In a bit of throat-clearing before launching into a much-praised blame-the-liberals screed at The American Thinker yesterday, Christopher Chantrill said this about Naveed Haq, who's charged with shooting up a Jewish center in Seattle:
Although Seattle is the very enemy of "hate," Haq will not be prosecuted for a hate crime, according to Seattle Times reporters. He will be prosecuted under state murder laws.
Chantrill added sarcastically:
That's as it should be. The hate crime laws were designed with right-wing militias and gay-bashers in mind. They were never intended to be used against Muslim hatemongers and Jew-baiters.
Alas for Chantrill, he doesn't have the slightest idea what the hate-crime laws "were designed for," as The Seattle Times makes clear today while explaining why the application of these statutes to this shooting isn't the no-brainer it might seem to be:
...Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Lang ... and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake, who handles civil-rights and hate-crime prosecutions for the office, said proving a hate crime under federal law might be more difficult than it would seem, regardless of Haq's reported statements.
"Hate by itself is not enough," Miyake said. "It's sort of hate-'plus.' "
The "plus," Miyake explained, requires the government to prove that more than race, religious preference or national origin was a factor in the crime. "You also have to be able to show that the individual was interfering with a federally protected right," such as voting, using interstate commerce or attempting to use a public facility.
That's because the law harkens to the civil-rights struggle of the early 1960s, when blacks were assaulted for attempting to eat at segregated lunch counters or to register to vote.
Still, there may be a section of the statute under which Haq could be prosecuted in federal court, Miyake and Lang said. For example, one of the federally protected rights cited by the law is "applying for or enjoying employment."
"The mere fact that they were in the act of working may be enough," Lang said....
Which brings up another point Chantrill failed to grasp: The decision to apply hate-crime laws hasn't actually been made yet.
...King County prosecutors are moving toward filing aggravated-murder and attempted-murder charges against Haq, perhaps as early as Wednesday, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office. Also at the state's disposal is a malicious-harassment charge -- the state's version of a hate-crime law -- that could add up to five years to any sentence if Haq is convicted. Donohoe, however, said no final decision has been made as to what charges will be filed.
...A conviction on state murder charges would not require the state to prove that hate was a motive for the crime.
Nor would it prohibit the federal government from pursuing its own hate-crime charges. ...
Sorry if none of this fits your conspiracy theory, Christopher.