Atlanta has been in the news a bit lately, and not in a good way. A video clip of a pretty brutal beating that took place in metro Atlanta was posted online this week. The police were notified, and an investigation began. It turns out that the beating was of Brandon White, a 20 year old man who is openly gay.
The video and the news coverage following its posting online has prompted calls for legislation providing more strict punishments for hate crimes. It’s not uncommon to hear calls for increased legislation after something like this happens, but we need to remember that hate crime legislation legally elevates one group over another.
We can’t legislate how people feel. Hatred will, unfortunately, always exist in the hearts of man. Laws that intend to protect people from how others feel about them do more harm than good. Instead of promoting equality, they push for division, giving preferential treatment to one group of people over another.
The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
All men are created equal; our founding fathers said it was self-evident. We must come to a point where we can understand that there is not one person who is any more or less important than another. All men are created equal and have unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The people who attacked Brandon White should be punished to the fullest extent of the law for what they did, but their punishment should be no more (or less) than if they attacked anyone else for any other reason.
We must insist on full, equal protection under the law – not just for select groups of people, but for everyone. Only when the law protects all of us equally will we be recognizing what the Declaration of Independence says – that all men are created equal.