Hate Crime Victim Ryan Skipper’s Rep, Tom Feeney: No Need for Hate Crime Bill

Let the party begin! Rep. Tom Feeney rings the bell opening the American Stock Exchange.

This just in from Vicki Nantz, an independent film maker planning a documentary on Ryan Skipper, whose March murder in Central Florida is being investigated as a hate crime.

I recently wrote U.S. House Representative, Tom Feeney, Republican of Central Florida, and asked him why he does not support federal hate crime legislation that includes the gay and lesbian community. Why are acts of brutality, physical assaults and murder, which are meant to intimidate and terrorize the LGBT community, not included in our current, or likely-to-be-passed federal hate crime laws – the legislation that President Bush has promised to veto. I received written correspondence yesterday from Feeney that included the following:

…”I do not support specialized punishment for particular mentalities. This idea singles out groups for special treatment…When someone is murdered because the killer does not like the color of their skin, that killer deserves harsh punishment; but the killer deserves it because the victim is a human, not because of the killer’s hateful thoughts…Justice ultimately ought to be based on the fundamental worth of a human being and not the thoughts of the specific criminal…I hope in the near future crime legislation can be voted on that protects all equally and punishes the offender for the crime committed and not the thoughts in his mind.”

And yet Feeney and the other overwhelmingly Republican, antigay hypocrites like him have voted in support of federal legislation that does punish people for the thoughts in their minds. The following is part of the U.S. Code, federal law currently being followed in this country:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 113B

CHAPTER 113B—TERRORISM

(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and…

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping…

Clearly, hypocritical Representative Feeney, President Bush and the American religious extremists who decry inclusive hate crime legislation as being “thought crime” legislation reveal much behind their own selective, hate-filled thoughts. It is that same base thinking that led to the murders of Matthew Shephard and Ryan Skipper, and the dozens more LGBT murders and innumerable of acts of brutal violence that most people have never bothered to know about.

Use your voice. Use your votes.

Thanks Vicki. We agree with everything you said and find it particularly upsetting that Ryan’s own representatives, and those of his family and friends, can’t see the need for hate crime legislation.

But Tom Feeney’s words mean nothing. Feeney was among a group of fellow members of Congress investigated by the FBI because they were known by jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff to be for sale.

Feeney, former speaker of the Florida House, is one of three men who were U.S. House members when they accompanied Abramoff to Scotland on trips that included rounds of golf at the legendary Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews.

The others: former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who is serving prison time for corruption related to his Abramoff relationship, and former House Republican leader Tom DeLay, who was indicted in an unrelated Texas fundraising case and is under investigation in the Abramoff case.

One comment

  • July 6, 2007 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting about Rep. Feeney’s response. I have linked to your post at:

    http://www.hatecrimesbill.org/2007/07/according-to-tr.html

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