Archive for November, 2019

HRC — “Anti-Trans Violence Epidemic!”

November 25, 2019

This week a new report came across our desk, “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in the United States in 2019,” produced by Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a large LGBTQ advocacy group headquartered in Washington, DC.

The HRC calls the document “…a distressing report honoring the at least 22 transgender people and gender non-conforming people killed in 2019 and detailing the contributing factors that lead to this tragic violence.” The implication is that these tragic deaths were all somehow hate-related, and definitely anti-Trans related, and some indeed were. Predictably, the Media picked up on the story and reprinted it faithfully, without vetting the claims.

Nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder.

A closer look at the report shows that while it does indeed honor 22 people who died, it does little to “detail the contributing factors,” and even indulges in a little old fashioned fudging to inflate the numbers.

To be fair, the HRC is registered as a 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organization with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as opposed to a 501(c)(3) “action organization,” like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and many other Hate Industry players. The only restrictions on 501(c)(4) organizations is that they “…must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.” As such, they are allowed to lobby lawmakers openly, whereas groups like the SPLC have to resort to more covert measures to protect their all-important tax-exempt status. More on the HRC to follow.

The report puts great emphasis on the facts that most of the people honored were Black trans women, under the age of 30 and living predominantly in the South. While these claims hold true for the people in the report, they are largely irrelevant compared to other factors.

Stats

The repeated emphasis on race alone implies that racism was a leading factor in the deaths, but a simple Google search of the deceased and those arrested in connection with their deaths proves this claim to be patently unfounded.

Nothing sells as surely as claims of racism these days, though, and so the HRC and the Media are happy to imply.

Homicides1

Homicides2

Homicides3
Homicides4
homicides5-e1574693712812.jpg
Homicides6Again, nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black homicide victims significantly outnumber all other groups, for a variety of reasons, regardless of gender identity. The vast majority of those charged in Black homicides tend to be Black as well.HomicideRatesUS

The HRC makes the case that age is a mitigating factor:

Age1

A review of homicide statistics from 2018 shows that people under the age of 35 make up the largest share of ALL victims in the US.

Age2

The HRC report makes the case that geography may be a contributing factor, and here they may have a point, but not necessarily the one they are claiming.

Location

Location2

As the first pie chart indicates, the 2019 HRC report includes statistics going back to 2013, claiming more than 150 trans deaths over six years, or roughly 25 deaths per year.

The second pie chart indicates the population distribution for the US in 2018 and the third the LGBTQ distribution for the same year. The two charts are nearly identical, statistically, indicating a fairly uniform distribution of LGBTQ persons across all geographic locations.

A more telling graphic, and the 2019 report overall, indicates that many of the victims lived in large cities.

Location3

Again, the HRC had to reach back six years to cobble together a statistic, but the mini-biographies of the 2019 victims show that many died in the cities listed above, as well as Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Montgomery, Memphis and Prince George’s County, Md. All of these locations have large Black populations and high annual homicide rates.

When your demographic group has far higher than average homicide rates and you choose to live in areas with far higher than average homicide rates, your odds of becoming a homicide victim become statistically higher.

Again, nobody should ever be a victim of crime, especially a hate crime or murder. We’re not “blaming the victims” here, We’re merely stating the obvious facts.

The HRC report implies that the 2019 victims died because of their transgender lifestyles, but a review of the cases indicates that, for the most part, their gender identity was not usually the motivating factor.

One exception to that rule is the fact that many transgender people, for a variety of socioeconomic reasons, are forced into the worlds of sex work and drug trafficking. The HRC report estimates that 13% to 36% of the victims may have engaged in sex work, though this figure may be conservative. The fact remains that street sex and drug dealing are highly dangerous activities.

Several of the victims were found shot to death in cars or isolated locations, late at night. While sex work is dangerous enough, transgender sex workers also run the risk of violence from johns who do not realize from the outset that the victim is transgender.

As we noted with the victims’ photos above, there is nothing to confirm that most of them died specifically for being transgender. One victim was killed while standing with a crowd of other people. Police say the shooter fired into the crowd from half a block away without targeting anyone specifically.

In a similar incident, Jordan Cofer, the only white and only transgender male listed in the report, was killed when his brother, Connor Betts, went on a shooting spree in Dayton in August, 2019, killing nine and wounding 27 more. Evidence showed that Betts had no political or racial motives for the attack. He was just a sick man who wanted to commit a mass shooting.

Another victim, described in the report as being homeless, was found in the charred remains of burned out abandoned house. Another was shot in a domestic dispute where her mother accused a man of stealing her tax refund check. John Booth, 61, allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot the victim, who was trying to defend her mother.

Jazzaline Ware, as even the HRC report mentions, died of natural causes and the report also notes that Jamagio Berryman did not identify as transgender, used he/him pronouns, and yet they too were added to the list to pad out the numbers.

So, if race and gender identity are not necessarily mitigating factors in the death of these transgender people, what is behind the Human Rights Campaign annual claim of an “epidemic” of transgender violent deaths?

As with the Southern Poverty Law Center and all Hate Industry “advocacy groups” the main purpose appears to be fundraising. There are tens of millions of donor-dollars to be gleaned by selling fear and outrage to well-meaning Progressives.

HRC online 2018 tax returns show that the organization started 2019 with 289 employees. Its president, Chad Griffin was paid $502,000 that year. Vice President Joni Madison was paid almost $302,000 and, oddly enough, Assistant Vice President Cathy Nelson pulled down $340,000. Thirteen other staffers, from lawyers to PR people to secretaries, are listed, all with six-digit salaries ranging from $262,000 to a paltry $190,000.

That’s a lot of overhead to cover, even before you pay the other 270 employees. That money has to come from somewhere.

Like the SPLC and other Hate Industry players, the Human Rights Campaign partakes in the popular “joint costs” canard, in which over $9 million dollars in fundraising costs were attributed to other departments. Some third-party fundraisers hired by the HRC took up to 84% of donations for themselves while several others charged way more than they took in, essentially keeping every dime they raised in the name of the HRC without the donors ever realizing it, a long-held SPLC practice.

Most of the HRC’s annual expenses go to lobbying lawmakers for pro-LGBT causes, which we do not have a problem with, per se. What concerns us is that, just like the SPLC’s exploitation of genuine hate crime victims, Heather Heyer of the Charlottesville riots, and “the Civil Rights Martyrs,” the Human Rights Campaign seems to have no qualms whatsoever in invoking the names of dead transgender victims and others in crass fundraising campaigns.

While nobody should ever be the victim of a crime, especially a hate crime or murder, an average of 25 victims a year, among a demographic of a million and a half estimated members does not an “epidemic” make. Among the 14,500 confirmed homicides in 2018, these unfortunates make up less than two-tenths of one percent.

The FBI gives the average US homicide rate at 5.1 victims per 100,000 citizens per year. Under that estimate, the Trans population of 1.5 million should see 77 homicides a year, as opposed to an average of 25, just for being American citizens.

The FBI gives the Black homicide rate at 20.4 victims per 100,000 per year. Under that estimate, the Black Trans population should see 308 homicides per year on average, just by virtue of being Black and young.

The National Weather Service estimates that 49 Americans are killed by lightning strikes each year across all demographics, meaning that the average transgender person is twice as likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered for their gender identity.

As “epidemics” go, the HRC’s claims are pretty thin.

Watching the Watchdogs has added HRC to our watch list. Stay tuned.

 

SPLC — “Violent Hate Crime up in 2018!”

November 15, 2019

Nobody should ever be the victim of a crime, especially a hate crime.

Earlier this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a press release making the claim that “New FBI report shows increase in violent hate crime in 2018.” As usual, the claim was picked up and repeated by the Media, and, as usual, a simple review of the source data shows that the SPLC’s claim is, shall we say, less than accurate.

In ancient times, this simple review would be known as “journalism.”

The report, authored by out-going SPLC Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich (more on that later), opens with a very subtle rewording of the original headline, citing the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) report for 2018, “Although the FBI report released today shows a minuscule decline in all hate crimes in 2018, it shows a 12 percent rise in hate crimes involving violence [emphasis added].”

The rewording, from “violent hate crimes” to “hate crimes involving violence” is so subtle as to be elegant. Here is what the FBI UCR actually says:

2017 2018 FBI UCR Hate Crimes - Persons

As the highlighted cells show, there was a 12% increase in the number of “crimes against persons” reported in 2018, however, violent crimes, such as murder and rape were virtually unchanged and there were 30 more aggravated assaults reported over 2017, or an increase of 4%. The FBI defines aggravated assault as:

Aggravated Assault—An unlawful attack by one person upon another wherein the offender uses a weapon or displays it in a threatening manner, or the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness.

This also includes assault with disease (as in cases when the offender is aware that he/she is infected with a deadly disease and deliberately attempts to inflict the disease by biting, spitting, etc.)

Nobody should ever be the victim of a crime, especially a hate crime.

The UCR report does show an increase in simple assaults, defined as:

Simple Assault—An unlawful physical attack by one person upon another where neither the offender displays a weapon, nor the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness

No weapon. No obvious bodily injury. Any incident where one party lays hands on another, such as pushing or shoving, qualifies as a simple assault, though calling that a violent crime is quite a stretch, even for the SPLC.

A drunken fist fight outside a bar at midnight might meet Dr. Beirich’s claim of a crime with violence, but it hardly qualifies as a lynching. The UCR report does not break its simple assault incidents into hard categories. There is no way to sort out the truly violent incidents from the others.

The other category showing an increase of 232 incidents over 2017 is intimidation:

Intimidation—To unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack

By definition, there is no violence involved in intimidation. These incidents may qualify as “crimes against persons” (making up a full 45% of that category) but not as crimes with violence and definitely not as violent crimes. While nobody should ever be placed in fear of harm, intimidation is entirely subjective.

Another major factor to consider is that while the UCR reports alleged “incidents,” these incidents are not actual crimes, even hate crimes, until determined by a court of law. In many cases, charges are dropped or never filed at all. The UCR’s Methodology section highlights the inherent difficulties in proving deliberate bias in a crime:

Because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias. Moreover, the presence of bias alone does not necessarily mean that a crime can be considered a hate crime. Only when a law enforcement investigation reveals sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions were motivated, in whole or in part, by his or her bias, should an agency report an incident as a hate crime.

At the end of the day, the 2018 UCR shows only a minor uptick in alleged violent crimes with 30 more aggravated assault claims in 2018 over 2017. There were 232 more simple assault claims over the same period but there is no way to determine shoving matches from fist fights, and even then, any serious violence would have elevated the incident to an aggravated assault.

In short, there’s not a lot here to base any serious claims of increased violent hate crimes based on an increase of alleged hate “incidents.” Heidi Beirich knows this, but her customer base, the Media and SPLC donors, are shopping for fear and outrage and Dr. B. is only to happy to accommodate them.

Interestingly, Dr. Beirich notes that “About 27 percent of all hate crimes in 2018 – the largest share among all categories – were motivated by anti-black bias.” This would seem to indicate that three-quarters of all alleged incidents, (not necessarily actual crimes) were NOT directed at blacks, which would seem like a positive.

Ironically, the same FBI UCR report claims that at least 24% of the accused perpetrators were black. In fact, the SPLC claims that black “hate groups” make up 23% of the alleged total, and the “largest share among all categories,” nationwide. Apparently, those stats are not as important as Beirich’s “27 percent” claim. There’s no outrage to be gained.

While Dr. Beirich’s claim of a 12% increase in “crimes with violence” seems significant, she writes off the corresponding 15% drop in alleged hate crimes against property in 2018 as “minuscule.”

Speaking of crimes against property, it is worth noting that not all “hate incidents” in the UCR report are created equal.

2017 2018 FBI UCR Hate Crimes - Property

Crimes against property make up 37% of the 2018 incident total right off the top (all confirmable non-violent alleged incidents make up 65% of the total, which does not include non-violent simple assaults).

While we can see how one could make a case for bias-related arson, some robberies and targeted vandalism, we are admittedly at a loss as to how stealing one’s car or burglarizing one’s home are hate crimes. The same is true of Crimes against Society, which, according to the FBI, are “typically victimless crimes” that include gambling, prostitution and drug dealing.

Dr. Beirich’s “report” closes with the obligatory anti-Trump allegation and her boilerplate claim that “250,000 people are victimized by hate crimes every year.” Since Heidi Beirich announced a few weeks ago that she is leaving the scandal-ridden company she has served for twenty years, we want to sincerely wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.

For the past ten years, Dr. Beirich and her former boss, Mark Potok, have given us here at Watching the Watchdogs more information, more fodder, more smoking guns as to the inner workings of the Southern Poverty Law Center and lesser Hate Industry players. Due to Mr. Potok’s abrupt and mysterious departure from the company a few years ago, we were not able to wish him a proper fond farewell, but for Dr. Beirich we have this parting gift:

Let us assume that the good doctor’s estimate of 250,000 hate crime victims a year, which, as we have seen, includes people who were shoved, called bad names, had their car stolen, bought weed on the street and/or hired a hooker, is spot on, with no questions asked.

That statistic works out to .07%, or seven hundredths of one percent, of the current US population. Hate crimes really do happen. Your odds of being a victim of a hate crime are extremely small. Your odds of being a victim of a violent hate crime, even using Dr. Beirich’s “generous” statistics are infinitesimal.

Nobody should ever be the victim of a crime, especially a hate crime.

Bon voyage, Heidi. You will be missed.


%d bloggers like this: