Privacy, stupid behavior and hate crime

This Tyler Clementi story is all over the news. And fair warning, I am about to be an insensitive jerk.

I get that his privacy was invaded, and that was wrong. But apparently I’m supposed to have sympathy for the guy because he jumped off a bridge and killed himself. And I just don’t. I’m sure he felt really bad about having his privacy invaded, and maybe he wasn’t prepared for people to know he was gay. I don’t know what he was thinking. But as someone who has been to that dark place where death seems like a good idea, I gotta say, the guy wussed out. He took the coward’s way.

Yes, his death is a sad thing. He was probably a nice guy, and I am sure his friends and family will miss him terribly. But that doesn’t change the fact that he decided to make the ultimate action of running away from everything. He didn’t choose to face the problems. He ran away. He gave in to despair, and killed himself. That is selfish and cowardly. And he does not deserve my sympathy for that.

To the guy who decided it would be fun to stream Tyler Clementi’s private moments to the internet without Clementi’s permission, I gotta ask, what kind of stupid juice were you drinking that day? Or are you just that much of an imbecile all the time? Your invasion of another person’s privacy, streaming the video out to the internet, so obviously wrong on so many levels. What sort of moron does that? What the frak is wrong with you? I hope you have no friends left. Everyone who knows you should be suspicious of you from now on. You deserve to have your friends turn their backs on you. And you deserve to be prosecuted and publicly humiliated for your crime.

That said, I much hope the guy who invaded Clementi’s privacy is not prosecuted for a hate crime. I don’t like the idea of hate crime because it amounts to punishing a person based what he thinks, and that just is not right, moral, just or anything good. And if this story turns into a debate about hate crime, it will become a platform for people to push hate crime legislation and tougher hate crime penalties. While that will assuage a lot of people’s self-centered indignation (in other words, make them feel better about themselves), it won’t actually help anyone or do anything for justice or the protection of rights. The person who invaded Clementi’s privacy will already be prosecuted and punished for his crime. That and some public humiliation is enough.

Hate crime legislation is not about justice. It’s about vengeance, and that should have no place in our justice system.

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