“There aren’t that many hate crimes occurring in the country” – Tucker Carlson (2-22-19)

Tucker Carlson - caricature by DonkeyHotey

Black and gay Empire star Jesse Smollett made up a story about being attacked; his lie may have far reaching consequences, especially for Fox viewers. From now on, regardless of the facts, they will be told by Fox that all hate crimes are just “snowflake” mirages. And, because Fox viewers believe all other news sources are biased, don’t try to confuse them with reality.

The truth’s much different. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the national authority on hate crimes. The SPLC documented the rise in hate groups over the last few years. Pre-Trump (2015) there were 892 groups. The number has grown every year since, with 2018 seeing 1020 hate groups, 17 in South Carolina.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has indicated much the same. There were nearly 2000 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, up 60% nationally from the year before. Some were very serious, including 163 bomb threats.

FBI 2017 statistics, which only include crimes reported to the authorities and thus under-report, show the fallacy of Carlson’s statement. The FBI documented over 8000 hate related offenses. The breakdown of these offenses was: 60% racial/ethnic; 21% religious (mostly against Jews); and the rest primarily sexual orientation. Over three fourths were committed against individuals versus institutions.

As usual, Carlson was ridiculously non-objective in his zeroing in on the Smollett incident. Just one week before the Carlson rant, Coast Guard Lt. Chris Hasson was arrested by the FBI and accused of planning a mass terror attack. His target list included liberal TV news personalities and Senators, among others. What has Carlson said about this hate crimes case? Nothing at all, naturally.

Advocating a “white homeland,” Hasson, who has been in the military for decades, has written that he was a “skinhead” and wants whites to “wake up.” And, he’s not the only one having been in our military with these views. Look up Tim McVeigh, Michael Tubbs, and Louis Beam. How many other current members of our Armed Forces feel the same? Why haven’t these folks already been weeded out of our defense forces?

Carlson was correct in one way; hate crimes against white, old-money, upper-class Episcopalians like him are rare (especially in lily white La Jolla where he’s from). As historian Rutger Bregman told him on air in a segment which never ran: “You are a millionaire funded by billionaires, that’s what you are.”

 But Carlson and others need to accept that this is an increasingly diverse country and folks like him are not in the majority…certainly not in the growing multi-ethnic, multi-racial millennial group. The rest of us should be and are concerned about hate and violence, especially in the age of “both sides” are equally wrong Trumpism.

It is very encouraging that Georgia, one of 5 states with no hate crimes statute, is finally recognizing that there is a problem there. It is significant that a new Hate Crimes bill (HB 426) has been sponsored in the Georgia House by a Republican, Rep. Efstration (note: Georgia’s 2000 Hate Crimes bill was declared invalid by Georgia’s Supreme Court). And, the Indiana Senate just passed a similar bill. That will leave SC as one of only three states without hate crimes legislation, although bills have been introduced every year since the Charleston massacre.

As an ADL spokeswoman said: “Hate crimes are different… Hate crimes are felt by entire communities, and when they are not adequately addressed, entire communities feel isolated, disenfranchised, unsafe and threatened.” Now is the time to act, South Carolina legislators. Now, not later.

###

Image Credit: Tucker Carlson - caricature by DonkeyHotey via Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.