Another day, another instance of the far left foaming at the mouth with “outrage” over a conservative telling an inconvenient truth. This time it’s over the “hate crimes” legislation that was passed earlier today in the House. Specifically, it was over a speech Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) made on the House floor about the inspiration for the latest round of “hate crimes” legislation – the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. Here’s a partial video of her remarks:
Transcript, via The Politico:
“I also would like to point out that there was a bill — the hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay.”
She added: “This — the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.
Also noted by The Politico was that Shepard’s mother was in the House gallery when Foxx made her remarks, something taken advantage of by pandering, demagoguing Democrats:
“Matthew Shepard’s mother was in the gallery yesterday and I believe she was back today — so I’m sorry she had to be around to hear it,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.). “It’s an urban myth… And I’d tell her that man did land on the moon and the moon wasn’t made out of green cheese.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who supports the hate crimes bill, stared in disbelief before answering a question about the statement.
“It’s just sad the Republican caucus has been reduced such a fringe,” she said. “It’s sad they would go out of their way to prevent people from getting justice.”
Ahh … pulling out the Absolute Moral Authority Card and the “fringe” card as replacements for actual substantive debate on the issue. So very, very predictable. Not to mention disgraceful and pathetic, once you consider facts NOT taken into consideration by the outrageoholics at Media Matters and the “HRC,” which had this to say:
“Vile lies, like the one spread by Rep. Foxx today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about Matthew’s brutal hate-fueled murder, continues to underscore how extreme anti-LGBT opponents have become,” said Brad Luna, the communications director for the HRC.
I’d speculate that these ‘critics’ have no shame whatsoever, but that assumes they had any to begin with.
Unfortunately for them, Rep. Foxx was correct … according to an ABC report from 2004 in which the killers – Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson – were interviewed, along with various witnesses, law enforcement officials, and Cal Rerucha, the prosecutor. I’ve emphasized the most relevant parts of the story:
Shepard’s Friends Suspect Attack Was Hate-Motivated
Just hours after Shepard’s battered body was discovered, and before anyone knew who had beaten him, Shepard’s friends Walt Boulden and Alex Trout began spreading the word that Shepard was openly gay and that they were concerned the attack may have been a gay-bashing.
Boulden told “20/20” in an interview shortly after the attack in 1998, “I know in the core of my heart it happened because he revealed he was gay. And it’s chilling. They targeted him because he was gay.”
Prosecutor Rerucha recalls that Shepard’s friends also contacted his office. Rerucha told “20/20,” “They were calling the County Attorney’s office, they were calling the media and indicating Matthew Shepard is gay and we don’t want the fact that he is gay to go unnoticed.”
Helping fuel the gay hate crime theory were statements made to police and the media by Kristen Price, McKinney’s girlfriend. (Price was charged with felony accessory after-the-fact to first-degree murder. She later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor interference with police officers.)
Price now says that at the time of the crime she thought things would go easier for McKinney if his violence were seen as a panic reaction to an unwanted gay sexual advance.
But today, Price tells Vargas the initial statements she made were not true and tells Vargas that McKinney’s motive was money and drugs. “I don’t think it was a hate crime at all. I never did,” she said.
Former Laramie Police Detective Ben Fritzen, one of the lead investigators in the case, also believed robbery was the primary motive. “Matthew Shepard’s sexual preference or sexual orientation certainly wasn’t the motive in the homicide,” he said.
“If it wasn’t Shepard, they would have found another easy target. What it came down to really is drugs and money and two punks that were out looking for it,” Fritzen said.
‘All I Wanted to Do Was Beat Him Up and Rob Him’
Asked directly whether he targeted and attacked Shepard because he was gay, McKinney told Vargas, “No. I did not. … I would say it wasn’t a hate crime. All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him.”
But if the attackers were just trying to rob someone to get a drug fix, why did they beat Shepard so savagely?
Rerucha attributes McKinney’s rage and his savage beating of Shepard to his drug abuse. “The methamphetamine just fueled to this point where there was no control. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible murder. It was a murder that was once again driven by drugs,” Rerucha said.
Dr. Rick Rawson, a professor at UCLA who has studied the link between methamphetamine and violence, tells “20/20” the drug can trigger episodes of violent behavior.
“In the first weeks after you’ve stopped using it, the kinds of triggers that can set off an episode are completely unpredictable. It can be: you say a word with the wrong inflection, you touch someone on the shoulder. It’s completely unpredictable as to what will set somebody off” Rawson said.
“If Aaron McKinney had not become involved with methamphetamine, Matthew Shepard would be alive today,” Rerucha said.
Do you see what I mean when I say how despicable Foxx’s attackers are? They know very little about the facts themselves, yet they proceeded to call her “vile,” part of the “fringe,” a “liar,” “extreme” and worst of all, in favor of “preventing people from getting justice.” Um, excuse me, but what party is it that so routinely argues in favor of sympathy and understanding for murderers, again?
Every one of Foxx’s critics owe her an apology. She is basing her information on reports like the one I referenced above from ABC. Media Matters and some of the other far left websites are basing their “facts” on incomplete news stories that came out a year after Shepard was murdered.
What Foxx’s critics are trying to do is not unlike the smear the NAACP tried against then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000 over the 1998 murder of James Byrd – who was black, by three white men who beat him, chained his body to the back of a pick up truck, drove it on on a dirt road, murdered him and then dumped his body in a nearby cemetery. The ads the NAACP ran that year went like this:
[Background sound: deep, eerie metallic; later fade in low clanking]
Renee Mullins (voice over): I’m Renee Mullins, James Byrd’s daughter.
On June 7, 1998 in Texas my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged 3 miles to his death, all because he was black.
So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.
Call Governor George W. Bush and tell him to support hate-crime legislation.
We won’t be dragged away from our future.
Here was the longer version of that ad:
Renee Mullins: I’m Renee Mullins. My father was James Byrd, Jr.
I still have nightmares thinking about him, the day three men chained him behind their pickup truck and dragged him three miles over pavement.
I can see skin being torn away from his body.
I can hear him gasping for air.
I can feel the tears in his eyes, the struggle of his brain as images of his life painfully bang through his head as the links of a heavy chain clinched around his ankles dragging him bump by bump until he was decapitated. [pause]
On June 7, 1998 this happened to my father, all because he was black. I went to Governor George W. Bush and begged him to help pass a hate crimes bill.
He just told me no.
I’m doing this commercial to ask you to call Governor Bush at 512-X and tell him to introduce a hate crimes bill in Texas.
Let him know that our community won’t be dragged down by hate crimes.
Male Voice: Funded by Americans for Equality, a project of the NAACP National Voter Fund.
What did that ad not tell you? That two of the three killers received the death penalty, a form of punishment for heinous crimes that “Cowboy Dubya” supported so much to the point that he was heavily criticized by the anti-DP crowd for allegedly not taking enough time to review death row cases as Governor of TX.
Shepard’s and Byrd’s respective murders were appalling and gruesome, something no one should ever have to go through – fortunately their cases were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But both of their deaths have also been used by grandstanding, opportunistic Democrats to paint opponents of “hate crimes” legislation as being people who don’t want to see so-called “targeted groups” get justice. But justice was served in these two cases – without hate crime legislation. In the case of Byrd, two of his three killers were sentenced to the harshest punishment allowed by law for a murder that was clearly motivated by race. As to Shepard’s killers, who were motivated by money and drugs, one of them pled guilty to avoid the DP, while the other one was spared the DP only thanks to the fact that Shepard’s parents didn’t believe in it. He’s serving two consecutive life terms.
The “vile, extremist liars” are not people like Virginia Foxx, who spoke the truth based on reports published long after the murder of Shepard, but instead are the shameless Democrats who use the death and suffering of others as Absolute Moral Authority cards in attempts to shut down the debate and advance their agenda – and in this instance, one that makes crimes that happen to certain groups of people “worse” than the same crimes that happen to those not designated as being part of a “targeted group.”
Once again, we see the party that routinely claims it’s the one that truly wants an “open, honest debate” on the issues attempting to use shame as a tool to shut the debate down.