Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: Beware liberals' hyperbole

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Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists

Not that I planned it this way, but for the past year I've been quite the frequent visitor to Johns Hopkins Hospital. The shortest, quickest route from the venerable Baltimore institution back to my home in the northwest section of the city takes me past a collection of buildings far less venerable.

One is the Maryland State Penitentiary, a building that has been around since the 19th century. Another is the Central Booking and Intake Facility; in linguistically simpler times, we called this the Baltimore City Jail. I call the series of edifices "the house of reprobates." And yes, the Maryland State Penitentiary does have a death row.

During a recent drive home from Hopkins -- I ALWAYS always seem to get done in the middle of afternoon rush-hour traffic -- I saw a lone protester standing in front of the entrance to the Central Booking and Intake Facility. He held up a sign that read, "The death penalty is a hate crime." In a flash, I was reminded, once again, of why I just love liberals, progressives and leftists.

The main reason I love them is that they say and do things, constantly, to make me glad I'm not one of them. Take the lone protester, for instance. As I mentioned, it's the Maryland State Penitentiary that houses the state's death row. The protester should have been on the other side of the complex, where the penitentiary is located. But his problem with geography was less pronounced than his problem with hyperbole.

That brings me to yet another quality about liberals-progressives-leftists that I love: Their yen for hyperbole causes them to frequently cram their feet down their throats.

"The death penalty is a hate crime," is it? There are probably grade-schoolers who can point out the flaw in the logic. A careful reading of the Constitution -- which liberals-progressives-leftists seldom read but love to rewrite -- reveals that the death penalty is not only not a hate crime, but also not even a crime.

The Fifth Amendment states that "No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." The 14th Amendment adds: "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty property without due process of law."

So, in two different amendments, we learn that the death penalty is perfectly legal if the person being executed has been given due process of law. Liberals-progressive-leftists conventiently forget this language when, with their flair for hyperbole, they claim that capital punishment violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

When they're not using hyperbole, this same bunch tends to make cheap, tawdry appeals to emotion, since they have so few facts to back up their arguments. In the death penalty debate, they drag in racial disparity, knowing race to be a topic that rouses emotions. When they couldn't show that blacks convicted of murder were being executed disproportionately, they tried to move the goal posts.

Those who ended up on death row, they claimed, were more likely to have gotten there if they murdered whites.

Felony homicide is the path that leads most miscreants to death row. FBI stats show that the majority of felony homicide victims are white; the majority of those who commit felony homicide are black. The liberals have yet to talk about this particular racial disparity. That's because they won't even acknowledge the disparity. They can't talk about what they won't even acknowledge.

The death penalty is a "hate crime"? It looks more like opponents of capital punishment have resorted to cheap demagoguery.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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