By Rich Zeoli

By Rich Zeoli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For no reason whatsoever last week, 24-year-old Shane Carey was savagely beaten in Center City Philadelphia by a group of thugs. The beating left him with a fractured jaw. The story has gotten very little media attention, barely a blip on the radar.

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Contrast that with the savage beating of a gay couple in Center City Philadelphia last month by a group of thugs. Same city, similar beating, yet their attack attracted national media attention. Every news outlet in the city was obsessed with the story. Politicians were jumping over each other to declare this a hate crime and demand tough new laws to prevent this from ever happening again.

No one is calling for tough new laws to deal with the beating of Shane Carey. His was not a crime of hate apparently. His attackers, who snuck up on him on and ruthlessly beat him in my old neighborhood of Fairmount, right by Eastern State Penitentiary where thousands will flock for Halloween, will be punished less severely than the attackers who beat the gay couple if hate crime advocates get their way.

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From a societal standpoint, one beating is apparently worse than the other. At least that’s the argument hate crime legislation advocates use. We can’t have a society that tolerates random attacks on gay people, so we must make an example out of the attackers and throw the book at them. Okay, but why would society tolerate random attacks on straight people? If we remove the words gay and straight we are left with one word: people. Society should not tolerate attacks on people. No one in Philly should ever be attacked. Period.

Now believe me, if there was some glaring loophole in the law that allowed attacks on gay people to go unpunished, I would be the first one demanding a change in the law. But the wonderful thing about the year 2014 in a city such as Philadelphia, in a state like Pennsylvania, in a nation like the United States, is that all people are treated equally under the law. Thanks, 14th Amendment! So beating a person, any person, even a gay person, is a crime.

The reason hate crimes are morally unjust is that society should view all victims as equal under the law. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Justice should be swift and severe because society must not tolerate beatings of any kind, whether motivated by hate or boredom. Is a victim who is beaten for kicks and suffers a fractured jaw in any less pain that a victim who is beaten because he is a gay and suffers a fractured jaw? Of course not. Both victims hurt, and their attackers should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. To argue that one set of attackers should be punished more severely is unfair to the other victim.

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Let’s treat all victims with equality, because an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.