As part of Remarks by President Trump on mass shootings in Texas and Ohio on August 5, Trump announced, “Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”
Normally it might have been expected that the mainstream media would run with Trump’s support of the death-penalty-for-hate-crimes as proof positive that the man is off his rocker. Instead, the statement garnered barely a flicker of public notice. Did anyone in authority bother to confirm that the shootings were indeed motivated by ‘hate’?
As the mainstream media consistently rush to judgment, speculation too often becomes fact before all the evidence is considered (ie Russiagate) as the MSM is relied on to provide factual and critical background information. And yet since 65% of the American public believe that the MSM is peddling fake news begs the question of why should detailed reporting on these tragic events be left to a discredited media establishment or that their information on these recent shootings be considered truthful? Why should the American public trust the MSM for what may have already been determined to be a ‘hate’ crime without providing evidence of the hate—as the Divide and Rule Game continues undeterred, sowing division and conflict among the American people.
It remains unclear exactly why either tragedy is being specifically labeled a “hate” crime instead of felony murder as if there is a larger agenda to establish ‘hate’ as a bona fide. Obviously, such barbaric mass killings are not normal behavior as the rationale for such conduct must stem from some deep emotional depravity just as the epidemic of suicides of young white males who have lost hope in American society makes no more sense.
There is an endemic crisis throughout the country and the political class are responsible. Decades after federal government elimination of grants for community mental health programs, ‘hate’ is the favorite determinant factor as the world’s most violent nation creates a generation of emotionally or mentally unstable young men, many of whom may be on mind-numbing psychiatric drugs. Since the MSM has failed to inform the American public of advanced mind control practices; perhaps the MSM itself and the young shooters are part of widespread experiment using MK Ultra or other state-of-the-art brain manipulation techniques. How would the American public ever know which might be true?
The 21-year-old El Paso shooter was immediately identified as a right-wing Trumper acting on behalf of the president’s “hate” rhetoric and that he had posted an anti-immigration racist tract, entitled “An Inconvenient Truth’—all of which turned out to be something less than the truth. Decrying mass immigration as an environmental plea for population control sounds more like something John Muir might have written rather than a hate-filled racist diatribe justifying the slaughter. Perusing the alleged politically charged manifesto that included such statements: “Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.” There is, however, a problematic psychiatrist father of uncertain character in the background as the shooter drove 650 miles from his home to El Paso before committing the crime and surrendering to authorities.
On the other hand, the Dayton shooter also defies the usual partisan identity and has been acknowledged as a 24-year-old member of the Democratic Socialist Party, a Bernie and Elizabeth Warren supporter and was dressed and masked as an Antifa member at the time of the shooting. His weapons and ammo magazines appear to have been legally acquired, he had a high school history as a bully who kept a hit list and made violent threats.
Meanwhile, the Democrats, who consider themselves the responsible party on gun control, failed to restore the assault gun ban when they had the votes in 2010 as they prefer fanning the flames of more ‘hate’ by blaming Trump’s loose lips even though the once-revered ACLU does not oppose the Second Amendment.
One wonders that if the El Paso shooter can be tagged with being influenced by Trump rhetoric, did the Dayton shooter receive his inspiration from Antifa or perhaps Elizabeth Warren? It is too much to expect any rational media voice to inquire—all of which brings us back to the president’s remarks endorsing the death penalty.
How exactly did this ‘hate’ language make its way into Trump’s remarks as “hate” has become a preoccupation of American society and the administration as its special envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism’s very life purpose is to root out hate—not hate of all kinds but only that of the Jewish variety.
Historically, the American criminal justice system, flawed as it is, requires any jury in a criminal case to consider the defendant’s level of conscious intent to commit a criminal act as well as the illegality of the act without specificity to the psychological issues of that intent.
Originally, hate crime laws were expected to offer special protection based on an individuals’ sexual orientation, gender, religion, disability or racial identity as perceived by the perpetrator. In a manner that does not occur in normal criminal proceedings, defining the “hate” component of a crime requires a distinct determination that the defendant’s actions were solely motivated by thoughts of ‘hate.’
In a worse case scenario, is Trump suggesting that the death penalty may be applied to what is determined to be a hate crime even if that crime has not resulted in a death? The reality is that hate crimes may be difficult to distinguish from a run-of-the-mill felony murder, thereby increasing the hate crime penalty makes little sense since first degree murder is already subject to the death penalty. Therefore, it appears that a redundant death penalty for a crime that would already call for the death penalty is little more than… overkill.
In other words, hate crime prosecution necessarily relies on criminalizing thoughts, as the NSA claims it has already developed remote neural monitoring revealing one’s most hidden private thoughts or an iPhone may be bugged with implants to reduce impulse control.
Many legal scholars would respond that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment already provides all American citizens with the guaranteed right to equal protection under the law (ie, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade) and therefore such hate laws are unnecessary and may be unconstitutional.
Since the Constitution already protects the rights of aggrieved parties, why would Congress initiate an entirely new category of duplicative hate crime laws unless they needed the extra legislative accomplishment to justify their existence or to satisfy prominent politically-connected constituencies or to create a nefarious political agenda.
Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31.