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Dharun Ravi was Convicted of a Hate Crime and Hate Speech is Still the Problem By Robin Barnes

davi verdictAlternet’s Julianne Hing recently posted an article on the conviction and sentencing of former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi. Ravi’s is a tale of outrageous invasion of privacy, cyber bullying, hate speech and more. He videotaped his gay roommate’s sexual encounters and posted them on the internet with vicious commentary.

Ravi faces up to 10 years in jail and deportation back to India.

Ravi’s attorneys argued that it was a thoughtless, immature, mistake.  Many people would argue that had his actions only led to a complaint to the university rather than the victim’s suicide, we wouldn’t be where we are now.  Except that we are, and his actions warrant time in jail so that he (and other immature folks) have an opportunity to learn that with freedom comes responsibility.

He is directly responsible for the loss of Tyler Clemente’s life; the well-being of his roomate’s partner is still tenuous at best, and he thinks that this warrants community service?  Ravi is justified in believing that he has become the poster-boy for American homophobia, and that is clearly true.  The question is why.

Free speech has been invoked to protect Reverend Fred Phelps who openly runs a so-called church-based website with the moniker “god hates fags.”  His wealth comes from a rampant and viral expression of homophobia that publically celebrates this suicide, the vicious murder of Matthew Shepard and the killing of our troops, on the theory that they should all die because God is not pleased with our tolerance of homosexuality.  In the meantime, the gay teen suicide rate continues apace and the federal courts have framed this as an issue of speech instead of the toxic insanity that it really is, and impossible to justify for the proclaimed leader of the free world.