DEFENDING REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE

Given her usually hard left politics, I don’t often blog in support of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).  But, in this instance, I think she makes a perfectly valid point and is being unfairly maligned.

On December 30, Jazmine Barnes, a Black 6 or 7-year old girl (depending on which account you read) was shot and killed in Houston. Initial reports put a white, bearded man in a red pickup truck fleeing from the shooting.  Not at all surprisingly, there was immediate speculation about it being a racial crime.

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Lee made the following statement:

“I believe – and having written hate crime legislation, knowing the criteria, I believe that this should be looked at as a hate crime.  We don’t want to have on the street someone who is willing to kill children and possibly kill them in the name of hate.”

If that is the way it stood, Ms. Lee would have been only partly correct. Of course we don’t want people on the street committing hate crimes. But, at least until that moment, there was no certainty about whether a hate crime had, in fact, occurred.

However, the next day, ms.lee modified her statement by saying:

“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be — a hate crime.” 

By doing so, she made clear that she did not claim, for a fact, this was a hate crime.  Only that, if the initial assumption were true, it seemed to be one.

As I assume you know, it turned out that the shooter was not a White man in his forties, but a young Black man. Therefore, it can safely be assumed there was no racially motivated hate crime involved.

But had it been as originally described?  Of course there would have been good reason to believe race played a part.  Of course a White man randomly shooting into a car filled with Black women would have been looked at as a likely hate crime.  That certainly would have been my ingoing assumption.

So why is Rep. Lee being attacked for what she said?

Maybe you can explain it to me.  Because I don’t get it.

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