I received this from my Senator last Friday. I had signed a petition that went to both of them, but the other one, the one who was running for President doesn't usually bother with my correspondence.
Perhaps I should content myself with the idea that they will allot some money (that will probably never be signed over, like so many other programs) and do some studies. I'm sorry, I'm not!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding federal hate crimes. I appreciate your insight into this complex legal issue.
In April, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. 1105, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This legislation imposes criminal penalties for willful bodily harm motived by race, religion, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. It also authorizes the U.S. Attorney General to provide assistance to state and local governments for the prosecution of crimes motivated by race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. S. 1105 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaits consideration.
Recently, the Senate passed H.R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act. During consideration of this bill, Senator Kennedy introduced an amendment similar to S. 1105. I voted against the amendment. However, it was approved by the Senate. I had several concerns with this amendment. We must be cautious in giving preferential treatment to select classes of victims. Every American is entitled to equal justice regardless of personal characteristics.
However, I voted for an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to authorize $5 million in funding to assist states and local governments in prosecuting hate crimes. The amendment also requires a federal study of the prevalence of hate crimes. At this point the Senate bill will be referred to a conference committee where conferees will resolve the differences between the Senate and House versions of the Defense Authorization Act.
Again thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at http://roberts.senate.gov. You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter that will provide additional updates on my work for Kansas.
With every best wish,
I am in my early 50's and have seen a bit of life. I am a Vietnam Era Navy veteran, and was aboard the USS Kittyhawk on the WestPac cruise after several sailors were murdered on board her during race riots. I grew up with my Dad using words that I shan't repeat here to describe people of other races and of other origins because he had grown up in southern Oklahoma and thought that he could and that no one had a right to tell him not to. This included his son, who had his teeth put through his lip for his trouble.
I remember the race riots here in Kansas City and being terrified that my Dad could be killed because one of the Milgram stores he was a supervisor over was in the affected neighborhood. I also remember pondering the irony of that possibility and the language he used to describe the people of that neighborhood!
I remember his Wallace campaign button from those years...
My point, Sir, is that had it not been for the Civil Rights Acts of the mid 1960's, a whole group of citizens would have continued to be treated as they had been for a hundred years before that. It took Federal law, not state or local, to make their abuse stop!
Two years ago, in Lawrence, Kansas on a KU football weekend two students walking down Mass. Avenue were beaten by some Nebraska fans because they thought they were gay. Because they thought they could do that, because they thought they "had the right". Had it happened in other cities in this state, I'm not sure it would have been pursued with the same vigor it was in Lawrence.
Recently, in Montana, a girl was followed and beaten in the same manner. It took letters to the editor of the local newspaper to get an investigation begun there.
There is no excuse for this in this day and time! Until there is a Federal law on the books that says "if you don't deal with this, we will" it will continue just like the crimes we look at as hideous from earlier days in our history!
This is the time, Sir!
Please re-think your position on this?
The child you save could be my grandchild! Or yours!
There were many other things I would love to have thrown in, but feared that were it any longer it wouldn't be read at all. As it is, I haven't heard anything back from his office, and usually I get an acknowledgement of receipt.
The last letter that arrived at my home from my other Senator, the one who usually doesn't bother, was addressed to "Ms." and my first name. Guess we know what the former presidential candidate feels about me!
I had planned to post this tonight, but have some shopping I need to slip out and do early tomorrow, so plan on coming home and getting to bed "early" tonight as I possibly can. I have a 40% off coupon for Borders that expires tomorrow, and there is a "Heroes" box set that has Dottie's name written on it if I can get there before work...