To prove the point, one need only look to the most famous supposed hate-crimes victim of all, Matthew Shepard. The two meth-strung thugs who killed Mr. Shepard are currently serving life sentences for their crimes in the complete absence of any hate-crimes laws. Yet in a bizarre twist, S. 909 is nonetheless cited as the "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act." Can supporters not see the irony?
S. 909 and existing hate-crimes laws create a two-tiered justice system with first-class victims and second-class victims. Second-class victims - such as the elderly, veterans, the homeless or children - are explicitly denied the same resources, attention and justice given to those who are arbitrarily deemed to be first-class victims. This is as un-American as it is unfair.
Rather than continuing down the wrong path and creating new hate-crimes laws that unfairly favor whichever boutique special-interest group screams the loudest, we should move toward inclusion and equality for all Americans. We should look to the future instead of the past. We should both reject S. 909 and repeal all outdated and discriminatory hate-crimes laws.
Both sides of the S. 909 debate can come together. Nothing is impossible. This is the perfect compromise. Hate-crimes laws are divisive and unnecessary. The war over S. 909 is tearing people of good will apart rather than bringing us together. Instead, let's increase enforcement of existing criminal laws and enhance penalties for all violent criminals across the board, regardless of who the victim might be.
As S. 909 supporters might agree, now is the time to promote inclusion, not exclusion - to embrace diversity, not discrimination.
The ball's in their court.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).
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