Anti-Gay Graffiti in OC

I read this sad story in the Orange County Register this morning about a gay Huntington Beach couple whose home was recently tagged with anti-gay graffiti.

Huntington Beach Police are investigating the graffiti and are handling the case as a hate crime.

Conservatives in this country have often said that prosecuting someone for a hate crime is punishing that person for their thoughts, and that hate crime legislation is another “special right” that is awarded to the homosexual community.

In reality, hate crimes are much more than thought crimes, as Eric Zorn pointed out in the Chicago Tribune a couple of weeks ago. When one commits a crime based on hatred for a particular group or race, he is actually committing two crimes. One crime is the illegal offense (far too often a violent one) and the other is the threat that is made to the other members of that group or race.

So in the case of the Odoherty home getting vandalized in Huntington Beach last weekend, the crime is vandalism. Hate crime foes believe that it shouldn’t matter if the vandal painted a smiley face, or if he painted a hostile, anti-gay slur.

I agree that graffiti is annoying no matter how you cut it, but the anti-gay slur is a threat to other homosexuals in the area…watch your back, you could be next.

Here is how the Human Rights Campaign words it:

Hate Crimes Affect More than Just the Individual Attacked. All violent crimes are reprehensible. But the damage done by hate crimes cannot be measured solely in terms of physical injury or dollars and cents. Hate crimes rend the fabric of our society and fragment communities because they target a whole group and not just the individual victim. Hate crimes are committed to cause fear to a whole community. A violent hate crime is intended to “send a message” that an individual and “their kind” will not be tolerated, many times leaving the victim and others in their group feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected.

According to 2004 FBI statistics, hate crimes based on sexual orientation constituted the third highest category reported and made up 15.5 percent of all reported hate crimes. Only race-based and religion-based prejudice crimes were more prevalent than hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

  6 comments for “Anti-Gay Graffiti in OC

  1. May 15, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Hate crime foes believe that it shouldn’t matter if the vandal painted a smiley face, or if he painted a hostile, anti-gay slur.

    I think you profoundly misread the good faith of the average person against hate-crimes legislation.

    A hostile slur is not a smiley face — if graffiti conveys a threat by using a slur, it is both vandalism and a suggestion of future violence, and this would be so with or without a hate-crimes law.

    Having said that, if there will be hate-crimes laws, it has to include everyone – anything discriminatory of any race, any religion, any sexual orientation. If we have one on the books it must be for all groups.


  2. Dan Chmielewski
    May 15, 2007 at 9:06 am

    So if the graffiti were anti-Republican, is it a hate crime?

  3. Dan Kirk
    May 15, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Ya know, DU, Hate Crime laws that include sexual orientation DO include straight people as well as gay and lesbian people. It’s any hate crime based on those factors…same as with race, and with religion.

    Hate crime laws don’t just protect African-Americans, or Jewish people, or gays, they protect whites, latinos, christians, men, women, gays, straights, and so on and so forth.

    The sad truth is that just as there are people who will try to harm or kill a gay person merely because they are gay, there are some who feel the same way about white people, or straight people. The article has a great reference on why hate crime laws are appropriate. Hate-based crimes are not merely one act, such as vandalism or assault. They are vandalism or assault with the focus, the intent, being to not only harm the person(s) or property being attacked, but to intimidate an entire group of people.

    If a person attacks a Jewish person with the intent of not only harming that person, but ‘warning’ all other Jewish people they are not safe, they are doing more than just assaulting one person. They are attemting to intimidate every Jewish person who hears, or learns, about that attack.

    What’s even sadder for the residents of Orange County would have to be the comments left after the article on the OC Register site. I truly hope that the people who left those comments are not from Orange County. It sounds like the couple in the article has, by and large, a very friendly and tolerant neighborhood. Good people like those should not be tarred by the brush strokes of those who leave such ugly comments, or who committed these acts.

    (Hmm, now that I brought up those neighbors, you know, they too are in their own way victims of this crime. Some might form an image of their neighborhood as ‘intolerant’ or ‘anti-gay’ or ‘bigoted’ when in fact they appear to be anything but those things.)

  4. Publius
    May 15, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    I remain amazed that this sort of thing happens here in OC in 2007. I hope there is some sort of coordinated response and show of support from local LGBT-friendly groups.

  5. OC
    May 17, 2007 at 8:05 am

    haha no pics of it on the web or in the paper. I am a bit dissappointed. this “PC”-ness of the media is sickening. I bet you the word was the “F” word and it doesn’t have 4 letters.

    p.s. the anti-spam word should not really be a word it should be alphanumeric and random like other websites. “pelosi” is a horrible ASW and far right gop-ers could spam this site endlessly using her name or other Dem-friendly names.

  6. OC
    May 17, 2007 at 8:06 am

    i take my p.s. back but i still think it should be alphanumberic. Dem-friendly concepts are also fair game for gop-ers. “Dems like clean air hmm? well we’ll see about that!” spam spam spam spam…..

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