Senator LeFavour Talks Hate Crimes On Conservitive Radio Show

Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise) made an appearance on 670 KBOI’s Nate Shelman Show on Thursday to talk about the recent rash of hate crimes in Boise.  Shelman, a conservative libertarian type of host, appeared not to grasp LeFavour’s various explanations of the difference between a hate crime and an assault or battery charge.

“If I slap you, doesn’t that matter more then if I slapped you because you are gay?”, Shelman asked at the beginning of the interview.

LeFavour, who is openly gay herself, went on to explain the difference no less then 5 times during the broadcast. “A hate crime,” LeFavour explained, “(is when) a person commits the crime with the intention of hurting a person who’s gay simply because they are gay. It is a very clear message that they are sending not only to the person they are beating, but to the entire community of people who belong to that group.”

Calls during the broadcast ranged from an absurd and false claim that pedophiles were included in a federal hate crimes act passed last year to one gentleman who wondered what the difference between crimes targeting rich people and those against gay people were.

The hate crime topic received a lot of airplay on the Boise radio station throughout the day following the publication of  a story in the Idaho Statesman. The article pointed out that so far this year noone in Boise has officially reported a hate crime due to their sexual orientation.

LeFavour responded during the Shelman interview by saying that she herself has seen several people, with her own eyes, many with bruised up faces, who told her that they and their friends were too afraid to even sleep at night let alone call the police.

“That’s what a hate crime does. It makes a whole community live in fear. They are crimes that go beyond the individual act,” LeFavour explained.

Shelman seemed to insinuate, despite later denying otherwise, that the victim was responsible for the reporting and arrest of his or her attacker. In one specific case, following an attack on a 22-year old Brandon Jesser and a female friend, Jesser told the Idaho Statesman, “I didn’t want my name out there. (My friend) is also a business owner. We both were just worried about if we reveal ourselves as gay — if it was public — it would be not appreciated.”

LeFavour told Shelman that part of the problem is that some within the gay community fear that if they do file a report regarding a hate crime, they will be outed.  “We as a society make it not okay to be gay,” she said. “That’s the problem: people don’t feel safe being gay in Idaho. We reinforce that fact by not including gay people in laws that make sure you aren’t fired based on your age, race or religion (amongst others). We don’t include gay people (in those laws) and so it makes people think that it’s okay to do horrible things to gay people.”
The Boise police department and others  are working to educate the community on the importance of reporting hate crimes.
You can hear the complete interview with Senator LeFavour by clicking HERE!
(Editor’s note:  A BIG hats off to Senator Lefavour for doing the interview. It’s easy to preach to the choir, but it’s harder to reach out to an audience that on the surface seems to disagree with everything you say, do and believe.  Someone told me once that it’s the radicals who call in to talk shows, it’s the moderates who sit and listen. While the majority of talk radio listeners in Idaho do tend to be more conservative, they are almost never as conservative as the host or the callers seem to be. Thanks to Senator LeFavour, it’s that audience that got to hear the truth yesterday regarding Boise’s hate crime situation.-JT)
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