bringing a firearm across state lines. But he has not been charged with violating D.C.'s hate crime laws.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has come under considerable just criticism for lumping in "anti-gay" groups like FRC with hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. But a more serious double standard has so far flown under the radar screen.
It's bad when a private group misuses its social capital fighting genuine civil rights abuses to label a mainstream Christian advocacy group a hate group. But it's far worse when the police fail to enforce the law equally. And that is what I believe is happening. Why has the D.C. police refused to prosecute as a potential hate crime what the FBI is investigating as an act of domestic terrorism?
The D.C. anti-bias statute is quite broad and its language clearly includes politically motivated crimes:
"'Bias-related crime' means a designated act that demonstrates an accused's prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, physical disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act." D.C. Code 22-3701.
On Aug. 16 the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release and called on the Metropolitan Police to investigate the crime as a possible hate crime:
"We are confident that the Metropolitan Police Department will fully investigate this crime. If the facts reveal that the perpetrator was motivated by unlawful bias, law enforcement authorities should consider prosecution under the D.C. Bias Crime Statute."
So why hasn't the shooter been charged with a hate crime?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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