Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid | AspenTimes.com

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Rarely, in the course of writing this column, is it my intention to really tick people off. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but usually when it does, it’s because I’m a clueless, obtuse idiot, not because I’m trying to be cruel.

This week, however, I harbor no illusions. This column will absolutely make a niche segment of the American population unhappy even though that’s not my intent. At some point, though, I just have to accept that I don’t care and steel myself for the anticipated outrage.

I’ve found there are certain groups it’s best never to mention even if you think you’re saying positive things about them. One of those groups is the transgender community. I don’t know any of them personally, so this is all just speculation, but they seem to be pretty unhappy and upset with the way the world views them, and if anyone who isn’t transgender says anything about them, they seem very quick to be offended by it, regardless of the tenor of the comments.

So, before I get into the meat of this column, I’d like to try to stave off some of that outrage with the following disclaimer to anyone out there who identifies as transgender: I don’t care at all about your issues, and I mean that in the nicest, most positive way I can. I think you should be entitled to all the same rights and privileges as any other Americans, and I think you should be free from any persecution, abuse or discrimination based on your gender identification. Beyond that, however, you’re just not a segment of the population to which I give a lot of thought. I’m not saying that to be mean; I’m just being honest.

With that being said, let us turn our attention to the recent court ruling in Massachusetts ordering state prison officials to provide a transgender convicted murderer with sex-reassignment surgery. This is unequivocally wrong and, to me, a perfect illustration of one of the most annoying things about America today. Transgender advocates may try to paint this as an argument about the rights of people like they are, but that’s just not the case.

Here’s the back story: In 1990, a man named Robert Kosilek murdered his wife in Boston and was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. While in prison, Kosilek decided that he identified as a woman and has taken to calling himself Michelle. Twelve years ago, after 10 years in prison, Kosilek sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction, seeking a sex change. He sued again in 2005. Finally, last week, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery was the only way to treat Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”

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Why? Will Kosilek die if he doesn’t get the surgery? (Like that would be a bad thing.) Does he pose a threat to others if he’s not allowed to become a woman? Somehow I just don’t think that’s the case. Sure, he may be a threat to himself – he’s apparently tried to castrate himself and attempted suicide twice – but, being that he’s a convicted murderer, who really gives a crap?

The idea that Massachusetts taxpayers should have to pay for Kosilek’s surgery is unmitigated effrontery. If some other transgender person in, say, Boston needed sex-reassignment surgery, taxpayers wouldn’t be expected to pick up the tab. And that could be a person who has led an exemplary, virtuous life. But since Kosilek murdered someone, he gets his surgery paid for? You’ve gotta be freaking kidding me.

I completely agree with U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, of Massachusetts, who called this “an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars” and said, “We have many big challenges facing us as a nation, but nowhere among those issues would I include providing sex-change surgery to convicted murderers.”

The bigger issue, though, is how commonplace this sort of behavior has become in America today. At what point are we going to stop rewarding people for doing the wrong things? Are you obese? Sue McDonald’s! Did you get knocked up as an unwed teenager? Come be a star on an MTV reality show! Did you murder someone? Get all your health care paid for while noncriminals have to shell out hundreds a month for health insurance.

It’s sick and wrong, and it needs to stop. Unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t, so I guess all I can do is encourage my son to be a degenerate subhuman instead of a decent, contributing member of society. Sadly, he stands a better chance of getting ahead that way.

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