Monday, July 30, 2007

Hate Crime? Or Littering? You make the call

A student at Pace University in New York has been charged with a felony hate crime for placing a Quran (the Muslim holy book) in a toilet on the University's campus. I find these felony charges to be truly astonishing. No one was injured from the placing of the Quran into the toilet; to my knowledge, the Quran did not belong to anyone else, so he didn't damage someone else's property; at best this should be a littering or maybe a vandalism charge. But a hate crime? I don't agree with the whole concept of charging someone with a hate crime in the first place, but I see an even more dangerous slope being slipped on here. In the past, people who have been charged with hate crimes received the charge in conjunction with another, usually violent act - such as a skinhead beating up a black guy while shouting anti-black epithets, or something to that effect. The main charge is the beating, or the shooting which caused an actual injury, and then added penalties are tacked on for the "hate crime".

This is not the case in the Quran-in-the-toilet. The accused - one Stanislav Smulevich - did nothing more than place the Quran in a toilet, and now he has been charged with a felony simply for ruffling some feathers; something that is not difficult to do in the case of the oversensitive Muslim community which tends to have huge chip on their collective shoulder and is constantly looking for an excuse to seethe.

My regards to Michelle Malkin for beating me to the punch before I could manage to finish my post on this subject, but when I first heard about this case, some images from the past came immediately to mind. Mrs. Malkin has already posted some of them, which I will also, but I thought of a couple more that she didn't post. Before I display the images, let's think this through for a second. A man is charged with a felony for desecrating an object that is considered holy to some people. With that as the standard, where were the felony charges for the following?

Here is the first offending hate crime. A piece of "art" called Piss Christ, by "artist" Andres Serrano. It is a crucifix with Jesus on it submerged in a jar filled with the "artist's" own urine. To this date, Andres Serrano has not been charged with a felony hate crime.

This may not be a religious icon, but the American Flag is still a revered symbol that represents everything our country stands for, and millions of American men and women have fought, suffered, and died fighting for the ideals embodied in that flag. Shouldn't burning our flag constitute a hate crime? To my knowledge, the man in this photo has not been charged with a felony hate crime.

The above two pictures were posted by Michelle Malkin in her post, but I thought of two more examples that show the absurdity of a man being charged with a felony simply because he put a Quran in a toilet.

This is a painting (?) of the Virgin Mary which was created by "artist" Chris Ofili. Upon further inspection, you would find that one of the ingredients of the painting is elephant dung, and those butterfly looking things floating around the Virgin Mary are images of female genitalia that were clipped from dirty magazines. To this day, Chris Ofili has not been charged with a felony hate crime.

This photo was taken in Portland, Oregon earlier this year. The man with his pants pulled down is defecating on an American Flag, which it appears, is also on fire just a little bit. Now, you could easily arrest this moron for public indecency, or littering, or violating toxic waste laws, but to this date, this man has not been charged with a felony hate crime.

People who would try to justify the felony charges against Mr. Smulevich, would undoubtedly argue that Smulevich committed his act on public property, rather than on private property. However, it is quite easy to see that every one of the images you see above also occurred on public property. Even worse is the fact that both of the works of "art" that are pictured were not only on public display, but their display and, in the case of Serrano's abomination, their creation, were financed with public funds.

I have spent much of my post speaking in hyperbole and asking rhetorical questions. I want to make clear however, that although all the images above thoroughly disgust me, in none of those cases would I even dream of charging any of the idiots responsible with a hate crime. No one in this country has a right to not be offended. If someone burns a flag on the courthouse steps, by all means, arrest him for endangering people with a big burning cloth. If someone defecates on a flag on a public sidewalk, by all means, arrest him for exposing himself and for dropping a dirty dookie where people walk. If someone dunks a crucifix in urine, then by all means, walk up to him and call him the asshole that he has proved himself to be. But charge these people for a felony simply because of what they think and believe? Before you know it, I could be arrested for speaking out against the teachers unions!

As the old quote goes, "Actions speak louder than words." The actions of Slanislav Smulevich hurt nothing and no one except the easily bruised sensibilities of a bunch of people who spend their lives looking for ways to be offended. Now if Mr. Smulevich had walked up to a Muslim and thrown a Quran at the Muslim and beaned him in the head, then by all means, book him... but only for assault, not for hating a Muslim.

Good Day to You, Sir


Darren said...

Who owned the Koran?

If he damaged someone else's private property, or public property, then that's what he gets busted for. If the potential was there to clog the sewer, I can see that.

Obviously he'll win on First Amendment grounds; this case is intended to be nothing more than a "warning to others" that if you tick off the wrong people, you'll be made miserable for awhile. If what I wrote above matches what he did, he deserves to lose.

What he did was disrespectful and in poor taste--but a hate crime? Gawd I hate that concept.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I agree that the concept of hate crimes is unamerican. Whenever a person's thoughts are criminalized it puts the power of the government behind the concept that some thoughts are illegal. That lends itself to the question who decides what thought are illegal?

Anonymous said...

Notice in the flag crapping photo the little girl in the background . . . how wholesome.

Anonymous said...

these are not hate crimes. just because you're a right-wing religious bigot and someone disagrees with you and makes a point about it doesn't make it so they should be charged with a hate crime.

Chanman said...

Uh, Anonymous moron: if you had read my post, you would have seen that I ended it by saying that none of the people responsible for the disgusting creations or actions in the offending photos should be charged with a hate crime. It's called hyperbole, but obviously it was lost on you.

By the way, who are your calling religious?

Anonymous said...

Hay genius, so u r saying that authority should wait till he kills someone to charge him. And don’t tell me u think he was flashing the Koran down the toilet to show his inner love for Muslim's or that he didn’t like the color of the book or he simple is too stupid to understand that Koran is sacred to us and to some people it’s more important them life itself. I will even you an example. If they had stopped whites from shouting abusive word to the Little Rock Nine, they might have stopped a lot of abuse and attacks that followed. Remember the acid and eye incident?

And just in case u don’t get it, flashing the Koran down the toilet creates a mantel treating environment for us not that u would have any problem with that.

Chanman said...

To Most Recent Anonymous:

I'm not sure I understand about half of what you wrote, but I am curious about one thing. Would you be as bent out of shape over a Bible being placed in a toilet as you obviously are about a Koran being placed in a toilet?

Anonymous said...

you're an ignorant cultural imperialist.

Chanman said...

How dare you call me ignorant!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others due to one point: creating Controversial art based on one’s own religion or to show anger with one’s own country, but to purposely ruin objects sacred to another culture, or symbols representative of another country, that they themselves are not part of is idiotic and insensitive, and should be punished more harshly. One would hope that those who are smart enough to have a continued education past high school such as this person would have learned at least some respect and awareness of others. Self-centered people unable to see past the small slights against them while they themselves greatly offend others, should perhaps not use their freedom of speech so carelessly.