Deliberately to embarrass a person is a felony, if the person belongs to a favored group

From an article at radio station 101.5 about the Dharun Ravi guilty verdict:

Some of the jurors said that Ravi’s tweets, especially one that “dared” friends to watch the webcast that never happened, were key evidence in convicting him of anti-gay intimidation.”That post, what it said, struck a chord in all of us,” said Ed Dolan, a finance manager.

Another juror, Kashad Leverett, a security guard, said that Ravi’s videotaped interrogation by police also helped convince jurors of his guilt. “He admitted to it, saying, `I knew it would embarrass him,”’ Leverett said.

So, what proved Dharun Ravi guilty of the “hate crime” of “bias intimidation,” for which he may be sentenced to prison for ten years, is that he intended to “embarrass” Tyler Clementi over the latter’s homosexual assignation with a 30 year old man in the college dorm room Clementi shared with Ravi.

Let’s face it. We now live under the naked tyranny of the anti-discriminatory principle. If you do or express anything discriminatory, intolerant, or negative with regard to blacks, women, or homosexuals, you don’t just lose your job, career, and social standing; you go to prison.

In this connection, I am surprised that no one commented on my suggestion last week about what universities should tell students during freshman orientation. A reader had written:

Fundamentally this is no different from a situation where you go to jail for insulting the King in Thailand. Or get lashed for insulting Islam in Saudi Arabia. Every society has its taboos. If you violate one, you can expect punishment far in excess of what is appropriate.

On college campuses in the U.S., blacks and gays are the sacred cows. This needs to be explained to college freshman.

To which I replied:

Absolutely right. Instead of telling entering freshmen, “We are a campus devoted to diversity, we are so diverse, we celebrate our diversity,” the school should tell the students in straightforward language: “We have a rule here. Pay careful attention. If you say anything negative about, or do anything which is considered offensive to, homosexuals, women, blacks, or other designated nonwhite groups, you have violated our Prime Directive, and we will cause you serious harm, ranging from social disapproval and shunning, to exclusion from academic honors and advancement, to expulsion from the school, to prosecution and imprisonment as a hate-crimes felon.” And if a school does not give such an honest freshman orientation, the parents of students should explain this to their children before they send them off to school. Not in terms of, “This is right,” but in terms of, “This is the reality. So exercise extreme caution when saying anything. Keep your true thoughts to yourself and to tested friends you know you can trust.”

- end of initial entry -

JC in Houston writes:

America is truly no longer the land of the free and home of the brave. The verdict and the jurors’ comments indicate how deeply the rot of liberalism has penetrated into the psyche of the “average American.” I would be willing to bet that the jurors were afraid of the reaction from the liberal culture of our country had they found him not guilty. Instead of a bulwark against tyranny, as the Founders envisioned the practice of trial by jury, jurors have now become willing instruments of the powers that be. We have nothing on the old Soviet Union in this regard. Ravi is the equivalent of a “class enemy” in Stalin’s day, who must be punished.

JC continues:

LA, your reference to Columbia in 1967 revived some of my own memories. I started college in 1968 and lived off campus. Whenever I dated a coed who lived in the dorms on campus, I would pick her up at the WOMEN’s dorm. Males were not allowed past the reception desk. Sex in the dorms was a definite no-no. Of course I don’t know how that policy of no coed dorms would have worked out on Ravi’s case. Open homosexuality simply did not exist, at least here in conservative Texas at that time. There’s a lot to be said for those old, outdated rules of behavior!

March 20

Scott B. writes:

In retrospect, it would seem that the totalitarian prosecution of the Ravi case was an end to which “hate crime” legislation was pointing from the outset.

It is the culmination of a two-pronged attack. On the one hand, there is the relentless propaganda campaign to delegitimize cultural critiques of the leftists’ anti-Western ideology and anti-Western protected groups, a campaign which, thanks to the First Amendment, is unable to criminalize conservative expressions. This by contrast to much of Europe, where criticisms of minority ethnic groups are now frequently classified as incitement to racial hatred.

How to overcome the obstacle of the First Amendment, which protects the right to express negative opinions of a leftist victim group? By way of the second prong: writing into law that an opinion of which the left disapproves may be seen as an exacerbating factor in the commission of a crime, even when the “crime” to which it is attached is negligible to non-existent.

LA replies:

There’s really no limit to what they can now do. Even before hate crime legislation, left-liberals spread the idea that anti-liberal opinions created an “hostile academic environment,” or an “intimidating work environment.” Well, all the liberals had to do was declare in law (1) that to “intimidate” a person is a crime, and (2) that if such intimidation is motivated by hostility to a designated victim group, the intimidation is a hate crime, meriting a more severe punishment.

Now Ravi’s behavior was not just verbal. In fact, he wasn’t criticizing homosexuality or the homosexualist agenda at all. He secretly videotaped a personal encounter and told other people about it, with the aim of embarrassing Clementi; Clementi discovered the second attempt and was—as the prosecutor asserted and the jury agreed—“intimidated” by it. So speech in itself, the expression of opinions in itself, would appear to be still protected. However, given the rapidity and audacity of the left’s current advance, I no longer see any certain bar to their desire to define purely verbal behavior, namely verbal criticism of a protected group or its agenda (protected up to this point by federal and state free speech guarantees) as an intimidating act. And once they do that, America will be indistinguishable from Europe as far as anti-hate speech laws are concerned, except that America will be worse. America won’t just fine people for hate speech; it will imprison them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 19, 2012 05:39 PM | Send

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