If you’re worried about the social media monopolies censoring speech, just be happy they can’t put you in prison.
Federal prosecutors are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally—isn’t this the “paper” anniversary?—by indicting James Fields for “hate.”
Fields has already been charged with murder in state court. (I would think that “hate” would be subsumed by a murder charge.)
But the federal “hate crimes” statute allows the feds to skirt the Constitution’s ban on double jeopardy—at least for certain kinds of “hate.”
—The stabbing of Yankel Rosenbaum by assailants yelling “Get the Jew!”: NOT a federal hate crime.
—The brutal kidnapping and murder of a young white couple in Knoxville, Tennessee, by black youths: NOT a federal hate crime.
—The torture of a mentally disabled kid in Chicago, by assailants saying “F—- white people!” and “F—- Trump!”: NOT a federal hate crime. (Curiously, none of the attackers was Sarah Jeong.)
—A white man killing a white woman by driving into a crowd of left-wing protesters: THAT’S a federal hate crime.
To make their case, prosecutors did a deep dive into Fields’ social media postings to prove that, yes, while he might have killed a white woman in this particular case, he’s still a racist.
The second paragraph of the indictment states:
“Prior to August 12, 2017, Defendant JAMES ALEX FIELDS JR. obtained multiple social media accounts, which he used to express his beliefs regarding race, national origin, religion and other topics. On these accounts, FIELDS expressed and promoted his belief that white people are superior to other races and peoples; expressed support of the social and racial policies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi-era Germany, including the Holocaust; and espoused violence against African Americans, Jewish people and members of other racial, ethnic and religious groups he perceived to be non-white. FIELDS also expressed these views directly in interactions with individuals known to him.”
Wait—what? Again, Fields is a white man charged with murdering a white woman.
This is a prosecution of Fields for Bad Thought, utterly oblivious to not only the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause, but the free speech clause and also simple common sense. It’s like a parody of what serious people feared about criminalizing “hate.”
Contrary to common belief on college campuses, there is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. Pimply teenaged boys writing snotty remarks about blacks and Jews is every bit as constitutionally protected as an Asian girl on The New York Times’ editorial board writing snotty things about white men, although the latter pays better.
It turns out that hating the wrong people is a far graver crime than murder. (And hating the right people gets you a job at the Times!)
During his commission of one of the worst mass shootings in our history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Omar Mateen made damn sure that no one would think he was a racist, explaining, “I don’t have a problem with black people,” adding, “You guys suffered enough.”
Mass murderer? Yes, fine, he was that. But no one was going to call Omar Mateen a “racist.”
Similarly, the federal prosecutor in Fields’ case has charged the defendant with being something worse than a murderer—they say he’s a racist.
What if he’s found not guilty of murder?