Do you think there should be hate crime laws?

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Alexender
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24 Mar 2012, 11:16 pm

Not knowing much about it I would just assume yes. But my dad told me a about a very persuasive article he read. Basically if someone commits a crime then they get punished, but if it is a hate crime then they are generally punished more severely. Doesn't that mean that you are getting punished for you thoughts?


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24 Mar 2012, 11:21 pm

Alexender wrote:
Not knowing much about it I would just assume yes. But my dad told me a about a very persuasive article he read. Basically if someone commits a crime then they get punished, but if it is a hate crime then they are generally punished more severely. Doesn't that mean that you are getting punished for you thoughts?


I don't think there should be hate crime laws. We've got enough laws already.



LKL
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24 Mar 2012, 11:39 pm

Alexender wrote:
Not knowing much about it I would just assume yes. But my dad told me a about a very persuasive article he read. Basically if someone commits a crime then they get punished, but if it is a hate crime then they are generally punished more severely. Doesn't that mean that you are getting punished for you thoughts?

The term 'hate crime' has caused a lot of misconceptions on this issue. It isn't about hate, per se, so much as it is about terrorizeing the community of the victim. To take an obvious example, the point of the KKK burning the cross on the lawn of a black family was not merely the vandalism of burning the cross; it was to send a signal not only to that family but to the entire black community that they were being watched and that the damage would be done before the cops ever arrived, so don't stick your head out, toe the line, etc. The crime was the vandalism; the 'extra' crime was not hate, but community suppression.



simon_says
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24 Mar 2012, 11:39 pm

I don't mind adding more years to someone's sentence based on factors. We already have degrees of murder and modifiers for them when combined with other felonies, or for brutality, or for being paid to commit them. There isnt just a single type of "murder" charge.

We make up the law and it's full of arbitrary detail that satisfies some popular notion of justice.



Master_Pedant
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24 Mar 2012, 11:40 pm

I support most hate crime laws, but oppose hate speech laws.


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Ancalagon
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25 Mar 2012, 1:20 am

LKL wrote:
The term 'hate crime' has caused a lot of misconceptions on this issue. It isn't about hate, per se, so much as it is about terrorizeing the community of the victim.

If that's the concern, why label it 'hate crime laws'?

Isn't intimidation already illegal? Part of the reason I'm against hate crime laws is that they criminalize something that's already illegal. I can't see a good reason to make it double-illegal.


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blauSamstag
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25 Mar 2012, 1:53 am

I'm not sure.

Largely, I'd like to think that we can cover 90% of that spectrum with sentencing guidelines for crimes where the intent or severity appears to have been influenced by a specific malice toward a group or class of people. Which could be black people or dentists for all i care.

On the other hand, there are states that still practice oldschool racism. Like Arizona, where people make threats of violence over a mural painted on the side of a school that depicted minority children who actually attend that school.

Never mind that making threats of violence is illegal to begin with, that sort of dickery needs a smackdown.

I used to date a girl from Fountain Hills AZ, and she told me one day that she'd noticed a black family looking at houses for sale in her neighborhood, and then a couple hours later noticed that someone had put up signs explaining that attractive and successful african-americans are not welcome in fountain hills. Seriously. And I'm not sure that this should be protected speech.



Dox47
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25 Mar 2012, 6:00 am

Nope. Something is criminal or it isn't; the offender's personal beliefs shouldn't come into it at all.


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DC
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25 Mar 2012, 9:51 am

Dox47 wrote:
Nope. Something is criminal or it isn't; the offender's personal beliefs shouldn't come into it at all.



There are two people separate cases but same crime on the same day.

One of these people is called Dox47 and one of this people is called Mohammed.

Both of these people were stopped by police and found to have a number of guns and significant amounts of ammunition on them.

Dox47 has been a gun rights enthusiast for years is licensed for many types of firearms, teaches gun safety at the local range for free and was carrying guns he claims to attend a gun safety event where he would demonstrate how to safely handle a variety of weapons.

It turns out that Dox's big machine gun was manufactured illegally in 1987 and had false paperwork. When Dox47 purchased the firearm in 2004 he had complied with all relevant laws and was the victim of fraud, the previous owners had lied about the date of manufacture.

But the law is the law and Dox47 is now illegally in possession of class three firearm.

Muhammed was stopped with a similar class of weapon in his possession, Muhammed had never applied for a gun licence and the weapon had been smuggled into the country and provided to him by a terrorist group. When asked Muhammed says he had intended to use the weapon to open fire on the fourth of july parade killing as many people as possible because he hates America and is willing to give up his life blah blah blah.


Both Dox47 and Muhammed at this point have committed an identical crime do you really think they both deserve equal punishment in the eyes of the law?


PS, I am not an expert in american law so please don't bother informing me of some technicality that Dox47 or Muhammed has in the description of their case that changes things completely. It is a thought experiment about whether or not a person's belief should influence the application of law.



Tequila
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25 Mar 2012, 9:57 am

No. I don't think these should exist. A crime is a crime.



Tequila
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25 Mar 2012, 9:58 am

DC wrote:
PS, I am not an expert in american law so please don't bother informing me of some technicality that Dox47 or Muhammed has in the description of their case that changes things completely. It is a thought experiment about whether or not a person's belief should influence the application of law.


Your example is clearly false. Check out Dox47's story and, if it all works out, let him go if he is legal. The terrorist is a terrorist.



androbot2084
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25 Mar 2012, 10:02 am

If someone commits a hate crime and fires me because I am autistic I don't think punishing them is the answer.



Tequila
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25 Mar 2012, 10:04 am

androbot2084 wrote:
If someone commits a hate crime and fires me because I am autistic I don't think punishing them is the answer.


That's not a hate crime. They might well not be firing you because you're autistic but because you've done something that requires dismissal. Same for anyone else.



TM
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25 Mar 2012, 11:01 am

To me, the introduction of hate crimes are scarily similar to the idea of thought crime. The "formula" so to speak would be 1+X = Punishment. Meaning that the act itself elicits one response, but the motivation behind the act (which is inside the head of the perpetrator) elicits an additional response. Can anyone really know the motivation for anyone doing anything? We can theorize about the motivation but its hard to establish objectively in a lot of cases.

The foundation of a justice system has to be that one punishes for acts not motivations. After all, if motivations are a major influence, then someone who robs a store to feed his family should be punished less than someone who did it to afford heroin. At such a stage we are legislating "taste" or "popular moral opinion" which isn't an objective measure into a system which should be objective.



ruveyn
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25 Mar 2012, 11:08 am

Hate crime exists only if hatred is a crime. I know of now State of the U.S. where hating is against the law.

There is crime and there is non-crime. The notion of hate-crime is absurd as it convicts people for having a certain state of mind.

Hate-Crime = Thought-Crime. Right out of Orwell.

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DC
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25 Mar 2012, 11:21 am

Tequila wrote:
DC wrote:
PS, I am not an expert in american law so please don't bother informing me of some technicality that Dox47 or Muhammed has in the description of their case that changes things completely. It is a thought experiment about whether or not a person's belief should influence the application of law.


Your example is clearly false. Check out Dox47's story and, if it all works out, let him go if he is legal. The terrorist is a terrorist.


Pre 1986 big bad machine guns are perfectly legal to own and trade in the US with the correct licences.

Post 1986 big bad machine guns are illegal in all cases, you can not get a licence as a civilian to possess them. It doesn't matter that Dox47 thought he had complied with the law just as in the UK it doesn't matter if you didn't know that you were handling stolen goods, you are still guilty of the crime.

Muhammed is not a terrorist, he is a pissed off muslim with an illegal firearm. Muhammed has yet to harm a single person and being a pissed off muslim is not a crime.

If you remove the ability of judges to distinguish things like 'hate' and 'intent' then you have to treat these two people identically.