Book X: Hate is a motive, not a crime
Holy crap, the president might be right about something
Originally published Sept. 27, 2007
Democrats in the senate attached to a defense department funding bill one of their pet pieces of legislation, forcing the opposition to choose between accepting an extension of hate crime legislation or closing the department of defense.
That’s ridiculous and stupid and something they used to complain about when they were the minority.
The president has said he would veto the expansion of the hate crime legislation to include people victimized because of their sexuality if it came to him as a stand alone bill.
So instead of trying to compromise or work with the opposition, Democrats simply attached it to a larger bill that must be signed into law, even though the larger bill has absolutely nothing to do with the attachment.
Now, had they attached a provision allowing gays to (openly) serve in the military to the defense bill, that would at least make sense, but the hate crime extension?
Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-Capitol Hill – come on, he’s been there so long he’s got to be faking that Boston accent at this point) tried to link the two with this little bit of oratorical gymnastics: “The defense authorization is about dealing with the challenges of terrorism overseas…This (bill) is about terrorism in our neighborhood.”
Aside from that, there is the basic question about the true need for such legislation in the first place. In his explanation as to why he would veto the provision if it arrived on his desk as a separate bill, President Bush said the extension was “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.”
I can’t believe I am saying this, but he’s not wrong.
In general, hate crime legislation is an attempt to make thoughts and feelings illegal. All of the crimes that fall under the giant banner of “hate crime” are already crimes: harassment, assault, battery, etc. The difference is that labeling something a “hate crime” criminalizes the reasons someone commits a crime, instead of the actual crime itself.
For example, I am a straight, white male. If i get attacked, harassed or beat up by another white guy, even if he calls me names while he does it, it is just assault.
However, if he does the same thing to a black or gay man, it could be considered a hate crime.
Frankly, that is unamerican because it is an attempt to criminalize thoughts and ideas. What matters is that the person was attacked, not why they were attacked.
Now, I don’t care if you are black, white, gay, straight, male, or female. I am not a racist or a bigot or a homophobe. I just don’t care about those things and the law shouldn’t either.
A crime is a crime is a crime.
If laws are applied differently (or created for one group over another) that is unfair and i firmly believe that giving any of those groups special treatment – such as hate crime legislation – will only further prevent them from being assimilated into the fabric of the country.
Such laws legitimize and codify unequal treatment based on race.
Now, all of that being said, it does seem stupid that sexual orientation is not one of the protected classes in such legislation, as gays and lesbians are absolutely targeted for their sexuality in the same way people of color are targeted for their race.
But again, trying to criminalize motive, reasons and thoughts is dangerous business.
In America, you are absolutely allowed to be a closed-minded bigot who judges people based on the color of their skin or where they like to put their penis, but the law is the law and should not take such factors into consideration.
Hate crimes are, at their base level, still crimes.
Whether you do it because you hate someone or because you are bored shouldn’t change the crime. Judges should be allowed to consider motive when handing down a sentence – that’s why we have judges – but in the long run, prosecuting why someone commits a crime gets us into a difficult and increasingly dangerous territory.