If man A punches man B in the chops silently, it's assault and battery. If he says "You fucking Icelander," during the assault it's a hate crime with potentially far higher penalties.

Does that make any sense to you?

Hate crime legislation is subject to a lot of abuse by prosecutors wanting to put a big feather in their cap.

Case in point: the recent conviction of the leader and some members of a minor sub-sect of The Amish for cutting off the beards of men and the hair of women who had left his group. To my mind, this was a case of simple assault and didn't deserve the money and time devoted to assuring that the leader and some of his followers might spend their lives in a Federal prison.

The law applied, intended to stop such things as lynchings and church burnings is applied to punish some men for cutting hair.

Isn't it ridiculous? I always support the religious folk against the government because "there but for fortune go you or I" someday.

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This discussion of the Dharun Ravi trial is interesting.

In order to protect minorities, yes we do. But not for objectionable slanderous speech. There needs to be some sort of control over discriminating acts of violence.

How is a minority protected any more by hate crime laws?

Why should a minority enjoy additional protection? It seems to me that if hate crime laws actually protect minorities, I'd like to have that protection as well? Why should it be withheld from me?

Because minorities are specifically targeted over others. Well since you are an atheist you are regarded as a discriminated minority. Trouble is not every country recognises the rights of atheists to be the same as everyone else

My question wasn't WHY it was HOW? You don't seriously believe that before some bigot smacks you upside the head for being something they dislike that they are going to go through some sort of deliberation involving asking themselves if they want to do enhanced time for a hate crime, do you? In fact, most criminals either attack impulsively or they believe to the bottom of their soul that they are doing the perfect crime and will get away with it.

One of the reasons for hate crime laws is to punish, not only the attacker, but also the culture of hate from which he or she derives motivation. If there were ever some number of violent zealots who took it upon themselves to target superannuated white men.

I keep hearing this argument expressed several different ways. My response is how would the culture of hate you refer to not be punished if the attacker of the non-minority person attacked similarly received exactly the same punishment? Punishment is punishment. Clearly it doesn't deter because these attacks are either done in a fit of rage or in an "I can get away with it" state of mind. How does enhancing the punishment accomplish anything? If we can punish the simple assault in a bar of a gay person by a bigot with two years in prison, what is lost by issuing the same punishment to the person who attacks someone who's not a member of a minority?

Perhaps the anti-hate laws make minorities feel all warm and cuddly in a "See, we care about you" way, but I don't think that's what the justice system is for.

There's a reason why Lady Justice is blind.

On the whole. no.

I could see one exception that's not really an exception:  If it can be shown that the crime was done with the intent of terrorizing a larger group (minority or not), then I'd add a terrorism charge.  (For example, if Job Lowe drags a gay to death behind his truck for the purpose of systematically intimidating other gays, that would qualify (merely because he hates "faggots" doesn't); likewise if some gays did the same to a straight man for the same reason.)  Some of what now passes as "hate crime" would probably fall into that bucket.

To my mind, hate crime laws are like terrorism laws.  Both involve violent crime but the intent goes far beyond the assault/murder to undermine the security of a particular group of people.  They are two edged swords in that they seek to provide security to the targeted group but also often serve to elevate the crime to a status that undermines security even more.  I think they are necessary categories but need to be applied very cautiously.

So, even though (for the sake of argument) I don't belong to a discriminated against minority, I'm not entitled to the maximum protection the government can afford me?

BTW, almost everyone belongs to some sort of minority, except for non-handicapped adult males short of being elderly.

As an elderly person, I should be afforded the same protection as, for example, ethnic or sexual minorities. No?

If someone gets up tomorrow morning and decides they are going to go out and beat the hell out of the next old person they see, then they should be prosecuted the same way as if they woke up and decided the beat up the next gay person they see.

The point here is that in most cases a murder against 'the next X person I see' would be considered second degree - can't premeditate a murder against someone that I have not yet come to know.  In the case of a hate crime, however, there is a premeditation - and it's sort of worse than just deciding to kill that asshole down the block.  The asshole down the block might at least have some idea you are coming.  The next gay person you see, however, will have no idea that you are coming.

So, yes, if someone decides to go out and assault/kill old people, that is just as much a hate crime as it is when someone decides to go out and assualt/kill the next gay person, or mullet person, or whatever.

But in many ways a young person (whether minority or not) is "worth" more than an older person with relatively few years left to contribute, so in terms of value to society, wouldn't killing an elderly person, even if it's done out of hate against the elderly, be less a crime than killing someone with years left to contribute to society?

In my view, personal security should be an inalienable right equally provided to all.  In that regard, I think anyone who could understand that they were members of a group seen as being less worth seeking justice for would be denied, to some extent, the same sense of personal security afforded to others.


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