I think there should be captions with the "Time & Place" photos. I always wonder what the heck is going on.
While I agree that crimes like those committed against Matthew Shepard are despicable and should be punished to the full extent of the law, I fail to see how hate crimes legislation would improve anything.
It's unfortunate that prejudice exists. It's downright disgusting that some people use their prejudice as an excuse to antagonize other people. But aren't all crimes borne of hate? How can you distinguish between one crime and another based solely on the fact that a victim was gay, or black or Jewish?
If we claim that people of all sexual orientations, races and religions should be treated equally in life, then so, too, should they be treated equally in death.
Why should Shepard's death be prosecuted any differently just because he was gay?
All human life is precious, and to me, designating something a "hate crime" is an oxymoron. It's just a way of reinforcing the idea that certain people are somehow deserving of special treatment (good or bad), when, in reality, we are all equally deserving of what life has to offer.
There's no denying that the crimes some of these men committed are horrendous, but killing them in return does nothing to fix what they did. I understand that victim's families may take some comfort in knowing their loved one's killer is gone, but put simply, capital punishment is just state-sanctioned murder; it drags the government down to the criminal's level. Besides the risk of executing an innocent person, the death penalty is a big waste of time, money and emotion. If they're guilty, throw them in jail for the rest of their lives; don't force the rest of us to be complicit accomplices in their execution.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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