Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Should ‘Hate Crimes’ Laws Be Abolished?
Don Surber: All crimes of person and many crimes of property are hate. All the hate crimes law does is politicize criminal prosecution. They are de facto blasphemy laws only against Muslims.
Michael McDaniel: Hate crime laws are inherently anti-American. They pick winners, and assert that some people, some victims, are of greater value than others. This is why progressives and Black Lives Matter activists and their supporters become so outraged when anyone dare suggest all lives–including black lives–matter. They claim special, exalted status. Such laws make a mockery of equal justice for all by giving preferred victim groups greater status before the law, greater value as human beings. As such, hate crime laws are a particularly vile form of virtue signaling.
A primary argument for such laws is as a sort of expiation of guilt for the mistreatment of Blacks in the past. Thus do contemporary Americans, who have trespassed against none, need to make atonement for the sins their ancestors–for the most part–didn’t commit. This too does not comport well with the principle of equal justice for the law, which holds all men equal before the law, taking them as they come, not dragging with them the sins–or none–of their ancestors of ages past. No man facing criminal charges should be forced to carry the sins of the ages with him into court.
There is a great deal of irony involved as well. It is progressives that commonly support these laws, virtue signaling being a primary way by which they identify themselves, and live. Yet it is the same people that work tirelessly to lower the sentences of vicious criminals, to shut down jails, to release offenders as early as possible, and as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, to actually immunize Blacks from arrest in the first place. It is these people who make folk heroes of cop killers and traitors.
And who are the criminals they wish to lionize and free? Usually blacks, who commit crimes out of all proportion to their population distribution, and usually against other blacks. However, hate crime prosecutions are virtually never applied when black criminals kill each other, or even black innocents. They are also virtually never done when black criminals kill white people, the social justice theory being that white people cannot, by virtue of their privilege, be discriminated against. No need to peer into the thoughts of black murderers; their race absolves them of all hate.
Hate crimes are reserved for those that commit crimes against favored victim groups.
Prosecution for hate crimes also requires far less proof–less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt–for conviction. Those pushing hate crime laws would deny this, and some even argue those that are accused of hate crimes deserve to be convicted regardless of a lack of evidence. That’s the point of the laws in the first place. Hate crimes, you see, are proved by mere race. A white person accused of assaulting a black person must, by virtue of their race, be guilty of hate. The principle has come to be applied to the LGBTQWERTY victim community. When one of these people is the victim of an assault, or virtually any other crime, the motivation must be hate. No other possibility exists by virtue of the victim’s favored gender/sexual preference, social justice status. This is why, in many cases, and in many places, it is nearly impossible for defendants to receive fair trials.
Another pernicious factor is the determination of hate must involve the establishment of thought crime. Juries and judges are required to read the minds, to determine the motivations, of defendants. For defendants choosing to stand on their Fifth Amendment rights, the prosecution may weave any outlandish theories of hate they wish, and because hate crime prosecutions always rest on an ever-shifting foundation of emotion and political correctness, conviction may be very easy indeed to obtain.
If the penalties for a given crime are insufficient, it is an easy matter for legislatures to correct such oversight. If legislators wish to add enhancements for specific criminal acts, that too is easy to do. The law, if it is to be equal for all, if we are to have a rule of law, must be race, gender and religion blind. Thought crime can have no place in a constitutional republic. How can any man know which thoughts are criminal and which are not, and under which circumstances?
Hate crime laws do not serve the public interest, only the narrow and vindictive political interests of Progressives. They are an element of social justice, not the rule of law.
Dave Schuler: “Hate crimes” should not be distinct crimes. There’s a reasonable argument for taking hate into account at sentencing but not for “hate crimes” to be distinct crimes.
Bookworm Room: Hate crimes should definitely be abolished.
Murder is a criminal act, regardless of the victim. Assault is a criminal act, regardless of the animus driving the perpetrator.
A crime is a crime is a crime. Our government should never declare that some lives are more or less valuable than others in the hierarchy of criminal events, no matter how well-intentioned that declaration may be.
JoshuaPundit: Hate crimes? Nothing but a sop to ‘protected’ groups. You’ll notice that blacks, homosexuals, Hispanics (especially illegal migrants) and Muslims are rarely if ever charged with them, no matter how egregious and racially motivated the offense. No, hate crime charges are largely limited to white males. The entire premise is ridiculous anyway. If a crime is committed with malice aforethought, that ought to be a sufficient basis for a trial and for sentencing.
Oh and by the way, let’s bring back Ol’ Sparky for capital offenses, shall we? A painless injection is no deterrent.
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