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Judge to Gays: Drop Dead

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On October 30, 1975, the New York Daily News posted an immortal headline:  "Ford to City: Drop Dead." The story was that President Ford had vowed the previous day to veto any federal bailout of the then virtually bankrupt New York City.

Today, a New Jersey state judge, Glenn Berman, more-or-less sent the same message by "imposing" a joke of a sentence on Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who secretly took a video of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, making out with another man.  Ravi later held a viewing party at which a few select friends could get their chuckles by watching the show.  When Clementi, then all of 18, found out he had been thus humiliated, he killed himself, as reported here

Judge Berman, carefully noting that Ravi "was not convicted of a hate crime, he was convicted of a bias crime, and there's a difference," handed down a sentence of 30 days, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.  The judge did note that Ravi never once apologized, and apparently neither did his parents, who gave statements at sentencing that addressed, so far as I have been able to discover, only the suffering of their son.  If Mr. Clementi or his parents or brother did any suffering, the Dharun family must have missed it.  Ravi himself sat in silence at the sentencing hearing.

How much of the 30 days Ravi will ever serve is a matter of conjecture.  If he were Lindsay Lohan, it will probably be in the neighborhood of 45 minutes.

I have my doubts about either "hate crimes" or "bias crimes."  But I have no doubts that a gross invasion of privacy and cruel indifference to the well-being of a fellow creature, with such irreversible and catastrophic results, warrants more than a stern talking to and a "sentence" Ravi could "serve" standing on his head.

The prosecutor says he will appeal.  Godspeed.

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