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Revisiting a shameful low point in American politics

By Scott Tibbs, September 30, 2011

One week ago on Wednesday, the world became a much better place when Lawrence Brewer was executed by the state of Texas. Brewer murdered James Byrd in 1998 by wrapping a chain around his neck and dragging him behind a truck for no other reason than he disliked the color of Byrd's skin. Byrd's right arm was ripped off and he was decapitated by the brutal crime. Rachel Maddow reported last week that he was conscious for most of the dragging.

By comparison, Brewer requested and got an ostentatious last meal, and was humanely executed in a sterile environment. Before he was put down, Brewer said he said he would "do it all over again," showing no remorse even 13 years after that crime. Brewer escaped the pain and horror he inflicted on Byrd, though Brewer will experience plenty of pain and horror as he suffers in terrible burning agony in Hell for all eternity. Thank God for Hell.

Byrd's murder became an issue in the 2000 campaign for President, when the NAACP ran an utterly despicable advertisement against George W. Bush, shamelessly race-baiting because Bush opposed hate crime legislation. Byrd's daughter said in the advertisement that "when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again."

White supremacist terrorist Lawrence Brewer is dead and is currently suffering in horrible burning agony in Hell. John King is on death row waiting to be executed. The third perpetrator will be in prison for the rest of his life. What more does the NAACP want? Do they think Brewer should have been tortured to death instead of killed by lethal injection? Should he have been crucified instead? Should he have been burned at the stake?

You may think I am being hyperbolic, but the point of hate crime laws is that there is extra punishment for crimes motivated by race, sex, religion and so forth. But the death penalty is the most severe form of punishment that our judicial system has to offer. If the death penalty is not enough, what is enough?

To top it off, the hypocrites at the NAACP are opposed to the death penalty itself, describing it as "cruel and unusual" punishment. (See tweets by NAACP president Ben Jealous here, here and here.) So while they demonized George W. Bush for opposing enhanced penalties for hate crimes, the NAACP opposes and is seeking to abolish the very same punishment that the state of Texas set for Byrd's killers while Bush was governor.

This was a low point in American politics. The NAACP did not give a damn about the purpose of hate crime laws. George W. Bush supported tougher punishment for Byrd's killers than the NAACP itself. This was about stirring up racial animosity for cynical partisan political advantage. The fact that the NAACP has never apologized for this despicable race-baiting is completely and utterly shameful.