re: #211 Aceofwhat?
I’m pretty ambivalent about hate crime laws. A friend of mine who is a judge said that if you don’t need think you need the provision at the first offense, you’ll need it at the thousandth one.
To a certain extent, laws are symbolic. I do feel that it’s more of a threat to society to persecute minorities for being minorities than it is to be a common crominal. I think burning a cross on a lawn is a bigger offense than whatever fire code violation that is and whatever trespassing charge. There’s an implicit threat of violence.
Now, if all that can be handled inside the context of laws without calling them ‘hate crime’ laws, that’s fine.
But all groups are protected under hate crime bills, the majority as well as the minority. Blacks are prosecuted for hate crimes against whites. It doesn’t raise one group above another.
I don’t think they’re necessarily effective, I think they have some rather bad aspects to them, and it can easily be argued that they confuse real reasons people are killing each other— making a poverty issue into a race issue, for example.
I feel it’s necessary to prevent systematic terrorization of minorities; I think hate crime laws are a very imperfect way to do that.