The Book of Ron Paul
1998 Ron Paul Chapter 119

Rights Of The Individual

14 October 1998

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Wednesday, October 14, 1998

1998 Ron Paul 119:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I commend to my colleagues in Congress as well as citizens everywhere an article authored by Michael Kelly, National Journal editor. Mr. Kelly aptly describes how the notion of hate crimes undermines a pillar of a free and just society; that is, equal treatment under the law irrespective of which particular group or groups with whom an individual associates. Ours is a republic based upon the rights of the individual.

1998 Ron Paul 119:2
(By Michael Kelly)
As one who wholeheartedly supports capital punishment, I have what seems to me a cleareyed vision of what justice demands in the murder of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old Wyoming college student who was, one night last week, robbed, pistol-whipped, tied to a fence and left to die. Bring in the monsters who did this, try ’em, verdict ’em and string ’em up, preferably before an applauding crowd of thousands. And justice does appear on the way to being served. Two young men — Russell A. Henderson and Aaron J. McKinney — have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder; their girlfriends have been charged as accessories. There does not seem to be a lot of doubt that Henderson and McKinney did commit the acts that caused Shepard’s death, nor does it seem at all likely that they will escape punishment.

1998 Ron Paul 119:3
But this, it is said, is not enough. Because Shepard was gay, and because his killers appear to have been motivated in part by an anti-gay animus (though police say robbery was the primary motive), justice is said to demand more. Specifically, it demands more bad law.

1998 Ron Paul 119:4
“Hate-crime” laws mandate increased penalties for defendants found guilty of committing crimes inspired by certain categories of prejudice. In 21 states and the District of Columbia, the categories are: race, religion, color, national origin and sexual orientation.

1998 Ron Paul 119:5
Nineteen additional states have hate-crime laws that do not cover sexual orientation. Ten states, including Wyoming, have not passed categorical hate-crime laws. There is also a federal law, which covers race, religion, color and national origin but not sex or sexual orientation.

1998 Ron Paul 119:6
For Shepard’s sake, the cry arises, Wyoming must pass a hate-crime law, and Congress must pass a new, more sweeping, Federal Hate Crimes Protection Act, which would add to the roster of crimes made federal offenses those inspired by bigotry based on sex, disability and sexual orientation. “There is something we can do about this.

1998 Ron Paul 119:7
Congress needs to pass our tough hate crimes legislation,” President Clinton declared Monday, the day Shepard died of his injuries.

1998 Ron Paul 119:8
At least he is consistent. No president has ever been more willing to assault liberty in the pursuit of political happiness than has this one. Clinton is always willing to embrace any new erosion of rights, as long as there is a group of voters or political contributors out there who wish it so. This is one area in which Clinton has been thoroughly bipartisan. In his five years in office, he has joined Republicans in Congress on quite a spree of liberty-bashing. He has signed laws that have stripped habeas corpus to its bones, vastly increased the number of crimes deemed federal offenses, established mindless mandatory sentencing and targeted certain classes of defendants — terrorists, drug pushers — for the special evisceration of rights.

1998 Ron Paul 119:9
And playing to the other side of the political spectrum, Clinton has consistently and strongly supported the expansion of harassment and discrimination law, an expansion that has in recent years increasingly worked to criminalize behavior that government once regarded as private. Well, at least he supported such law until the case of Jones v. Clinton arose.

1998 Ron Paul 119:10
Of all the violence that has been done in this great expansion of state authority over, and criminalization of, the private behavior and thoughts of citizens, none is more serious than that perpetuated by the hate-crime laws. Here, we are truly in the realm of thought crimes. Hate-crime laws require the state to treat one physical assault differently from the way it would treat another — solely because the state has decided that one motive for assaulting a person is more heinous than another.

1998 Ron Paul 119:11
What Henderson and McKinney allegedly did was a terrible, evil thing. But would it have been less terrible if Shepard had not been gay? If Henderson and McKinney beat Shepard to death because they hated him personally, not as a member of a group, should the law treat them more lightly? Yes, say hate-crime laws.

1998 Ron Paul 119:12
In 1996 the FBI recorded 1,281 “crimes against persons” for reasons of sexual-orientation bias. Two of these were murders and 222 were aggravated assaults. Four hundred and seventy-two of what the government termed hate crimes were not assaults but “acts of intimidation.” These latter would not be crimes except for the determination that expressions of certain prejudices and hatreds were in themselves criminal offenses.

1998 Ron Paul 119:13
There is a long history of police and prosecutors slighting assaults against gays and lesbians. Justice demands that the cops and the courts treat the perpetrators of assaults against citizens who happen to be homosexual as harshly as they do the perpetrators of assaults against anyone else. But not more so.


1998 Ron Paul 119:1
Mr. Speaker, I commend to my colleagues. Perhaps Ron Paul meant Mr. Speaker, I recommend to my colleagues. -END-

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