Tag Archives: hate crimes

Anti-Asian hate crimes?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am a bit confused.

The U.S. Senate has just approved, in a stunning 94-1 vote, a bill that makes crimes against Asian-Americans a hate crime.

Now, to be clear I do not condone hate crimes of any form. What confuses me is why Congress feels the need to enact a bill that seeks to protect a single group of Americans.

If crimes are directed at individuals because of hate, isn’t there a way to write an all-inclusive bill that covers all Americans?

Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill | TheHill

Gay Americans are victims of hate crimes. Black Americans are, too. So are Latinos. Muslims have been targeted by criminals who hate them because of their religion. There once was a time when Catholics were hate crime victims. Now it’s Americans of Asian descent.

Do we single out all these groups for specific levels of hate crime or do we wrap them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that covers hate crimes of all types?

If someone can explain why we have this need to enact bills that target hate crimes against certain categories of Americans, I am all ears.

Oh, the single vote against the Asian-American hate crime bill? None other than Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the Republican who led the challenge to President Biden’s election in 2020.

Much worse than a ‘bad day’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s see how we should process this.

A lunatic walks into a massage parlor and shoots four people to death. He leaves that site, drives to another such location and kills four more individuals.

Six of the eight victims are of Asian descent. The suspect, who I won’t name in this blog, is arrested and tells the cops he wasn’t acting out of hate for Asian-Americans or against women. He blames it on having some sort of “sex addiction.”

Then up steps a senior officer with the the Cherokee County (Ga.) sheriff’s office to say the shooter was having a “bad day.”

Oh, no. When most reasonable folks are having a “bad day,” they might swill some booze, or perhaps gorge on some comfort food, or maybe argue with their spouse.

Do they shoot people to death? Do they commit one crime, then drive to another location and do some more of it? Good grief!

Sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker has since apologized for his remarks. Boy, howdy … he needs to say he’s sorry over and over. It’s a bit complicated, though, because Baker reportedly sported an anti-Asian t-shirt in a Facebook post.

Gulp! According to NBC News: “There are simply no words to describe the degree of human suffering experienced on Tuesday … in our community and in Atlanta,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said in a statement Thursday.

“I have known and served with Captain Baker for many years. His personal ties to the Asian community and his unwavering support and commitment to the citizens of Cherokee County are well known to many. Oh behalf of the dedicated women and men of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office we regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused.”

Sheriff’s officials ‘regret any heartache’ for ‘bad day’ comment after Georgia spa killings (msn.com)

Yes, Baker’s words caused “heartache.” They also seem to reveal a stunning lack of revulsion over the results of a horrible act.

Won’t ID latest loon

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Allow me this declaration: I am not going to publish the name of the latest lunatic to open fire on innocent victims.

I am going to maintain a policy I enacted some time ago.

A moron killed eight people in three locations in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were Asian-Americans. Most of them were women. It’s the latest horrifying hate crime in this country.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about hate crimes being committed against Asian-Americans, who have become the targets of haters in the wake of the pandemic that had its origin in China. The seriously sick logic then suggests that all people of Asian descent are responsible for the worldwide misery.

The shooter who allegedly committed this act might have been driven by that hatred.

I won’t identify him here. If you need to know his name, just look somewhere else.

Asian-Americans under attack!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What the hell is happening to this country?

The latest victims of hatred now belong to a group of people of Asian descent. We are witnessing a hideous outgrowth of our national fight against a killer virus.

The coronavirus had its beginning in China, or so we have been told. It spread around the world. It entered the United States either in late 2019 or early 2020.

To worsen it, we heard our nation’s president refer continually to the disease as the “China virus,” or making mocking references to something he would call the “kung flu.”

Have we heard anything from the now former president urging Americans to stop the attacks on Asian-Americans? Has Donald Trump raised a single objection to what is happening throughout the nation he once led as its president? No! He has said nothing.

Individuals are being captured, jailed and prosecuted for hate crimes against Asian-Americans. And why? Because they are being vilified only because a virus took root in a foreign land.

President Biden has condemned the hate crime wave. However, the hate crime perps aren’t listening to the current president; they cling to the rhetoric from the man he defeated in 2020. The MAGA mob needs to hear this condemnation from Donald Trump. Tragically, Trump doesn’t appear wired to say what he must to those who are attacking elderly people, inflicting physical harm or bullying individuals over social media.

This terrible spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans is no way to “make America great again.”

Spare me the lightning strike for speaking well of a looney bird

Oh, I am fearing a bolt of lightning killing me dead for saying something semi-supportive of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the East Texas loon who is prone to say the most outrageous things and cast the most outrageous congressional votes.

Gohmert was one of just four House members to vote against a bill that makes lynching a federal crime. It’s named after Emmitt Till, a young African American, who was lynched in the 1950s because he whistled at a white woman.

Gohmert’s objection to the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act is sound. He said the maximum 10-year penalty for a conviction in a lynching is far too light. Gosh, do ya think?

The House passed the bill 401-4. It was hailed universally as a get-tough federal law that makes lynching a federal crime.

I believe, though, that anyone convicted of such a crime in, say, Texas would be put to death. 

I am now left to wonder why this particular legislation — if it’s meant to make a harsh statement against hate crimes — carries such a mealy-mouthed, milquetoast punishment.

Here’s some good news about the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act: It now must go to the Senate, which now must approve the House version of the legislation.

How about this idea? The Senate ought to reject this measure, and then send it back to the House to apply a penalty for a heinous hate crime that matches what many states apply for the commission of such a crime.

‘El Paso Strong’ stands as a powerful rallying cry

A community in far West Texas is reeling. Twenty-two people died over the weekend at the hands of a madman who opened fire at a Wal-Mart shopping center.

I am struck by a couple of elements about that community’s response to what befell it.

One is the insistence among many public officials, community leaders and even some in the media that the shooter does not live in El Paso. They have pointed out repeatedly that the killer allegedly drove six-plus hours to El Paso from Allen, Texas, just north of Dallas. He stopped at the Wal-Mart, reportedly sized up the situation and then re-entered the store to open fire.

Former U.S. Rep. and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who’s running for president, has insisted that El Paso is among the safest cities in the country. He has noted how its proximity to Juarez, Mexico, creates a metropolitan area of more than 2 million residents. He said over the weekend that the death toll at Wal-Mart exceeded the average annual murder rate in El Paso.

And so the beat goes on, with residents still looking for answers, for relief from their mourning and seeking to tell us that the killer isn’t one of them. He came from far away to do grievous harm.

The other is the “El Paso Strong” memorabilia that has cropped up. El Paso is trying to exhibit a common bond forged in tragedy. The same can be said of Dayton, Ohio, which experienced a similar tragedy later that day. A gunman killed nine people in the span of about 30 seconds before Dayton police killed him in a fire fight. The Dayton killer’s motives aren’t as discernible as the individual who allegedly killed those in El Paso.

The apparent hatred the El Paso killer has for Hispanic immigrants has helped bond the community together.

None of this cures the intense pain they are feeling in El Paso. However, if the sense of unity it brings to a grieving city helps it fight through its pain, then we all should join in declaring ourselves to be “El Paso Strong.”

Our hearts will take time to heal from the wounds delivered by the gunmen in El Paso and Dayton. We should stand with our fellow citizens — and with their neighbors — in solidarity.

Video games, Lt. Gov. Patrick? They’re to blame?

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the following, among other things, on “Fox & Friends”: “We’ve always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.”

He cited other causes as well, as did Donald Trump, the president of the United States.

Patrick, quite expectedly, didn’t attribute any of the hatred that erupted in El Paso over the weekend to the rhetoric that has come from the mouth of POTUS. Oh, no! Nothing there.

This is where Republicans’ defense of the president breaks down. Donald Trump does not own any responsibility for the way he talks about Hispanics, about African-Americans, about any people “of color.” Nor do many of those who support him.

Lt. Gov. Patrick has held up video games that teach young people “to kill” as a primary cause of what transpired in El Paso. To be fair, Patrick does call the massacre a “hate crime.”

Fine, so far. Why not take the next logical step, though, by identifying the catalyst that lit the spark of that hate and resulted in the slaughter of those innocent victims?

Our hearts are broken once again

Another day, another shooting in a house of worship.

I don’t intend to make this sound like a sort of “new normal.” But, damn, there are far too many of these tragedies occurring.

The latest spasm of violence occurred this weekend in Poway, Calif., in a synagogue. We can’t call this one a “mass slaughter,” given that one woman died; three others were injured.

The shooter appears to be someone who had been involved in an arson fire at a mosque in Escondido, another San Diego County community not far from Poway.

One of the particularly heartbreaking aspects of this tragedy is that the woman who died, Lori Gilbert Kaye, took bullets aimed at Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who suffered minor wounds in the attack. Kaye died later in a hospital, but she has emerged clearly as a heroic figure in this ghastly event. She shielded the rabbi from death. How does one come to grips with that?

The gunman was captured later by an off-duty Border Patrol agent, who drew praise from Donald Trump, who offered his “thoughts and prayers” for the congregants of the synagogue.

The shooter reportedly left a note that referenced the recent mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand after the mosque fire in Escondido.

Hate crimes are persisting in this country. Is this yet another demonstration of the intolerance that appears to have been given new life by the tone and tenor of the political rhetoric we are hearing around the country?

My goodness! We need to come to grips firmly and assuredly with this menace. This nation needs leadership from the very top of its political chain of command to commence that discussion.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t nearly enough.

Good riddance, John William King

This is one of those stories that occasionally makes me ponder and take stock of philosophies I usually hold close.

John William King is dead. As the saying goes in Texas . . . he needed killin’. The state of Texas executed this monster for a crime he committed 20 years ago, one of the most heinous hate crimes in recent history.

King was involved in the 1998 death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, a nice East Texas town just north of where I used to live and work in Beaumont. King and two accomplices — Lawrence Brewer and Shawn Berry — chained Byrd to the back of a pickup and dragged him through the Piney Woods, dismembering him.

Byrd was African-American; King and his evil partners were known to be skinheads/neo-Nazis/white “supremacists.”

I oppose capital punishment. I do not believe killing inmates who commit these crimes deters them from committing horrific crimes. John William King offers a brutal example of that fact, given that Texas has been the national leader in executing Death Row criminals.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this execution is that it occurred over the objections of the victim’s loved ones, who reportedly have forgiven the three monsters for what they did to James Byrd.

King is the second individual to be executed for Byrd’s brutal murder; the third individual — Berry — is serving a life term in prison and will not ever be released. Brewer was executed in 2011.

I oppose capital punishment, but I am glad that our good Earth has been rid of this hideous monster.

Study shows hate crime spike

How are we supposed to interpret this study?

Get a load of this: A University of North Texas analysis has disclosed that hate crimes increased 226 percent in those counties where Donald Trump staged political rallies during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Huh? But . . . wait! Don’t the Trump allies say there’s no relationship between the president and the reported resurgence of white supremacist hate groups?

Hmm. Well, I don’t know about that.

The study was done by Ayal Feinberg, a political science doctoral student at UNT, along with Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers, two UNT political science professors.

They contend that the study reveals that the spike occurred in the months immediately after Trump held those rallies while he was campaigning for president of the United States.

According to The Hill newspaper: “They said their research sought to explain how some of Trump’s rhetoric ‘may encourage hate crimes.'”

How do you dismiss the findings, that such hate crimes spiked 226 percent in those counties were Trump fired ’em up with his red-hot rhetoric?

It’s difficult to separate the findings from the president’s speech.

The Hill’s story explains how the researchers collected their data. Read it here.

I have resisted suggesting that Trump’s rhetoric was directly responsible for horrific acts, such as — for example — the Christchurch, New Zealand, massacre of 50 people at two mosques the other day. The white supremacist/moron arrested, though, reportedly had been inspired by something Trump had said.

And, yes, the president did equate neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 by referring to “very fine people on both sides” participating in that deadly riot.

This is the individual who serves as president of the Land of Opportunity.

Oh . . . my.