In this instance, the apology is to stop discriminating based on sexuality.
EDIT: No, really? Is that what you want, because that's where the discrimination is.
First, the Matthew Shepard Act that would extend hate crime laws to sexual orientation STILL HASN'T BEEN PASSED. :P It's been stymied under 5 congresses, which you can read about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard_Act#111th_Congr...
Second, and most importantly, the Matthew Shepard Act does not exclusively protect gays and lesbians. It protects everyone. If some psychotic gay person goes out and starts murdering straight people just because they're straight, that too would be a federal hate crime.
If you want to claim that the law would disproportionately protect gay people, maybe that's because straight people aren't targeted and murdered just because they're straight.
Ever think of that? Jerk.
I do understand and appreciate the argument that murders and crimes should be punished equally, regardless of who the target is.
But hate crime legislation isn't really about the direct victim of the crime being prosecuted.
Hate crime legislation is about crimes committed with particular intent, and as such are about the mindset of the criminal in question, and ability to create a climate of fear amongst a particular group of individuals.
So, yes, we should prosecute all crimes equally. But to deny that hate crimes don't exist, or that they don't have a broader intent, is to deny reality. It is fundamentally different to say "Lets go beat up some fags/chinks/paddies/etc" from saying "Lets go find someone to beat up"
Final note, hate crimes are innately about discrimination. The fact that hate crime legislation recognizes that reality is not creating discrimination. The discrimination already exists out in the populace.
What i don't like is the presumption that homosexuals, or members of minority groups enjoy special favor under the law, when in many cases they do not.
I find more frustrating the fact that people seem to assume that it is law that creates discrimination, and that things would be fine if there were no laws which recognize discrimination.
But it's not the opinion being expressed that i find offensive. People are perfectly entitled to be wrong (and i will dispassionately argue against their incorrectness). What incenses me so, is the presumption, and assertion of opinion as fact. Trying to seize the grounds on which a discussion takes place (which could also be called "framing") is obnoxious/rude/etc and indicates either a serious lack of consideration or an attempt to argue in bad faith.
So i'm sorry to anyone who i pissed off (hee, half-hearted apology), yes the point could have been made w/o the ad hominem. I did however want to indicate my derision, beyond the fact that dude was wrong on the facts.
What? People are targeted for reasons A, B, C, D all the way up through triple Z. The problem, so obvious that I'm ashamed to even bother typing it, is that A is not morally superior to B, even if the media frames it that way. Group membership should never suddenly allow one's self unequal protection under the law.
But it does, of course. With great, brain-dead righteousness it does.
mynameishere, i believe is an American, and the reference he's making sounds very American.
So in the context of the original post, the Matthew Shepard Act is not relevant. The details of hate crime legislation, and it's application is universal enough to be relevant.
The US does have constitutional measures against unequal protection, and so the situation is not so insane here (yet).
That said, hate crimes legislation is a horrible, destructive idea. Any deviation from the idea that we all are equal individuals with the same protection under the law is bound to lead to bad things.
On hate crimes, however, I disagree. A hate crime is not about targeting one particular individual; it is a terrorist act designed to instill fear in a community. A burning cross, a lynching is to create fear in black people, for example. "Don't date white women" was one in the 60s south. Attacking someone in front of a gay establishment is a clear message to invoke fear of congregation in the gay community.
And it's all pointless. Assaulting people (instilling fear of physical harm) is already a crime. There's just no need to complicate it.
Now, I'm against employment protections period. But if I weren't, I certainly wouldn't want the feds involved. Inviting the federal government into an area has typically proven to get you far from what you want. People should focus on state laws. If you're in a state with laws you don't like, then move.
If a one-legged Jewish lesbian punches a blind Muslim nudist veteran which way round is the hate crime?
Note that I'm not insinuating that discrimination against gays does not exist - it does and it's ugly - slurs are thrown around in 99% of bar brawls and they're just the tip of the iceberg.
And his location is probably irrelevant - Western society is so much alike, the variations are much like ripples.
You clearly do not understand hate crime legislation.
I am not gay. If the Matthew Shepard Act became law, and someone calls me a fag, and then beats me up, such a case would STILL be prosecutable under hate crime legislation, because of the INTENT, not because of the actual target.
They would be perpetrating a hate crime, because they are trying to beat me up because they think that i am gay, regardless of how good they are at actually determining whether or not i am actually gay.
If someone beats up a gay guy, unless there is SOME evidence that they were beaten up because they were gay, a prosecutor should not be able to bring hate crime charges (this is why we have grand juries after all).
Just the fact that I put out such a misunderstanding reveals something - the question is if only about me or if more about society.
The whole idea is stupid. Assault and battery is assault and battery. Why the heck complicate things?
If they start apologizing to people one by one... that'll take a while.
What he didn't bother to say is that pretty much the entire world (including Africans) participated in the slave trade at that time, and that Britain had taken the lead in the fight to stamp out slavery. The first time in history that former slave-holders had fought to free slaves. Literally fought, with warships blessed by the Royals.
So yeah, we've done some terrible things - but on the whole (even under New Labour) the UK is a powerful force for good in the world, and we deserve credit for that. And we're to "undo" the effects of everything we've done... Well let's say that Zepheniah wouldn't be sitting in an air-conditioned TV studio wearing a handmade suit, hatin'.
Attitudes change (for the better in this case). An apology from a government doesn't change history.
It's amazing how ignorant we were just 50 years ago, and likely still are :)
What's particularly sad about Turing was that he was such a great war hero. We make movies about famous spies capturing machines behind enemy lines, when the reality was largely Turing and I believe a group of polish refugees slaving away in basements building computers.
I would say the saddest thing about Turing related to the Government is simply that his work went absolutely unacknowledged for so long. I actually visited Bletchley Park last weekend and a curator told me of a woman in her late eighties who, even now, had an ingrained attitude of "I can't talk about it". (She was a Wren working at Bletchley).
I think it was thirty years or so before anyone even knew the massive contributions this man had made to our science.
I highly recommend a book called Between Silk and Cyanide, written by the head of codes (cryptography) of SOE during World War II.
If the government of the UK were to apologize, the story of Turing's mistreatment at the hands of the government would fill a news cycle. It's not much, but it's not nothing.
I think apologies matter a lot. Even though Turing is dead and has no family to apologize too, an apology would make a point about how prejudice warps the world.
Obviously what happened to Turing was wrong. But is it better to concentrate on improving things for the future rather than endlessly looking back at the past?
Maybe ask Morrissey to hold a memorial concert and play some Derek Jarman's movies.
Someone straight needs to be a figure head so that people can't easily dismiss any apology as somehow tied to the agenda of a gay rights group.
At the other hand. The UK government can always say those standard lame excuses such as "because of cold war, we have to prevent Turing to be used by communists spies".
At the other hand, I wonder why gay right activists ignore Turing's story for a long time. I learned Turing's story pretty early on (I am just always curious of private lives of great minds since I was a kid)
That is fortunate. I wouldn't like Turing to become another archetypal wicked scientist in tv shows puppetry inventory. Compulsive schizophrenic Nash seducing boys, autistic Newton, insane Cantor crawling on the floor whispering "infinty, infinty" are enough for me already.
It costs a lot to operate and won't be able to run past the next few years without funding, but the Government rejected a petition on the subject (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BletchleyPark/)
Support for the National Museum of Computing wouldn't go amiss either.
Let us honor Turing's memory without making nonsense of the tough choices he faced.
Those caucus members say the disclaimer is an attempt to stave off reparations claims from the descendants of slaves. "Putting in a disclaimer takes away from the meaning of an apology," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
Yes, the "meaning" of the apology is step 1 in a mass larceny underway. This garbage needs to end. Everyone who actually owns slaves, I really do believe, should apologize for it. Everyone who doesn't own slaves should put their collective middle fingers in the air concerning the matter.
If my parents owned slaves, and I'd benefited from it, I'd like the disclaimer.
If my parents were slaves, and I'd had trouble because of that, I'd like the reparation.
I don't think either would be a racket. Ultimately it's unlikely a court would extend reparations inmto the present for an event so far in the past, although this does occasionally happen.
A sad story indeed. If I recall correctly from the biography Turing spent time working at Princeton as Alonzo Church had independently produced the same results so it's really the Church-Turing thesis.
Statues and government apologies don't mean squat. The important thing is to never let the story be forgotten.
Simply naming things after people doesn't tell the public about those people, and I think most people won't bother to research "that guy whose name is on the building". In most cases, it won't be anyone interesting, just a rich person who gave money to fund construction.
I've read up on this just now and it seems that logo indeed had nothing to do with commemorating Turing's oppression. The rainbow was due to a design trend at the time, Commodore and Atari logos sporting rainbows too.
What's done is done, and thankfully we are now open to the thought that we were wrong in our moral standards. And in a lot of cases, we now fight strongly for the rights of people who were once discriminated against.
To me, an apology is only worth something if the person/people apologising had an opinion which conflicted with the general opinion of the population, otherwise who's to say the victim wouldn't have thought the same if he/she was in the same situation? (i.e. not gay.) That's not to say the general populations' opinion was right, but that it can be massively rub off on your own.
The best way is to remember him would be to create a large research institution in his honour. Apologizing changes nothing in this instance.
Don't get me wrong, I am 100% for gay rights, laws against discrimination, etc (my mum is gay, and is 'married' to her partner), but I think priorities should lie in making life worth living for those still with us at this time.
* Irish Potato Famine
* Acadian Expulsion
I'm sure there's more.
Wikipedia has a fairly extensively referenced article on the issue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland). See 'Causes and contributing factors'.
But not only that, he was a war hero. How many other people in the 20th century contributed so much to the world on both practical and theoretical levels?
And the British Government drove him to suicide for no good reason.
I think his story deserves far more recognition.
Perhaps we should pick our battles, and call out more egregious violations such as name calling and thoughtless recitals of canned talking points, rather than engaging in the sort of constant nagging that will just blend into the background noise.
 e.g. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=664314
Also, in this case, I was really just making a direct observation of the conversation... it's pretty much all off on a tangent, and is very much 'politics'.
There is also considerable doubt that his 'treatment', which had ended a year before, was a cause of his suicide - rather than a feeling that his work wasn't leading anywhere.