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    September 15, 2007

    'There is no such thing as a hate crime in Alabama'

    Posted by: Chris

    That's what WKRG-TV reporter Debbie Williams wrote in response to a complaint by a good friend and reader of this blog in response to my original post on her story on the Scotty Joe Weaver murder. My friend wrote, "Why no mention of the hate-crime angle in your story, Debbie?" She responded:

    As you know, there is no such thing as a "hate-crime" in Alabama.  I did mention the fact that prosecutors believe part of the motivation for the killing was because Scottie is gay.  It was mentioned in the Gaines trial but never brought up again until after the Kelsay plea deal.

    I wonder if she appreciates the irony in her response.  As if "there's no such thing as a 'hate crime' in Alabama." It reminds me of so many others from the same God-fearing region of the country who express their opposition to our "lifestyle" by sneering, "I don't believe in homosexuality."

    Honey, this fairy ain't like the tooth fairy. You don't get to decide whether you believe or not. You just get to decide whether to remain ignorant and intolerant -- like your forbears who "didn't believe" in women working or "didn't believe" in integrated schools.

    I hope they like the view from the dustbin of history because that's exactly where they're choosing to live.



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    1. Wes on Sep 16, 2007 11:08:16 AM:

      Well the sad truth: I grew up in Alabama but knew I had to leave for college and graduate school. However, my parents and family still live in Alabama and in fact live in Baldwin County--which is the county in which Scotty Joe Weaver was murdered.

      Scotty Joe lived in an area of Baldwin County that by any stretch of the imagination is still redneck and a hell for a gay person to live--the northern part of the county. But Scotty Joe was doing more for gay rights by living there than any of us will probably ever do. The voters in Alabama--and surely their elected representatives-- are not going to vote for hate crimes legislation until all of us are long dust in the ground. You can safely assume that Alabama and Mississippi will be the very last place in this country to allow its gay citizens to achieve any semblance of equality and freedom.But those negative comments aside, that state's citizens are slowly being dragged into the modern world. Surely the deaths of Scotty Joe and Billy Jack Gaither are having at least a small positive influence on this. And I think of them both often. The process toward moving the hearts and minds of people that do not understand how anyone "could be gay" is going to be accomplished not by hate crimes legislation (and thank goodness for that since it is not going to be happening) but by the population knowing their gay neighbors and realizing they are simply human beings. If you really want to make a difference in Alabama then you will move there and live there. Oh dear God.....

    1. Amicus on Sep 17, 2007 3:55:45 PM:

      Just a minor note:

      Alabama does have a "hate-crime law" of sorts - AND it's an *expressly* anti-gay hate-crime law, because it includes most of the categories one would expect, except gays and lesbians.

      In 1993/94 Alabama added provisions for additional penalties, which is a maneuver that does not follow the model legislation that many other states use.

      See Ala-Code 13A-5-13

      In 1977, Alabama enacted "special protections" for religious property. This is defined as a Class A Misdemeanor. The sentencing bump-up in the penalty is a minimum of 3 months.

      See Ala-Code 13A-12-11

      Alabama can receive various amounts of Federal financial assistance for all categories, including church property, except ... you got it, for gays and lesbians.

    1. Amicus on Sep 17, 2007 4:29:36 PM:

      Also, according to my notes (should be verified), two additional sad facts:

      Alabama is one of a dozen or so states that have no specific provision to collect statistics for hate-crimes based on sexual orientation, either as part of the code or as part of EO. In other words, not only is the true nature of this crime hidden from journalism and the public, it is also deliberately excluded from being properly recorded by 'the system' (Federal requirements I believe rely on local reporting and do not involve a 'mandate to collect data' - I'm way out on a limb with that interpretation, but ...).

      Alabama is also one state that, again, according to my notes only, does not provide money for training of law enforcement related to hate-crimes.

      Of course, Federal Hate Crimes legislation would provide money for these things, possibly.

      Both of Alabama's Senators voted against the last vote I know, in 2004, on the Federal Hate Crimes legislation. (Trent Lott even voted against the law requiring the DOJ to collect statistics way back in the early 1990s ... ).

      Last factoid. Alabama was one of a few states with a Sodomy law on its books when the Lawrence decision came down. It appears to have removed from the code (not all states have), although I cannot confirm that on a quick scan (it's like looking for evidence of absence).

    1. Amicus on Sep 17, 2007 4:58:14 PM:

      oops, some of this info is in the SoVo article, which I ought to have read first.

    1. Citizen Crain on Sep 17, 2007 9:45:07 PM:

      Two follow-up points to the interesting factoids from Amicus... My recollection is the same about the federal hate crime stats act, and the FBI which implements it, relying on state and local law enforcement agencies to voluntarily gather the information.

      But Alabama, alas, still has its sodomy law, quaintly framed as "deviate sexual intercourse":

      § 13A-6-65. Sexual misconduct. (a) A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if: … (3) He or she engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under circumstances other than those covered by Sections 13A-6-63 and 13A-6-64. Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 17, 2007 9:48:29 PM:

      Oh, I see....just because Williams didn't give you the answer you want, she's "ignorant and intolerant" and "doesn't believe in homosexuality".

      And I love how you threw in the religion-bashing, sneering, "God-fearing", as well as insulting her and her ancestors by claiming that they're all racists and misogynists who hate gays -- all without any proof, of course.

      Thanks for showing the people of Alabama what gay people are really like. That ought to do wonders for it.

    1. Double T on Sep 18, 2007 1:46:23 AM:

      NDT, I totally agree with you. Right now, half of the State of Alabama(the half that can read)is reading this blog, with tears streaming down their face. And they are crying to the heavens "why don't the Gays understand us?"

      Go back, re-read the blog, slowly. slowly.

    1. Citizen Crain on Sep 18, 2007 11:51:59 AM:

      "Willful" is the word that jumps to mind reading your comment here, NDT. Willfully ignoring what I actually wrote to engage in another rant against victimization. But rather than play tit-for-tat with your name-calling, I'd prefer you answer what I actually wrote in response to your first round of comments here.

      If you really believe this crime should be treated "equally" then why shouldn't the reporter have informed viewers about the motive for the crime, rather than simply report the mother's cry of "Why? Why"

      You have allowed your distaste for victimization and identity politics to so cloud your view of things that you are every bit as guilty of what you claim gay activists do, only in reverse. Where you see them emphasize the gay victimology in everything, you straight-wash things.

      Reminds me of those who so disdain popular music or fashion that they allow those same rules about what's popular and what's not define their own tastes, only in reverse. They are every bit the prisoner of that which they loathe as the people they spend all their time complaining about.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Sep 19, 2007 5:06:26 PM:

      "If you really believe this crime should be treated "equally" then why shouldn't the reporter have informed viewers about the motive for the crime, rather than simply report the mother's cry of "Why? Why""

      She did.

      As she pointed out in her email, she mentioned that prosecutors had said it was because he was gay.

      She also mentioned that robbery was involved as well -- and that, as was also brought up, the defendants were upset because Weaver had unexpectedly stopped to pay his mother and did not have the full amount that the attackers thought he would.

      You've simply spent too long in gay media, Chris, where the assumption is that the gay angle, if it exists (or even if it doesn't), must dominate everything.

      Furthermore, that apparently makes you immune to fact-checking or intelligent reading -- such as the fact that Amicus's citation of Trent Lott in relationship to Alabama makes no sense, since he is one of the Senators from MISSISSIPPI.

      But you don't care, do you? He's from the South and he's one of those "God-fearing" people, which makes him "intolerant and ignorant" in your eyes -- just like you claim Debbie Williams to be. Details and honest reporting don't matter; all that does is that everything is slanted to promote your "everyone hates us" agenda.

    1. Mike on May 26, 2008 1:42:59 PM:

      Murder is murder. It should be treated the same regardless of whether it is based on race, sexual preference, or just to get life insurance money.
      If you think that it is bigoted, so be it. I don't care.

    1. Hawyer on May 26, 2008 3:23:53 PM:

      Open letter to Mike --- and others who oppose hate crimes legislation.

      In the 1950s, predominately- and all-white Southern juries had a nasty little penchant: predictably nullifying what would otherwise have been slam-dunk guilty verdicts against white racists indicted for murdering blacks. For that, Federal anti-lynching laws were enacted by the U.S. Congress, essentially reclassifying such murders as collective acts of terrorism on a class of American citizens - thereby remanding such charges to the federal court system. Only then was the Klu Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations stripped of their power.

      In the 1990s certain anti-abortion activists concluded that murdering doctors and healthcare workers in the name of saving fetuses was just dandy in the eyes of Jesus. Thus ensued a cottage industry of terror and intimidation, including posting names and address of abortion doctors on the internet - inviting any crackpot-of-the-day to draw a bead on his local healthcare provider. Accordingly, the Clinton administration enacted legislation that classified such activity under the federal domestic terrorism statues, thus mustering federal resources to fight such activity.

      When someone sets out with malice and aforethought to murder a homosexual, strictly - or in part - because of his homosexuality, surely you can see that rises to the level of the previous two examples --- sending a message to an entire population --- that they are vulnerable and unprotected by ordinary law. For that, hate crime laws have proven a powerful tool in breaking the back of such terroristic threats aimed at a particular group of citizens.

      So the "ho-hum - murder is just murder - so get over it" argument is stale and by point of fact out of step with contemporary jurisprudence. It's also callous and willfully ignorant of the gay lives at stake.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on May 26, 2008 9:30:58 PM:

      In the 1950s, predominately- and all-white Southern juries had a nasty little penchant: predictably nullifying what would otherwise have been slam-dunk guilty verdicts against white racists indicted for murdering blacks.

      Which has exactly zero to do with this, given that all three defendants in the Scottie Joe Weaver case not only did not have their indictments nullified, but were sentenced to, respectively, two consecutive life sentences, life without parole, and twenty years in prison -- all of which would have been worse had they not pled guilty, since they were up for the death penalty.

      All without any "hate crimes law", mind you, and all under Alabama STATE law.

      Not unlike how Matt Shepard's killers were both convicted and sentenced without "hate crimes laws".

      So what exactly is "vulnerable and unprotected"?

      Thus ensued a cottage industry of terror and intimidation, including posting names and address of abortion doctors on the internet - inviting any crackpot-of-the-day to draw a bead on his local healthcare provider.

      Interesting -- since, at sites like KnowThyNeighbor.org, gays and lesbians regularly post names and addresses of voters who exercise their constitutional rights to sign petitions and exhort people to harass them. Indeed, websites like JoeMyGod and Pam's House Blend have posted names and addresses of people and exhorted gays to harass them; Pam's House Blend was specifically caught with comments calling for assassination of people.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on May 26, 2008 9:47:17 PM:

      Brilliant analysis, Hawyer. Very nicely said.

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