mosexLiality is a choice and offeringrncounseling services, gay-rights activists hterallyrnscreamed bloody murder.rnIn retrospect, it seems almost inevitablernthat 21-year-old Matthew Shepardrnwould become the poster boy martyrrnof the “hate crimes” movement. A 105-rnpound, slightly effeminate student at thernUniversity of Wyoming, Shepard was anrnintelligent lad who wanted to become arndiplomat and dreamed of being famous.rnHe was also a homosexual with a troubledrnhistory of depression and suicidalrntendencies. According to his mother,rnJudy Shepard, Matthew “wasn’t a saint.rnHe was just a young man in search ofrnhimself”rnThat search ended in a Laramie,rnWyoming, bar, from which Matthew voluntarilyrnaccompanied two young thugsrnto their truck. According to the testimonyrnof one of the thugs’ girlfriends, Shepardrnmade an advance to the two youngrnmen. News accounts describe Shepardrnas having been “lured” out of the bar.rnWhoever lured whom, Shepard was murdered,rnand the gruesome details werernbroadcast far and wide. Gay activists immediatelyrnadopted Shepard as their officialrnmartyr, pointing to the grisly sight asrnan example of why hate-crimes legisla-rnHon is needed.rnBut far from bolstering the case forrnsuch legislation, the Shepard incidentrnonly dramatizes its inapplicability to thernambiguity and complexity of real life.rnMatthew’s instant elevation to martyrdomrnwas assured by the story that wentrnout over the newswires: The gentlernwould-be diplomat, product of a warmrnand loving middle-class home, who hadrngone to school in Europe and spoke fourrnlanguages, had been brutally bludgeonedrnto death by two homophobic brutes. Tornask why such a smart young man wouldrnget into a truck with two brutish-lookingrnstrangers twice his size is “blaming thernvictim,” a hate crime in itselfrnAccording to the prosecutors, the tworndefendants, Aaron McKinney and RussellrnHenderson, told Shepard they wererngay. After getting Shepard into McKinney’srnpickup, they told him, “We’re notrngay—you’ve been jacked.” Shepard alreadyrnhad been beaten twice that year, althoughrnfew have asked whether this wasrndue to a proclivitv’ for rough trade. In anrninterview with Katie Couric on NBC’srnDateline, Judy Shepard said that her sonrnhad been involved in a series of violentrnincidents, including a gang rape in Moroccornwhen he was a high-school senior.rnThe defendants, on the other hand,rnhardly fit the role of the villains that arnshow trial requires. McKinney and Hendersonrnare a couple of small-time losersrnwho saw, in the slightly drunk and routinelyrnreckless young Matthew, a chumprnwaiting to get jumped. The only evidencernof their alleged crime of “homophobia”rnis hearsay based on the testimonyrnof one of the girlfriends — both ofrnwhom are also being charged with hidingrnevidence and providing false alibis—whornsays McKinney and Henderson wantedrnto “teach him a lesson” not to make passesrnat heterosexuals. But the bartenderrnwho served them remembers that theyrnpaid for their five-dollar pitcher of beerrnwith change. Two high-school dropoutsrnsitting in the middle of nowhere, goingrnnowhere, and in walks Matthew Shepard,rnwell dressed, well traveled, wellrnversed in such subjects as internationalrnlaw and the histor)’ of American diplomacy.rnFar from having been incited by thernreligious right, McKinney and Hendersonrnseem to have been inspired more byrneconomics: The police maintain thatrntheir plan was to burglarize Shepard’srnapartment. Who is to say whether theirrnmotive was envy, greed, hatred of homosexuals,rnor boredom?rnThat justice is the last thing on thernminds of those pushing hate-crimes legislationrnwas starkly dramatized by the statementrnof a coalition of 11 gay-rightsrngroups denouncing Wyoming prosecutorsrnas “barbaric” for seeking the deathrnpenalty for McKinney and Henderson.rnApparently the groups’ preferred punishmentrnis a lifetime of “re-education” andrngay sensitivit)’ training—although somernwould say that is a fate worse than death.rnJustin Raimondo writes fromrnSan Francisco.rnAmerica’s RacernParadigmrnby William H. PetersonrnThe Economist brands racism asrn”America’s constant curse,” and thernquestion of race unnerves almost everybody,rnas the Civil Rights Act of 1964 airilyrnoutlaws discrimination in government,rncommerce, and schooling on grounds ofrnrace, gender, age, religion, or nationalrnorigin, and the new, openly politicizedrnWhite House policy on affirmative actionrn(“mend it, don’t end it”) puts on hold thernpast 35 years of racial strife—strife thatrnhas compounded, not caused, the racialrnproblem.rnBut what is race? How is it defined?rnAnd, as an official policy tool, is racernlending itself to the law of unintendedrnconsequences, spawning racial disharmonyrnrather than harmony?rnIn my view, the concept of “race” is fatallyrnflawed, both in and out of law. Asrnthe Census Bureau gets set to take thern2000 census, check out its oblique definitionrn(which can be found in the 1998rnWorld Almanac):rnThe concept of race as used by thernCensus Bureau does not reflect anyrnclear-cut scientific definition of biologicalrnstock. The data for racernrepresent self-classification by respondents.rnPersons could identifyrntheir race by classifying themselvesrnin one of the categories listed onrnthe census form—that is, white,rnblack, American Indian, Eskimo,rnAleut, Chinese . ..rn. . . and so on through a long list of racialrnboxes ending with an exception for Hispanic.rnThe Census Bureau concedesrnthat no specific race can be inferred fromrnthe category “Hispanic”; a person of “Hispanicrnorigin may be of any race.” Ofrncourse, the Bureau supplies an “otherrnrace” category that “includes persons notrnincluded in the race categories describedrnabove.” But doesn’t this catch-all phrasernmarginalize those who check off this box,rnrelegating them to outsider status? Indeed,rndoesn’t the whole race-by-race approachrnof the Census Bureau make for arnrace-by-race undercoimt, overcount,rnor—certainly—miscount? Doesn’t thisrnapproach yield doubtful quota formulasrnfor the Equal Employment OpportunifyrnCommission and its army of alliedrnlawyers who “prove” racial under representationrnin employee staffs, college admissions,rnbank lending patterns, etc.?rnThe Census Bureau says that the diversifyrnof America’s population will continuernto increase; by 2050, based on currentrntrends, the non-Hispanic white sharernof the population is projected to fall fromrnthe current 73 percent to 53, the African-rnAmerican share to increase from 13 to 15rnpercent, and the Hispanic share to morernthan double, from 11 to 24 percent. Thernimplications of increasing population diversityrnfor American employers, lenders,rn42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn