The election of Donald Trump has, at least according to some, produced a spike in so called “hate crimes” around the nation. Others find reason to doubt this, citing instances which turn out to be hoaxes or staged events by liberals, or simply a left leaning media focus on isolated incidents which blow it all out of proportion. There seems to be little reason to doubt it in the mind of New York’s governor, however. Andrew Cuomo is stepping up to create a special task force to battle this new scourge whether it’s happening or not. (NY Daily News)
Saying right wing rhetoric has left him “soul sick,” Gov. Cuomo Sunday called for an end to the divisiveness after the presidential election, and announced the creation of a police unit to counter the “explosion” of hate crimes since the vote.
“I come to you this morning with a heavy heart,” Cuomo told worshipers gathered inside the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
“The ugly political discourse of the election did not end on Election Day, in many ways it has gotten worse, into a social crisis that now challenges our identity as a state and as a nation and our people,” he said.
The spike in hate crimes in New York and across the nation “goes beyond politics, it questions our American character — who we are and what we believe,” he said.
While there are no doubt some episodes of vandalism or even violence by the occasional nut job, as the Post points out, more than a few of these reports have quickly fallen apart under closer scrutiny.
The narrative emerging of a rash of Donald Trump-inspired hate crimes is populated by hoaxes, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out at Reason. A Muslim female student in Louisiana had her claim of being assaulted by racists in Trump hats went viral — until she admitted she made it up. A young San Diego Muslim woman’s tale of being targeted for theft by Trumpers didn’t quite hold up. A supposed gay bashing by Trump fans in Santa Monica is falling apart. Same goes for a supposed racist attack in Delaware and an anti-Asian incident in Minnesota. “Less dramatic acts of racism . . . do seem to be bubbling up more frequently this week,” she writes. But that’s “a world apart from the wave of ‘hate crimes’ and violent attacks that many are conjuring up right now.”
While I’ve never been a believer in so called “hate crime” laws (because we’re supposed to punish criminals for what they do, not what they think or say), we’re stuck with the ones we have on the books for now. And just as a brief news alert for Governor Cuomo, the police already investigate these crimes when they are reported. You can browse through this .pdf report of New York hate crimes from 2014 (the last year for which full data is available) to get a sense of what goes on. In that year there were 558 crimes reported, with 209 of them being found serious enough to merit an arrest. A full 60% of the incidents were committed against Jews and perceived Jewish targets. Perpetrators broke down by race almost evenly, with 108 being listed as white and 106 being black. (Hispanics and “other” accounted for much smaller numbers.)
Now tell me… with this much data and trained officers already on the job, is this something that really requires the expenditure of taxpayer dollars to set up a special task force? Far more likely is the idea that a scandal plagued governor would love to change the conversation in the media and he’s found a convenient foil in President Elect Trump and his “army of evil minions.” More than anything else he probably wants to just look like he’s doing something and prop up support with his liberal base.
Great job, Governor. Glad to see you’ve got your priorities in order. Now maybe you can get back to answering some questions about the Buffalo Billion.