"No More Matthew Shepards"

That's HuffPo's headline for the hate crimes amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill. It's absurd. Does anyone seriously believe that a hate crimes federal law will actually prevent gay bashing? How exactly?

What it will do is allow for extra federal penalties for anyone found guilty of such an attack if its victim was selected by anti-gay bias and if local authorities refuse to prosecute. Now recall that Matthew Shepard's murderers were given the harshest sentence allowed under the law (a hate crime provision would have added nothing) and that sentence was passed down in the absence of any hate crime law in Wyoming. So this bill has zero actual relevance to the Shepard case: in fact, the Shepard case is really salient in showing why hate crimes laws are unnecessary.

But, again, the proof of the pudding: Let's see what results this amendment gets within six months, and every six months thereafter. Meanwhile, have some great cocktails at the White House, guys. Get a souvenir.