Hate Crime and the Jena 6

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Hate Crime and the Jena 6


This morning, September 28, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said, “I have never understood hate crime legislation, but if it makes some people feel good so be it.” That is the standard shallow line of the conservatives – and they try to act so innocent. They raise their hands in that Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin pantomime and say “What? What’s the problem?” Scarborough’s attempt to discredit serious discussion by discounting serious people as promoting legislation so the promoters can ‘feel good’ is to treat serious issues with the flippancy that is characteristic of traditional rednecks. If shallow thinking makes them feel good then so be it. Scarborough is towing the party line – and he doesn’t even realize it.

The logic of folks opposed to hate crime legislation, applied to organized crime, would suggest that there should not be any crime for ‘conspiracy.’ No RICO Act! Would Scarborough say, “We already have laws against murder and prostitution, so why do we need the RICO Act?”

I don’t pretend to know or understand all of the facts in the Jena, Louisiana, case. But I think everyone agrees that there is a tree on the school grounds where white students generally congregate. Some black students sat under the tree. Some white students then hung a rope hanging noose on the tree. What would Scarborough say, “If it makes them feel good, so be it?” If there is no hate-crime legislation then what should the white boys have been charged with? (They were charged with nothing). Charge them with vandalism? That does not begin to speak to the seriousness of the offense. The hanging of the noose is nothing less than a terrorist threat by ideological bullies.

There is a small community about ten miles south of where I live. A few years back some of the local redneck criminals put a burning cross in the yard of a black family. Should they have been charged with vandalism and trespassing – crimes not equal to the actual nature of the offense?

The anti-hate crime advocates have only one valid point. We have too many laws! We cannot legislate every social behavior – but terrorist threats should have consequences beyond the misdemeanor of vandalism.


There Are 8 Responses So Far. »

  1. i think the point is that there are already laws covering hate crimes and that there is no need for more legislation. it really has nothing to do with conservatives or liberals, rather to do with legislation.

  2. I don’t get what you are saying – Is there a law against burning crosses or hanging nooses?

  3. Nice article. Putting down and misrepresenting others’ views is the meme of the day. Nit to pick : ‘Toeing the line’ refers to compliance; not “towing the line” ( though maybe we could rebrand ‘moving the goalposts’ ? )

  4. Thanks for you astute observations – I’ll fix the post

  5. I don’t get it. Tow means to pull or assist. Toe? how does that work?

  6. Thought my article on the Jena 6 might interest you. Enjoyed your commentary. It is interesting to read people who are thinking, not just stating someone’s simple, party line:


  7. Hey, nice job omitting any reference whatsoever to the hate crime of 6 black students beating a white student unconscious! It’s only white-on-black hate crimes that matter, right?

  8. Dear CoolHandNuke,
    Drawing a conclusion such as yours is typical of hate-mongers. My comments were in reference to Hate Crimes, the Jena 6 catastrophe was merely an example. The problem is in the continued escalation of violence. The black students sitting under the tree may have been intended to provoke – it so then they were successful. Some white students hung a noose – intending to provoke – they were successful. The black students responded, the white students responded, the escalation continued until someone was hurt. It is all insanity.

    Ohg Rea Tone

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