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Hate Crimes and the Absurd

Posted by on Oct 28, 2009 in Blog | 0 comments

Things must be pretty quiet in Norwich. The police there appear to be excited by the distastefully mundane.

Pauline Howe, 67, is the wife of a Baptist minister living an apparently ordinary life in Norwich. When a gay pride parade was held locally, she showed up to participate in a counter demonstration. While handing out Christian leaflets, she claims she was subjected to verbal abuse by someone who whispered something nasty in her ear.

After the demonstration, she wrote a letter to the local council, expressing her displeasure that the demonstration had been allowed to happen at all. She alleged that homosexuals are Sodomites, contributed to the downfall of every empire, and that gay sex is a major cause of sexually transmitted diseases. Describing the march as a public display of indecency that was offensive to God, she wrote “It is shameful that this small but vociferous lobby should be allowed such a display unwarranted by the minimal number of homosexuals.”

OK, so she’s not going to be your gay husband or wife’s best friend. Or your gay child’s best friend. She’s probably not interested in being your best friend either. But does that make her guilty of a hate crime?

Mrs Howe received a written response from the council to her letter, informing her that ‘The content of your letter has been assessed as potentially being hate related because of the views you expressed towards people of a certain sexual orientation.

“Your details and details of the contents of your letter have been recorded as such and passed to the police.”

Sure enough, Mrs. Howe received a visit from the police. Her crime was that her letter had caused offense. Not surprisingly, Mrs Howe found the visit to be intimidating, frightening, and unwarranted.

Stonewall, the gay rights organization in the UK, has stated that the response is disproportionate.

NEWS FLASH: Being clueless is not illegal. Especially when you’re taken down for it by public servants who cannot even bring themselves to utter the words gay, lesbian, homosexual. A certain sexual orientation indeed. What a proper closet it is.

Things are definitely less quiet in Liverpool and Trafalgar Square, where two gay men were viciously attacked two weeks apart, after enduring verbal taunts. In Trafalgar Square, a 62 year old man was beaten to death after he responded to two girls who were screaming taunts at him. The girls and a 19 year old young man have been charged with manslaughter.

The Liverpool assault started when a mob of up to 20 boys descended upon a small group of homosexual men and women leaving a bar. 22 year old James Parkes, a policeman in training, announced he was with the police and ordered them to stop. Instead, he was set upon and given several skull fractures, a fractured eye socket, and a broken cheek bone. Two teens have been detained by police.

Did someone say “hate crime”?

Hmm. An elderly woman finds the going gets a bit verbally rough at the counter demonstration and expresses her indignation to her elected representatives.  OK, STRONGLY expresses her indignation, disgust, and loathing of the gay lifestyle.  Somehow that is supposed to be a hate crime, just like the young folks who hang out in the city street with nothing better to do than start a fight so they can call in a mob to finish it.

Perhaps the Norwich council needs to consider loaning their police force to Liverpool. The police might actually get training in how to respond to a real hate crime. And the council representatives might actually have to respond to people like Mrs. Howe all by themselves, and engage in actual conversation and dialogue.

Imagine a world where it is safe to express strong politically incorrect opinions in a civil manner without a visit from the police.

Imagine a world where it is safe to be openly gay and walk the streets without fear of death.

Imagine a world where people actually have better things to do than harass each other.

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