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Hate crimes legislation?
Posted: 13 April 2012 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m an unabashed liberal. I have great sympathies for victims of all crimes, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator. But for the life of me, I can’t understand why we need hate crimes laws. It seems that if you perform a violent act against someone, it really makes no difference to your victim what your reason is for perpetrating the crime. Why should it matter?

But I am willing to reconsider, if someone can convince me of the need. I just don’t get it.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Good question. The way I understand it, a hate crime is different only in the sense that the punishment is more severe. I.e., a crime is a crime but if it is biased against a group, then the punishment is more severe (supposedly because it potentially invokes greater retaliation from the group).

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Posted: 13 April 2012 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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FreeInKy - 13 April 2012 07:26 AM

I’m an unabashed liberal. I have great sympathies for victims of all crimes, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator. But for the life of me, I can’t understand why we need hate crimes laws. It seems that if you perform a violent act against someone, it really makes no difference to your victim what your reason is for perpetrating the crime. Why should it matter?

But I am willing to reconsider, if someone can convince me of the need. I just don’t get it.

Well, presumably part of the point of having punishment at all is to deter socially unacceptable actions. Beating someone up is socially unacceptable since it brings pain and suffering to the person beaten up. Hate crimes, though, can have wider effects: someone is beaten up as a representative of a particular, historically maligned minority group. So while a crime done towards an individual can perhaps lead to retributive acts by members of that person’s family, hate crimes can cause wider scale social disruptions. As such they are more socially unacceptable than crimes against individuals, so deterrence is harsher.

(I think this is also what traveler was getting at).

At least that’s how I understand it. Perhaps someone with more legal background can elucidate things better.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Laws are put in place for the sake of society in general.  Since “hate crimes” can have broader problematic effects for society, than crimes otherwise motivated, I have no problem, in principle, with more severe punishment for hate motivated crimes.  But I wonder, in practice, how the motivations of the criminals can be reliably determined. 

I guess the broader problems for society, only come in to play when a crime is percieved as motivated by hate.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FreeInKy - 13 April 2012 07:26 AM

I’m an unabashed liberal. I have great sympathies for victims of all crimes, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator. But for the life of me, I can’t understand why we need hate crimes laws. It seems that if you perform a violent act against someone, it really makes no difference to your victim what your reason is for perpetrating the crime. Why should it matter?

But I am willing to reconsider, if someone can convince me of the need. I just don’t get it.

The KKK are a hate group. They specifically targeted blacks, who were easy visual targets, but would also target you if were known to be Catholic or Jewish. They killed with impunity. This was very effective in intimidating entire populations, until they were broken up by the FBI. Please explain why this sort of crime should NOT receive a harsher penalty?

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Posted: 13 April 2012 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What I don’t understand why it’s legal for the Black Panthers to produce flyers saying “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” Why is that legal? If I was looking for a person to murder my wife or the president and got caught, wouldn’t I get arrested? Actually, the Black Panthers’ interest in murdering Zimmerman should be more punishable than inquiring about a hitman to kill my wife or the president since it is out of hate, no?

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Posted: 13 April 2012 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Now that you mention it, I wonder how it is/was that “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters with rewards, were ever legal.  It does seem to be a way of putting a contract “hit” out on someone.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It’s certainly not legal to threaten someone with murder, or incite murder. But given how often one reads similar things to this in the news (we saw it here with one long-time troll that the Canadian authorities refused to arrest for many years), I would hypothesize that police allow plenty of leeway for jackasses to vent spleen, otherwise they’d be arresting thousands.

That said, expressing hatred for someone isn’t a “hate crime”. A hate crime is a crime of violence directed at a person as a representative for a community that has experienced historical prejudice.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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“Hate Crimes” are, in reality, “Thought Crimes” because they add on extra punishment based on what the perpetrator was thinking at the time of the crime.  Hate Crimes are also in direct violation of the First Amendment.  It is perfectly legal to hate someone.  Just look at the left.  They couldn’t exist without their hatred of Bush, Cheney, the Koch Brothers or whatever devil du jour MSNBC tells them to hate this week.  And they are perfectly entitled to hate these people.  It is their First Amendment Right.  Hate whomever you want.  You just can’t initiate violence against them - either to take their money or because you disagree with their politics or don’t like the color of their hair, skin or eyes.  The reason the perpetrator initiated the violence is not the crime.  Once they decided to take action (due to hate or greed), that’s the crime that should be punished. 

Hate Crimes also make some people more equal than others.  Let’s face it, Hate Crime Legislation is aimed not at going after minority criminals of any stripe.  Does anyone think that if a gang of black youths beat, stripped and robbed a white guy, that the left would call it a “hate crime”?  And they shouldn’t.  It’s a crime.  Period.  Give the perpetrators their due process, convict them and imprison them, be they black, white, gay, straight or whatever.  This desire by too many of dividing people by nothing more than the color of an organ (skin) or who they like to sleep with causes more problems than it solves.  People are people.  Crimes are crimes.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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FreeInKy - 13 April 2012 07:26 AM

I’m an unabashed liberal. I have great sympathies for victims of all crimes, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator. But for the life of me, I can’t understand why we need hate crimes laws. It seems that if you perform a violent act against someone, it really makes no difference to your victim what your reason is for perpetrating the crime. Why should it matter?

But I am willing to reconsider, if someone can convince me of the need. I just don’t get it.

I think it’s mainly to stroke the public’s emotions.  The idea that hate crimes are more damaging to society is probably true, but any crime against a person can be perceived as a hate crime; the damage is done and society can “suffer” regardless of the legal reasoning.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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George - 13 April 2012 01:05 PM

Actually, the Black Panthers’ interest in murdering Zimmerman should be more punishable than inquiring about a hitman to kill my wife or the president since it is out of hate, no?

The ‘Black Panther’ group AND Spike Lee were both Grade A Jackasses. If a hair on Zimmerman had been hurt, it should certainly should have been a prosecutable crime, but I don’t think it quite rises to the level of yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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When you actively state you are looking for a black person to kill, and then chain them to the back of a truck and drag them to pieces (Byrd of Texas), or state you are going out looking to kill black men talking to white women and kill in three separate instances and wound (Vernon Jordan) a fourth, When you bomb a black church and kill 4 little girls, when you beat to death a Chinese emigrant(in Michigan), thinking he was Japanese (and the man was let off, because of the mistaken ethnicity, a result that boggles the mind), or beat to death an Ethiopian (Oregon)thinking he was muslim (generally, they aren’t—and he wasn’t, but that is beside the point)...clearly hate crimes.

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Posted: 13 April 2012 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You don’t want to leave these boys out of the discussion, and they’re on the rise. Hmmm don’t see many of those salivating “liberal” hate groups mentioned here.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/nativist-extremist-groups-2011


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Posted: 14 April 2012 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 13 April 2012 10:15 PM

You don’t want to leave these boys out of the discussion, and they’re on the rise. Hmmm don’t see many of those salivating “liberal” hate groups mentioned here.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/nativist-extremist-groups-2011


Cap’t Jack

Liberals can be hateful, but they’re generally to wimpy to do anything.

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Posted: 14 April 2012 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Liberals can be hateful, but they’re generally to wimpy to do anything.


No liberals in the NRA? You can get a severe tongue lashing though. Check out The Ed Show sometime.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 14 April 2012 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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mid atlantic - 14 April 2012 01:42 AM
Thevillageatheist - 13 April 2012 10:15 PM

You don’t want to leave these boys out of the discussion, and they’re on the rise. Hmmm don’t see many of those salivating “liberal” hate groups mentioned here.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/nativist-extremist-groups-2011


Cap’t Jack

Liberals can be hateful, but they’re generally to wimpy to do anything.

Or… Liberals can hate ideas that prevent positive change, but they’re generally too smart to hit people.  tongue wink

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