Hate crimes are in the news again. Oh, goody.
Who decided that some crimes are worse than others, some victims more special than other victims, and whatever other criteria is used to make some crimes “hate crimes” while others are just “crimes?” Whoever did that, I have a few questions for you.
If a child defends himself or herself from someone in a bathroom attempting to engage in a sexual act with that child, is the child committing a hate crime if the pedophile self-identifies as the same sex as the child that day? Is an invalid grandmother any less dead if killed by someone of her own race during the commission of a home invasion? What exactly is accomplished when a convicted killer is found additionally guilty of a “hate crime” when his murder convictions cause him to be put to death and the “hate crime” indictment delays the eventual carrying out of his death sentence? What crimes other than “hate crimes” require that motive be proven as an element of the crime?
Convicting anyone of a crime should be based upon evidence. It is supposed to be a logical process. Science and analytical thinking should be involved. How do you do that with something called a “hate crime?” Can we measure hate? Can we even accurately identify it?
An argument can be made that all crimes are hate crimes. How can one human being violate another human being in any way without some level of hatred toward them? Does it really matter if the motivation for a bad guy is that he hates everyone, all blondes, only women, persons of a race other than his (or her) own, or some other characteristic? Do parents grieve the loss of a child more or less based upon the sexual activity of that child? Is raping a virgin worse than raping someone else? Is murdering an unemployed victim less hateful than murdering someone in the work force?
There is a legitimate place for considering many of these questions. After a conviction is secured, a sentence is given. It is at that time that motive, aggravating circumstances, hatefulness, and everything else identifying the heinousness of the criminal act can and should be considered. If evidence of a particularly disgusting attitude toward some type of person by the convicted thug exists, this is the time for it.
Meanwhile, “hate crimes” still occupy the imagination of too many people in this country. They still cannot adequately explain how they know that one crime is more hateful than another. Until they do, I remain beyond skeptical that “hate crime” is a legitimate criminal charge.
Of course, that doesn’t stop many folks from accusing others of all sorts of -isms for which they have absolutely no evidence. Perhaps that is why they so treasure the term “hate crime.” They get to throw it out whenever it suits them with no regard for common sense, consistency or an ability to prove anything.