Sunday, November 30, 2008

Will you be protected from a hate crime?

On the subject of hate crimes and police protection, we have this week the example of the Bombay terror attacks. 10 men apparently were able to kill 300 people (so far, anyway) using rifles and grenades. No fancy gas or suicide bombing, just plain ol' blast away. In a modern city (which Bombay most certainly is) how is such a thing possible?

Eye witness tells all.

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."

As the gunmen fired at policemen taking cover across the street, Mr D'Souza realised a train was pulling into the station unaware of the horror within. "I couldn't believe it. We rushed to the platform and told everyone to head towards the back of the station. Those who were older and couldn't run, we told them to stay put."

The militants returned inside the station and headed towards a rear exit towards Chowpatty Beach. Mr D'Souza added: "I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."

You hear that a lot in eye witness accounts of attacks like this.

There is the example of the Luby's Cafeteria atrocity in Killeen Texas. Suzanna Hupp famously testified to Congress that she would have been able to end that massacre before it started, but for the law that required her to leave her gun in her car. That's where it was when she watched the man kill her parents, nice and safe in the glove compartment... and completely useless.

At the Columbine high school massacre, the two killers started shooting at 11:19 am, police entered the building at 1:09pm. They had free rein for two hours.

There are many more examples. "Call 911 and die" is a famous saying for a reason. Cops are not motivated to take a bullet for you. The pay is good, but not that good.

Let us take Paladiea's posting in hand now. The Toronto Star report on the assault states a man started punching out two gay women in the school parking lot, and that this man had threatened them before. The only reason he didn't put them both in the hospital (or kill them) was other people in the parking lot stopped him. Those two women got lucky, in other words. Good Samaritans were on hand to save their asses.

Point being, the two women were not in a position to save themselves from one unarmed asshole who decided to beat them up on the spur of the moment. They were prevented, by law, from having weapons that would equalize their ability to fight with the much larger and stronger man who attacked them, a person who had threatened them before. Just as the photographer and Suzanna Hupp were prevented.

If I were the type of person who despised gays and wanted to hurt them, I'd find this legal regime entirely to my liking. Same deal if I were a terrorist. Lots of nice fat targets waiting unarmed, like sheep in the fold.

Paladiea's response to the incident is interesting. She seems much less interested in empowering women, visible minorities and other target groups (like Christians) to protect themselves from attack than she does in using government to preemptively punish groups she feels are responsible for the attacks. Primarily men, from her comments.

This leads me to think perhaps she may not be interested in in preventing hate crimes at all, but rather in taking revenge after the fact. This is not a wholesome attitude.

For myself, it is my firm conviction that justice is best served by the intended victim upon the attacker, during the attack. Call me crazy, but two short, weak little chicks sticking guns in the big, strong man's face seems a better impulse control lesson for him than fines and sensitivity training.

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