What is a "hate" crime, and what makes it any different than another crime? If I kill you, I am committing murder. I should be sentenced accordingly. Does it matter that I killed you because I hate blondes? Nope. You are just as dead, and I am just as responsible for it. I see no difference. My reasoning or intent makes very little difference. Should I be punished more harshly because you were black? Or gay? or whatever you want to insert as your "abomination"..?? Not to me.

Some years ago, during an interview with "W", cannot recall if he was president yet or not..a reporter asked him why he was against a hate crime bill introduced in Texas. They were refering to a case where a couple of people killed a gay man outside a bar somewhere..cannot recall all of the details of the case..But, his reaction was something along the lines that ...we sentenced the murderers to death, how much harsher could we have been?...

I tend to agree. Murder is punishable with death in the country, though that does not often happen. Well, what should the penalty be if you "hated" the victim? If you targeted that victim becuase of their "affliction". The downside is that once you enact such a law you can use if to punish any murder. You cannot be said to love anyone that you kill..there can be some hate uncovered in anything.

I am a proponent of harsh punishment. I feel that life/death sentences should be imposed on ANY crime that was perpetrated with malicious intent. Rape should be punishable with the death sentence in certain cases. Dead victim or not. Child rape especially.

For those of you who believe in a "hate crime" law, please explain your thoughts. Why should there be a difference? Just so it can go on the books as a hate crim? Does it change some statistics that provide more policemen? better government funding? Why isn't malicious murder a good enough description of a crime?

The true problem here is the lack of punishment for the crimes we do have..Not that there is not enough laws or compartments to put criminal behaviour into.


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I agree with you. Murder is still murder whether done for your wallet or because of your race. The victim is no less a victim because the killer's motivations were different.

Having these long court arguments (as is often the case) as to whether the criminal was motivated by ethnic or religious issues as opposed to 'other' reasons is an absurd side show which mocks justice.

Perhaps you're looking at it from the wrong direction. Firstly, you are going to the extreme with murder. What if it were merely assault? Sure we could still use the logic "beating up a guy because he backed into my car produces the same effect as beating him up because he was black" but should these two crimes be treated the same?

It comes down to how you think justice should work. If justice means that bad people pay for their crimes. Then the punishment should be the same. If justice means preventing future crimes, then these crimes are most certainly not the same because this person's chances of being in a fender bender are lower than their chances of encountering a person with dark skin. Basically, the person who committed the hate crime in this scenario is more likely to commit the same crime than the person who was merely mad that their car got banged up.

I would argue very strongly for preventative rather than retributive justice.

This is a bit of a bait and switch. If the argument is about recitivism, then that should be the criteria, race (or 'hate ') is NOT a valid surrogate.

Indeed theft is a more common motivation for repeat crimes

yeah i hate crimes no matter what flavor of greed or nihilism

The intent behind a crime or action does make a difference. Intent is why murder and manslaughter are different crimes and why there are such things as extenuating circumstances.

If I burn a small amount of rubbish on someone else's lawn, it is a minor inconvenience and the legal consequences will and should be fairly minor to reflect this. If I burn a cross on a black family's lawn, this has symbolic and intimidation elements which make it a worse crime, and hate crime law can be useful for reflecting this.

That's  an inaccurate comparison.  Indeed that should make the original case.

 The cross burning is intended to be interpreted a threat. Burning rubbish is not typically intended as a threat. However, if a simple action were perpetrated as a threat (organized crime is known to do some of these 'gestures' against people they want to intimidate) then it is EVERY BIT  as serious as a 'hate crime' and should NOT be treated less because there was no racial or other defined hate motive.

So, yes, absolutely intimidation through threatened violence is just as bad regardless of the motivation, and a person who is threatened but not part of a protected class, should be just as strongly protected.

Which of my comparisons are you objecting to and why?

I think you have misunderstood me. I am not saying that we should be more lenient if crimes do not have a "hate motive". I am suggesting that hate crime legislation could provide a legal framework to help determine how serious the same physical act is in different circumstances.

A crime is not the same regardless of motivation. Assaulting someone because you believe you are threatened is different from assaulting someone because you feel like it, even if the circumstances and actions are exactly the same.

The problem is that your examples are NOT comparable. You are contrasting serious threat of violence with mere vandalism and attributing that difference to the racial component.

Alright, this is the point:

Case 1: Cross burning on a black person's lawn. Universally recognized threat of violence used for  intimidation.

Case 2: Organized crime gang leaves on note with reminding you that home fires can be very dangerous especially to children and you should buy some 'insurance' to keep your house safe.

Case 2 has no racial component but it's a threat intended to intimidate, just like case 1. Should it be taken less seriously in court, or punishment less severe because there was no racial component? If we punish certain motivated crimes more severely, we are basically saying that some classes of victims are different from others (often based on racial or sexual classifications). That is fundamentally UNEQUAL treatment before the law.

The self defense (or perceived self defense) argument does not justify racially profiling victims. Because we allow for some consideration of self defense (often because something about the victim's behavior may have enhanced the confrontation), there is still no need to make a special judgement based on race. It's either self defense or it's not.

Jay, you are missing my point. I agree with you that in both the cases you described there is a threat of indimitation that should be taken equally seriously regardless of race. However, you have compared 2 different actions which equate to the same crime.

A better example would be

Case 1: burning a cross on a black person's lawn

Case 2: burning a cross on a white person's lawn

In both cases, exactly the same physical action is performed, but the crimes are different, and this is due to the racial component.

The serious crime is not the burning of the cross. The crime is the intimidation through threat of violence. While in this one unusual case the interpretation of violent threat may be more likely in the case of the black person (not exclusively, the Klan intimidated lots of people), there is absolutely no need for a 'hate crime' enhancement to the penalty. Violent intimidation is criminal regardless of the form it takes, or the race, gender, or religion of the target.

The whole concept of treating a crime as more serious (with enhanced sentencing) because it is directed at certain people is an offense against the principle of equal protection.

You don't need the the bullcrap concept of 'hate crime' to achieve justice. What you need is consistency.

You are saying that the same crime deserves the same penalty, and I don't think I've ever disagreed on that point. A lot of your arguments are against what you think I am implying, and I agree with what you've said about consistency.

What I am saying is that a specific action may be a crime when done to one group of people but not when done to another, and hate crime legislation could be useful for providing a legal framework to show this and allow appropriate sentencing.

I am also saying that assaulting someone because they are black should be treated exactly the same as assaulting them because you felt like it or wanted their wallet, but differently from if you were in danger (either real or imagined).

Perhaps you and I are not so far apart. The crime should be judged on what is done to the victim not the race of the victim (though that may illuminate what happened)




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