I would like to start a discussion regarding hate crimes. I think that my position on this might be a little bit of a shock to some people but it is not a topic that I have researched thoroughly. I definitely would value any intelligent discourse that could be offered on this topic.
I realize that the reason people are trying to push hate crime legislation is so that particular groups will not be targeted for violence. For example, If someone knew that they would get a more severe sentence for beating someone up because they were gay rather than beating someone up just because they don’t like them, then maybe this will result in less beatings of gay people.
Maybe this type of thought process works. It is definitely a good thing to discourage acts of violence against someone based on a genetic orientation, life choice or really for any reason at all. My initial reaction to this is that it offers protection to one class of people while denying it to all others. As an Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinker, this is exactly the type of mindset that we are trying to avoid. We do not want groups to have special consideration one way or another. We should all be equal, right?
So let’s say that I see a man walking down the street and I have a problem with him because he is gay, or black, or Christian. So I get in my car and drive by him clocking him in the neck with a baseball bat. The man falls to the ground and dies. Now I am looking at a life sentence or the death penalty because my crime was motivated by this man’s lifestyle.
Now let’s say that I committed the same crime but I simply did it because I am a mean person. Well since it is not a hate crime now I am only looking at 25 years. Maybe less if I can plead down to a manslaughter charge. This is the same crime but the motivation is different. The victim is still dead and his family and friends are destitute. I have changed a group of people’s life and altered the course of one man’s life forever. Why should the punishment change based upon my motivation.
I believe that there should be one punishment to fit one crime and motivation should be a non issue. If you kill someone on purpose then it makes no difference if you are mean, a bigot or a psychopathic killer. Once you have shown that you are capable of taking a life with forethought, you should be locked away like the animal you are. The race, lifestyle, or religion of the person that you harmed should have nothing to do with it.
I believe hate crime legislation is just another step in the progression of a police state, to justify giving more time to those who the government picks and chooses, should have more time. What do you think?