Criminalize Crime, Not Hate

Mar 8 2012 @ 2:37pm

In response to the Dharun Ravi trail, Tish Durkin trashes hate crimes laws:

Is a maniac who opens fire in a shopping mall less objectionable than a maniac who opens fire in a gay club? Does a man who kills his daughter out of anger that she is having sex with a man deserve less punishment than a man who kills his daughter out of anger that she is having sex with a woman? A college lacrosse player was recently convicted of beating his ex-girlfriend to death, apparently enraged that she had begun a relationship with a player for another team. If the victim had begun seeing a female lacrosse player, or an African-American, would her murder have been worse?

Along the same lines, James Jacobs claims that hate crime laws are mostly used against small-time criminals:

In the 1980s, proponents of the original bias crime laws said they meant to go after murderous plots by members of neo-Nazi and similar hard-core hate groups. Now, bias crime prosecutions most often involve young defendants, frequently mixed-up teenagers, who commit low-level offenses like criminal mischief and simple assault, typically escalating from spontaneous altercations at a party, in a parking lot or at a school event.

Earlier coverage of the case here and here. My problems with hate crimes law explained here and above. My essay, “What’s So Bad About Hate,” can be read here.