Monday, September 25, 2006

Hate Crimes And Family Values

Advance Indiana has doggedly advocated the enactment of a hate crimes law, which would allow prosecutors to seek enhanced sentencing of criminals who commit crimes against persons and property because of prejudice based on a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation or other form of bias. Both candidates for Marion County prosecutor support such a law. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi tried to get legislators to introduce legislation this year, but he was told it wasn’t going to happen in a short session. Democratic candidate Melina Kennedy says she’s embarrassed that Indiana hasn’t enacted a law. Only four other states—Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Wyoming—don’t have such a law.

Opponents of such a law claim that you are punishing people for thought rather than the act they committed. But what the law really accomplishes is tougher punishment based on the person’s intent. People committing crimes against a person because of their race, or because they are gay, have accepted a dehumanized image of their victim. This perception in the criminal's mind makes the crime justified because civil laws apply only to “normal” human beings, not sub-humans or animals.

In its worst form it results in such things as the 1930 Marion, Indiana lynching, where local residents dragged accused, innocent black men from their jail cells and hung them as a large crowd approvingly watched. In 1998, the nation was shocked when two Wyoming men robbed, severely beat Matthew Shepard, tied him to a fence and left him to die. The attackers used the so-called gay panic defense to justify their crimes—he allegedly made sexual advances toward them. They were not, however, charged with a hate crime because Wyoming did not and does not to this day have such a law.

Whether it is the lynching in Indiana or Shepard’s gay beating death in Wyoming, the problem lies in the prejudices people are taught early in life. As Shepard’s mother Judy has said:

Matt is no longer with us today because the men who killed him learned to hate. Somehow and somewhere they received the message that the lives of gay people are not as worthy of respect, dignity and honor as the lives of other people.
Unfortunately, these are not just isolated incidents. While hates crimes committed because of a person’s race have been on the decline, reported crimes committed against a person because of their sexual orientation have been rising. One of the worst such incidents happened right here in Marion County after the Shepard crime in 1999, and the crime was committed by none other than the grandson of Rep. Julia Carson (D), who has publicly advocated positions in support of gay civil rights. Jamie Carson, then-18, broke into the home of two gay men with two accomplices, forced them to perform sex acts on each other at gunpoint, burned them with a steam iron, tied them together and taunted them with homophobic remarks. One of the men was forced to drink a mixture of urine and bleach. Vic Ryckaert of the Star reported on Carson’s victims in April 13, 2002 edition:

An Indianapolis man was found guilty of brutalizing two men during a 1999 robbery in an attack a prosecutor called a hate crime.

After a one-day trial Friday in Marion Superior Court, Judge Patricia Gifford convicted Jamie C. Carson, 20, of six felony charges and one misdemeanor in connection with the October 28, 1999, sexual assault and torture of two men in a Northwest side apartment.

“In this particular case, it happened because they were homosexual,” said Deputy Prosecutor Richard Plath. “There’s no question that this is a hate crime, and we are going to push for that at sentencing.”

Indiana does not have a law that addresses hate crimes, Plath said, but such acts can be used to justify tougher sentences.

Carson is scheduled to be sentenced May 10. Plath said the charges carried a maximum penalty of 240 years in prison.

Police say Carson and two accomplices forced the men at gunpoint to perform sex acts on each other. The victims were tied up and burned with a steam iron. One was forced to drink a mixture of bleach and urine.

Carson’s fingerprint was found on the steam iron. Carson, who was allowed to act as his own co-counsel with the assistance of public defender Bob Hill, claimed the evidence was planted by police.

The judge said she did not believe his argument.

“The fact that the defendant’s fingerprint was found on one of the items used to torture these men is extremely telling,” Gifford said.

One victim, Eric Heyob, testified that the horrific events replay over and over in his
mind.

“The pain is indescribable,” Heyob, 26, said after the verdict. “Now, here today, the verdict is a sigh of relief.”

Heyob agreed to be identified. The Indianapolis Star does not normally identify sexual assault victims without their permission.

Carson, the grandson of U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, was convicted of robbery, attempted robbery, two counts of criminal deviate conduct and two counts of criminal confinement. He also was convicted of the misdemeanor of carrying a handgun without a license.

The congresswoman, a Democrat who represents parts of Indianapolis, was not in court Friday. When contacted after the trial, Julia Carson’s staff said she was not available to comment on the case . . .
In an earlier report at a bond hearing in the November 6, 1999 edition of the Star, Jamie Carson, who was also charged with several other homes invasions, the Star reported that “members of both the Hispanic and gay community showed up in court to make it known they wanted Carson in jail.” The Star added, “Many of the victims in the robberies are Hispanic, and police believe they were targeted in part because most of them do not speak English and would have problems communicating about the attacks.”

Carson’s grandson committed these crimes at the age of 18. The deep-seated prejudices he held towards gays and Hispanics were no doubt learned at home. While Carson boasts of her record on gay and minority issues, she was noticeably silent when her grandson was charged and convicted. She offered no explanations and no apologies on behalf of her family. Even worse, she was never publicly questioned by the GLBT or Hispanic community, or asked to apologize to the victims and the affected minority communities.

Carson was very quick this past week, however, to drag out an unproven, 15-year-old charge against her Republican opponent, Eric Dickerson. “He beat his wife to a pulp,” she claimed. Although both Dickerson and his wife, the alleged victim, denied the charge, Carson justified raising the issue because she says her mother was a victim of domestic violence and Dickerson was pretending to be “Mr. Righteous”. Carson, whose has had her own tumultuous, broken marriages, was careful not to claim to be a victim of such abuse herself. She knew better. If her broken marriages, failed businesses, self-dealing and scofflaw ways were laid bare the same way she opened one day in Mr. Dickerson’s life up to scrutiny fifteen years ago, she would be run out of town.

While some in the gay community have criticized Advance Indiana for raising questions about Carson because of her past support for GLBT issues, it is impossible to separate the private actions from her public life. A person’s private actions often speak louder than their public actions, and that is the case with Rep. Carson. She screams racism and negative campaigning whenever she is asked legitimate questions about her actions in public office. At the same time, she has proven in campaign after campaign a willingness to drag up old charges against her political opponents, which play on people’s prejudices. When her opponents are African-American-males, she and her campaign operatives drag up charges that play to white people’s worst stereotypes of black men. When her opponent is a gay man, she and her operatives drag up charges to play on straight people’s worst stereotypes of gay men. These are the values she teaches her family, and her political operatives.

Yes, Indiana needs a hate crime law. We need a hate crime law because when Carson-like “family values” are taught to our children, we are forced to live in a community that shuns diversity and promotes fear and hatred towards those who are different than us. But we also need leaders who reflect true “family values”. Look at Rep. Carson and her family, and then take a look at Eric Dickerson’s life-time achievements, service to his country and, most importantly, his "unbroken" family. Whose children were taught true "family values"? Whose family would you want your family to be like?

UPDATE: An Advocate story about one of Carson's victims came to my attention today. Joshua Runnels tells the Advocate in 2002 of his nightmare ordeal. The article begins: "It took three years, but Indiana resident Joshua Runnels finally got justice on May 10 when Jamie Carson, the ringleader of three men who broke into his house and tortured him and his roommate in an antigay attack, was sentenced to 120 years in prison. Carson, 20, is the grandson of U.S. representative Julia Carson, an Indiana Democrat." To continue reading, click here.

33 comments:

kelly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wilson46201 said...

Ms. Carson had next-to-nothing to do with the raising of that monster. As close as I am to Ms. Carson and her family, I was unaware that such a grandson even existed until the horrible crimes happened.

The GOP through a gay Republican has sunk to new depths. Dickerson's wife-beatings were known to neighbors and confirmed by the horrendous arrest record. So you defend a wife-beater and slander a nationally known champion of gay rights...

Sir, at last, have you no decency?

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely true what they did to Kris Kiser. Wilson was a part of the whole thing. Have you any shame Wilson? How could a gay man like you be a part of making up such lies to destroy the career of a successful gay professional. He can't get a job to this day because of the lies you spread about him.

Anonymous said...

Wilson said, "a nationally known champion of gay rights..."

Hawhawhaw, heeheehee, aahh, aahh, whew,hhooohh,hoooh, hawhawhaw . . .
Your're really funny Wilson.

Wilson46201 said...

Eric Dickerson pseudonymously at "Taking Down Words" already was hawking the grandson story. Why am I not surprised that AI would pick it up so delightedly?

This year the GOP wants to avoid talking about Bush, Katrina, Iraq, etc and localize all elections. Smearing the well-known gay-friendly candidate is a way of doing it. And it took a gay Republican blogger to do the dirty deed ...

Advance Indiana said...

Wilson, that's another one of your lies. There's only one candidate trying to discuss the issues and that's Dickerson. Why won't Julia debate him. She refused to debate her last opponent. And she walked out of the last debate before that she agreed to appear at. She will never put herself before the cameras and her constituents and answer questions. Don't you trust her to stand and speak for herself?

Anonymous said...

AI
One difference worth noting is when you talk about a candidates OWN criminal history versus the criminal history of a relative. I think the candidate usually has to own up to his or her own personal conduct, but a relative is a bit of a stretch? This is a terrible story, though, I must admit.

Wilson46201 said...

Ms. Carson is out and about - she has a job in DC to do this week. She was at the Latina Rally Against Domestic Violence this weekend - certainly didn't see Dickerson there!

She debated Andy Horning live on Channel 8 and also at Robin Run Village. She told me she expects the same with Dickerson...

When a challenger is so far behind and so underfunded, it doesn't make a lot of sense to give him free publicity through a plethora of debates, does it now?

Advance Indiana said...

I don't disagree in general anon 10:07. Carson, however, will not answer any questions about her actions in public office, including serious allegations of wrongdoing, let alone her personal life. When confronted with these questions, she simply accuses her opponents of racism and negative campaigning. By contrast, she expects her opponents' personal lives to be cracked open like a peanut.

Wilson46201 said...

Serious allegations of wrongdoing in public life? from whom? The batshit crazy twins, Jocelyn and Darla? When you are just making shit up, no proof can ever be produced...

The Russians have an old saying: "Any stick will do to beat the horse." Ms. Carson has long shrugged off numerous attacks her entire successful political career - Gary Welsh is just the latest bearer of bullshit. He probably won't be the last either ...

The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

New ED Volunteer said...

I am a life long Democrat - but to read this I am ashamed.

Mr. Wilson - I see on Mr. Dickerson calendar he is going to be at many community events that are open to all candidates - such as the Holy Angels Catholic Church Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 29th and the Indiana Authors Bookstore - Q and A on Sept. 30th that both candidates are invited to. I also see on Oct. 3rd the Community forum - Impact of blogs on this congressional race, on Oct 11th the Indpls Assn of Health Underwriters "Meet the Candidates" Forum and Oct 12th Arsenal Heights Civic League meeting.

Since you seem to have a inside track to Mrs. Carson and there is no way to see her schedule on any of her web sites - do you know if she will be attending any of the above events, Q and A's and such so the public can ask BOTH Candidates questions on the issues that seem so near and dear to your heart ?

From all that I have seen and read and listened to - I am telling all of my Democratic friends to Vote for Mr. Dickerson.

Sir Hailstone said...

"When a challenger is so far behind and so underfunded, it doesn't make a lot of sense to give him free publicity through a plethora of debates, does it now?"

Underfunded? So far behind? Just because the treasury is low on the day the report is done doesn't mean he's out of money. You know sort of like how car dealers would sell off their inventory before March 1st to avoid paying inventory taxes. "so far behind" ... the only poll that matters is the one on election day. Several polls that aren't tainted by the mainstream media are showing Eric getting closer and closer. And "free publicity" or not, your candidate would be resoundly beaten in a debate even with half of Eric's mind tied behind his back. So how does your candidate get thru her day anyway? Wild Irish Rose? Thunderbird? Olde English 800?

Face it your days of being cozy with those in power are numbered.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it was Carson's grandson--but she raised him. If this is not a reflection on Ms. Carson, I'm not sure what would be.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Wilson.

I'm sure Ms. Carson wouldn't openly mention her most public failure--the grandson she raised, Jaimie Carson.

Anonymous said...

The "honorable" Ms. Carson can't use the "in D.C." excuse after this week. Congress will be out of session. What's next?? Is she going to break a hip??

Fed up said...

You are calling us dog?

So that's what Julia taught you while you were in her employ. My god, no wonder her grandson was a monster.

Anonymous said...

Advance Indiana:

Wilson Allen is a idiot.

It seems to me that Julia Carson knew about the the Latino Domestic Violence Rally last week.
On Monday, she met with the Star's editorial board and setup Eric Dickerson. The controversy was to continue through the weekend for the rally supporters to associate Mr. Dickerson with domestic violence.

Julia Carson knew it would come up so to get in front of the story of her grandson's hate crimes against Hispanic/Latinos, she tied both together.

She didn't admit to fights she had with her own husbands, and the acts of violence she committed when they walked out on her for other women.

Wilson if you are so close to the family, what was her 2nd husband's name, the retired military one and where is he now? Why did he file for a divorce from Julia Carson?

I bet he has some stories to tell about her.

Vote Her Out said...

Wilson Allen 46201: It appears that you are her official spokesperson. so tell us, recess for Congress begins Friday, October 6th.

From October 7 through November 6th. Where will Julia Carson be appearing? Do you have her calendar published? If not, why not?

She is known for showing up late and leaving early so the public can't ask her any questions.

She can't hide for 30 days unless she is admitted to the hospital. Oops! I just gave her an excuse to avoid the public until election day.

Wilson46201 said...

As I said earlier - she did not raise that grandson. She never spoke of him before that horrible crime.

I know not Ms. Carson's schedule. She is not some newcomer to the political process, rushing desperately from event to event during the election season. For many years she has been to a number of activities in Indpls. Folk know her well. She was at several public events last Sunday...

Wilson46201 said...

Folk interested in both candidates' positions on the issues can check them out in detail at www.vote-smart.org

New ED Volunteer said...

Mr. Wilson,

You claim that she wants to talk issues.

It is interesting how you know so much about her but not her schedule ? Do you go to all of these events that she has been at ? Is it ESP that tells you were to go to be where she is at ?

But how am I the average citizen supposed to find out where I can hear and see her talk ?

Interesting how you charactorize Mr. Dickerson as rushing to events and Mrs. Carson just being at several events. Could it be that she is rushing to events to be seen after seeing Mr. Dickerson schedule ?

It seems folk seem to know Mr. Dickerson well and can see where he is at and can actually hear him speak on the issues.

That is the kind of person I want in office. One that is accessable - not shielded from the voter.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 1930 Marion lynching -- one thing to note is that the two men who were lynched were not innocent, as you stated. They did shoot and kill a man, as witnessed by two people, and one of then admitted it. They didn't rape the woman who was with the victim (that was used as another reason for the lynching).

That certainly doesn't excuse them being dragged from jail, brutally tortured and then hung while hundreds of people watched, all without any due process, or the beating and almost hanging of a third man who was later tried and proven innocent.

Wilson46201 said...

from "Political Wire"

Negative Ads Central to Republican Strategy

The Los Angeles Times says mudslinging is becoming "a key strategy in the Republican political arsenal as the party fights to keep control of Congress: going negative and personal, early and often."

"While President Bush and national GOP leaders are attacking Democrats on such big issues as national security and America's role in the world, individual Republicans are hitting their opponents hard -- below the belt, some critics say -- on personal and local issues."

"Negative campaigning is hardly new, and Democrats are dishing dirt against Republicans too. But mudslinging is crucial to the Republican plan for this year's midterm elections, because the party's hold on power will probably hinge on shifting attention from the unpopular war in Iraq and other national issues that cut against them."

Anonymous said...

http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/09/allen_and_nword.html

Sir Hailstone said...

Wilson what's wrong with hearing what your candidate thinks from herself instead of going to this vote-smart website? As if Julia submitted the opinions there on her own. Then again it's her campaign staffers that think for her isn't it?

Anon 10:47 can you repost that as a link the URL was chopped off.

Anonymous said...

Between Julia Carson's constituency and Mayor Bart sucking up to her constituency, it's no wonder that people are moving out of Indy to "whiter" counties to the north and west.

Anonymous said...

I'm not totally unopposed to a hate crime law, and I'm no lawyer or anything, but what about "aggravated" charges? Can't those existing laws be used in these cases? I know "aggravated" often refers to the degree of injury or if another felony is committed during the act or depending on the type of weapon used, but I guess I'm not clear on the need for an additional law if another one should be employed for the same purpose.

Advance Indiana said...

Russ, you raise a good point. In fact, the prosecutor in the Carson case relied on the aggravating circumstances under which the crime was committee to urge tougher sentencing. That is what prosecutors do in the absence of the automatic sentence enhancing required under a hate crimes law.

kay said...

From what I’ve read, Rep. Carson’s voting record supports a long history of representing the best interests of her constituency. An overview of her constituency, Congressional District 7 demographics, can be found here:

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/elections/keyraces/census/in/district-7/

Also seems to me that Rep. Carson is as easily accessible as are her positions on the issues. Anyone actually wanting the facts, as represented by this sample of her congressional voting record, can review her record of voting WITH the middle class position here:

http://www.drummajorinstitute.com/
congress/outerenvelope_house.htm

And while your at the site, by all means, check out how the other Indiana Representatives voted on those same middle class issues. You’ll find that All of the Republican Representatives (Souder, Sodrel, Pence, Hostettler, Chocola, Buyer, Burton) voted in lockstep AGAISNT these interests:

http://www.drummajorinstitute.com/
congress/outerenvelope_house.htm

kay said...

As for the ongoing spew-fest, Advance Indiana (answer to Eric Miller’s ‘Advance America’ GOP organization ?? ) seems risibly mired in that proverbial mucky place as only a Log Cabin Republican could be:

On the one hand AI needs readers to believe that Eric Dickerson’s 'arrest record’ for domestic violence is not a legitimate campaign issue; because, after all, he was never convicted and because Dickerson has sorta indicated that he would not use the gay wedge hammer, even though it’s his GOP party that invented the gay wedge-hammer.

At the same time, but on the other hand, he also needs readers to believe that Rep. Carson’s estranged family member arrest record and conviction is a legitimate issue in the campaign; even though, Rep. Carson renounced the violence AND has always maintained a 100% voting record in support of the GLBT communities best interests.

As a long-time reader of the Advance Indiana blog I’ve come to appreciate that Gary Welsh (editor and sole contributor?) is indeed very skilled at the profession he practices. While following along with his incredibly prolific posts, it is, for me, beyond a shadow of doubt that the man knows how to advocate for the person requiring his protection and support. In this case, Republican candidate Eric Dickerson.

Dickerson, may be the solitary GOP candidate campaigning in Indiana to say he won’t stoop to using the wedge hammer to bash the Queer folk living in the 7th. .. but will he do more? Will he (can he) vote AGAISNT the proposed Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage, given the opportunity?

new ed volunteer said...

Kay,

From what I have heard Mr. Dickerson say ( In person as of last night - not on a web site ) is that he is against any new Ammendments to the constitution.

It is one thing to say - go here and read where a candidate stands - but to be able to ask all the candidates face to face - one on one - is a much better way to really learn about the candidates.

Because to me BOTH candidates are applying for the job as my Congressmen.

Anonymous said...

Rep. Carson has more than words spoken or promises yet tested (think Ron Franklin); she has a long voting record that has put those words and promises into action!

Wilson46201 said...

As a car salesman, Eric Dickerson can make all kinds of slick campaign promises to get himself elected. Congresslady Julia Carson has a 34 year distinguished, proven voting record on issues.

Dickerson wants to join the failed GOP in Washington DC with its sorry six-year history on Iraq, Katrina, deficits, etc.

Had Enough ? Vote Democratic !