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expatriate's picture
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Amen to that. Murder is murder.

What concers me about the "hate crime" issue is its potential for abuse. I can see people being accused of hate crime because they led racist organizations that did bad things. Then they're accused of hate crime because of speeches they gave at rallies that were followed by an act of violence. Then, case by case, the very expression of a racial viewpoint is "hate crime."

Same thing with terrorism. Case by case, I can see it growing to start stifling First Amendment rights and political opposition.

We've also seen a disturbing tendency for left wingers to use those terms selectively as political trump cards. Why is it that an interracial murder is a hate crime when it goes one way, but not if it goes another? Why is crime against one faith "hate" but another faith isn't?

If a family member is murdered, they're not more dead because the killer acted based on skin color, nor would they be less dead if they didn't. All murder is a "hate" crime, because it's the most prejudicial act you can take against another person.

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The history of having a special designation for hate crimes is old and widely understood. I'm very suprised neither of you seem aware of it.

For one thing it gives the federal government authority to step in and prosecute in situations where local law enforcement might be either inadequate to the task or culturaly at odds. Most similar nations with multi party democracies have similar laws. Europe is almost universal, Albania and such dont' have a law, North Korea, China, etc. It covers not only murder but cross burnings etc. Where things get gray is with hate speach. We as a society dislike hate speach such as I often hear on my AM radio, but we choose to allow it so to ensure free speach.

The decision that the hate crime law does not inhipbit free speach was unanimous by SCOTUS.

The concept that hate crime is an especially odius threat to society is near universal in the United States. I'd be hard pressed to think of any political organisation that doesn't accept it as a basic tenet of our society. Perhaps Neo Nazi White Supremacists, I dont' know.

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In re reading Expatriates post I can see you really don't understand the law.

It's not when one race commits a crima against a person of another race, it's when one commits a crime because of race. Statisticaly prosecutions of course work both ways, and race is only the reason in half the hate crimes. Of course prosecution isn't selective according to religion, what would cause one to think that way? Certainly not statistics?

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Quote:
Pangolin wrote,
For one thing it gives the federal government authority to step in and prosecute in situations where local law enforcement might be either inadequate to the task or culturaly at odds.

Point taken and I understand this as local and state law enforcement agencies during the 60's largely ignored crimes committed by racist groups against blacks and other minorities. My point is we can and do still have laws against murder without labeling them hate crimes.
The Federal government still has authority to prosecute these crimes. Unfortunately the label of hate speech has become a way to intimmidate and label anyone who disagrees with the status quo. The term has been twisted and misused to the point where it is no longer a solution to a problem but the problem itself.
As to weather or not there are any real democracies in Europe is another thread. I do see your point Pangolin and it is a valid one but I think it's time to stop labeling things with regards to race and religion. It's simply no longer relavant and divides rather than unites.
With some notable exceptions society has largely evolved away from racism and will continue to do so only if we destroy boundries we ourselves have created. It's time to move on.

expatriate's picture
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pangolin wrote:
In re reading Expatriates post I can see you really don't understand the law.

Unless you're an attorney, I guarantee you I've spent more time with lawyers putting together and prosecuting criminal cases than anyone on this forum.

The concept of "hate crime" punishes motivation, not the crime itself. This isn't Norh Korea; our system of law is based on what you do, not what you think. Since when is the same crime more heinous when committed against someone of a particular race or religion?

If it doesn't involve an associated act that's already illegal, "hate crime" often encroaches on First Amendment rights -- ugly as it may be. It doesn't matter if abhorrence of racial hatred is a universal value -- the framers of the Constitution codified the notion that we are willing to endure offense for the sake of free speech. Other nations haven't made that commitment, so it's not really germane to use their values as an example.

Is hanging a nazi banner out a window offensive? Without a doubt. But is it criminal? That's the slippery slope we have to worry about -- when we start to criminalize offense.

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Expatriate wrote,
It doesn't matter if abhorrence of racial hatred is a universal value -- the framers of the Constitution codified the notion that we are willing to endure offense for the sake of free speech.

This really is the bottom line here. Hatred is abhorrent but hatred is thought, not action. Actions can and should be regulated and rewarded or punished. We learn this from the time we are small. Thought is and should be left to the individual, no matter how against the norms if society it goes. Freedom isn't allowing everyone to agree with you, it's allowing anyone to disagree. The concept of "hate speech" is the beginning of a dangerous trend and a danger to democracy.

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