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Hate Crime : Tyler Clementi

September 30th, 2010

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Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei are guilty of a hate crime, right?  Here’s how the argument stacks up:

Tyler Clementi victim of Asian vs Caucasian or straight vs.  gay hate crime
(Click image to enlarge)

There’s a racial component: Asians versus Caucasians.   Yeah but, white people aren’t the contingent that hate crime legislation was meant to protect.   That’s an unspoken truism, but a truism nonetheless: White people commit hate crime, they don’t suffer from it.

Okay then, there’s the sexual-orientation facet.   This one’s harder for the perpetrators to dodge: they openly and publicly mocked Tyler’s homosexuality.   It should be cut n’ dried.   You’re sensing a “yeahbut”?

Yeah, but they have the racial trump card.   And we’ve yet to find many in public office, particularly among prosecutorial types, who won’t fold their hand when that card is played.   And rest assured that the attorneys for Ravi and Wei will, in some fashion, play it.

You’ll hear countless arguments about this case today.   Nothing will be resolved, but the fact will remain that a kid of a different race and sexuality than his tormentors is dead.   It’s too late to do a damn thing about Tyler Clementi.

The question is: What will be done about Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei?  I fear the answer is “little or nothing”.

I hope I’m wrong…

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Tags: Crime & Punishment · Sex

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike // Sep 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    “Hate crime” is a useless label. It adds nothing to criminal or civil law, and is just another way to try to separate citizens into classes, the opposite of what’s needed. If a crime warrants a particular punishment, the punishment shouldn’t be different simply because somebody has manage to add the word “hate” to it. What difference does it make if one person kills another because the victim is gay (black, Muslim…) Murder is murder, and if it warrants life in prison because the victim was gay, it also warrants life in prison if the victim was heterosexual.
    The two who made and posted the recordings are guilty of criminal and civil crimes, and should easily be convicted of both. Give them severe penalties, without public empathy for their age, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, or musical preference (equally as arbitrary as the others).

  • 2 admin // Sep 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Agreed.

    Worse than bad law though, is the selective application OF it.

    I thought we’d settled that back in the Jim Crow era…

    -jjg

  • 3 Redwood Rhiadra // Sep 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Mike,

    You are saying that motives are not important when determining the appropriate punishment for a crime. You even use the phrase “Murder is murder.”

    But the case of murder itself is one in which motive is *critical* to determining punishment! The punishment for first degree murder is different from second degree murder is different from manslaughter – because of motive. There are many other instances in criminal law where motive (and other insubstantial factors) helps determine the amount of punishment.

    Now in this case, I don’t think Ravi and Wei will be charged with murder – there was no intent to kill (harrass, demean, intimidate, yes – but not kill). Nor will they be charged with manslaughter – the law unfortunately does not consider driving someone to suicide to be a crime. But a *civil* case of wrongful death could possibly be made.

    There are still crimes they can and probably will be charged with – taking and transmitting videos of someone having sex, without their consent, is a crime in New Jersey. But it may not be possible to add a hate crimes enhancement to those charges, depending on how the law is written. And of course many state hate crimes laws don’t include sexual orientation at all.

  • 4 Laura Quebbemann // Sep 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Sad and tragic. My condolences to Tyler’s family and friends. Laura Quebbemann

  • 5 Scott Marden // Sep 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    It’s a hate crime, just like any other crime against one’s race, religion or sexual orientation. Basically the webcam was used to make his sexual orientation known to anyone that didn’t know it. When he found out on his own just made him depressed and cause he to make the tragic decision compared to recent hate crimes against gays. A hate crime charge should be added to the invasion of privacy charge. Dharun should be getting prepare to be Bubba’s or whoever’s cellmate in prison.

  • 6 Edward Miessner // Oct 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Scott,

    I’ve read up and viewed a documentary on YouTube about prison rape and the prison code. It’s not a given that Dharun will be somebody’s ***** in prison. In all likelihood his cellmate will be his *****, guaranteeing that when he gets out, he’ll be even more of a predator. All the more to ensure that he’ll be sent away for a long, long time. And demolish the societal attitude of heterosexual supremacy in this country. Without that societal attitude, Tyler probably would have had the courage to confront Dharun over this unspeakably vile hate crime.

  • 7 Joey934 // Oct 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    A Call For Hate Crime Charges

  • 8 admin // Oct 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Very cool. Will share on Facebook.

    Thanks for reading…

    -jjg

  • 9 Non-Muslim Attacked w/ Feces | Political Satire @ Gravelle's Daily Scoff // Oct 13, 2010 at 9:58 am

    [...] the reason is obvious. As we’ve seen most recently, when two straight Asians drove young Tyler Clementi to his death because he was a homosexual, there is a reprehensible caveat to our hate crime legislation: [...]

  • 10 Suriya // Mar 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Hey biache, shut the f’ up all rite, at least they went to college, something you cant do.

  • 11 Gravelle // Mar 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    It’s “beyotch”, “alright”, and “can’t”. YOUR college owes you a refund.

    Thanks for reading…

    -jjg

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