Two weeks after Smollett's claimed attack, a convicted felon from Alabama made a homophobic Facebook post, put his phone away, and dumped an AR magazine into an Asian Bistro in a San Diego neighborhood known for its LGBTQ community. Amazingly, nobody was injured.
Three days later, a Coast Guard officer was arrested on drug and weapons charges in Maryland. A search of his home found a fire team's worth of weapons and ammo, along with a hit list spreadsheet of prominent Democrats and liberal media personalities.
So what's my point?
Looking from atop mount centrist, the back and forth on Smollett has been pretty predictable. Plenty of progressive rage when the attack was first reported, plenty of right-wing schadenfreude with every new hole appearing in the story. I've seen a grand total of one person owning up and eating their crow over their rage in the wake of Smollett's revelation, though I might see more now that his arrest has come.
I've seen a grand total of one person mention the San Diego attack, and she's a California-based gun rights activist.
The news has just hit about the coastie, but I'm willing to bet I'm going to hear rage from the left and crickets on the right.
Hate crimes exist.
Bullshit claims of hate crimes also exist.
How much and how many? Nobody really knows for sure.
FBI numbers claim they're up over the last two years. But they also have a lot more agencies reporting to them in the same time frame, so what's an increase and what's a reporting correction is anyone's guess.
SPLC claims they're up too, but the irony of a designated hate group reporting on designated hate groups is a little much for me.
How many claims are bullshit? No idea. It's not a good use of police resources to track down false claims as opposed to closing the case as either cold or without merit and moving on. Some rando on twitter has made a collection I haven't curated though, should you wish to root through it (in the first comment).
Right now, it looks like hate crime stats are only a little less useless than rape stats.
This is why I sit back and wait 48-72 hours. Not just because accuracy in reporting died with Cronkite. One, there's nothing my rage can do that's helpful in the moment, even if being angrily right feels awesome. Two, there might not be a real reason for me to bother raging anyway.
Don't dismiss, just be wary. Because dismissing hate crimes or dismissing the existence of bullshit is just unhelpful.
Doesn't matter if you went from taint up or tramp stamp down if you finish with your head up your ass either way.