In August, New York City police arrested a 26-year-old New York man for hate crime charges of aggravated harassment. Daniel Silvera said that he wanted to murder gay police officers in the city and sent threatening emails directly to the police. At his arraignment, a court held Silvera on $50,000 bail pending trial.
Two months earlier, Chicago police arrested Marvin Meyer for hate crimes associated with a threatening telephone call he made in May. Meyer admitted to police investigators that he had threatened a Muslim-American advocate by leaving him a voicemail message in which he said, “We will kill you.”
In other states and cities across America, police are investigating and arresting those who make threats under the auspices of hate crimes. Whether its Seattle where a bar patron is charged with terroristic threats after he yells lesbian slurs at other customers, or a similar incident in Minneapolis and a man harassing gay shoppers, prosecutors are pursuing felony charges in a variety of circumstances — and winning convictions.
So, why is no state attorney prosecuting Mike Pence or Donald Trump for state-level felony hate crimes?
An article appearing in the upcoming issue of New Yorker magazine titled “The Danger of President Pence” details an anecdotal interaction between Trump and Pence. In response to Pence’s views on gay rights vis-à-vis his ultra conservative Christian ideals, Trump offered his typical off-color and disgusting attempt at humor. “Don’t ask that guy—” motioning to Pence “—he wants to hang them all.”
Trump espouses a uniquely and unsettling un-American ethos in regard to those people he detests, the LGBTQ community included. He is the same person who, while campaigning in 2015, proclaimed to a rowdy crowd of supporters that former Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl be shot and executed. In advocating the extrajudicial death penalty for Bergdahl, Trump struck a pose with an imaginary rifle — the closest he has ever been to actual military service — and pretended to shoot the one-time sergeant.
Trump’s solution to problems is eerily similar to other detestable leaders in history — men like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Apparently, his number two shares a similar “Christian” view of intolerance. All joking aside, it is unacceptable and nauseating that the two men in control of our nation have such little regard for human life as to laugh about murdering an entire group of people in America’s diverse population.
If anyone else besides Trump and Pence “joked” that the LGBTQ members of society be killed — and even more detestably, that they be lynched or hung — there would be immediate prosecutorial action. It is no less a hate crime, threat, or harassment because the statement comes from the tongues of men who believe they are above the law. It is offensive and an offense in many states to threaten to intimate that a person be murdered.
According to USLegal.com, a hate crime is typically “defined by state law as one that involves threats or harassment and is motivated by prejudice against race, color, religion, or sexual orientation.” Additionally, the suggestion to kill someone may be construed as a terroristic threat or harassment depending on jurisdiction. In Washington, D.C. for example, Section 22-3133 of the Code of the District of Columbia makes it a crime to engage in a course of conduct that causes another person to fear for her safety or the safety of another.
On its face, Trump’s hearsay statement that Pence would like to hang gays appears to qualify for criminal conduct. It is unacceptable that Trump’s fascist regime jokes and advocates killing as a social tool to shape a nation in his ideal. Hitler’s concentration camps — filled with his so-called detestable Jews, gays, artists, and intellectuals — are not so distant in history that Trump’s policies do not draw parallels. Trump jokes about eliminating Americans in the same way that Hitler condemned entire neighborhoods and towns filled with German citizens.
Mike Pence might be a dangerous man as the New Yorker suggests, but even more dangerous is his boss who thinks it is funny that Pence would like to kill gays. He is the guy in the bar who knows the hate crime suspect is waiting in the alley to assault someone — and watches out the window with a chuckle and a cheap thrill.