Do you think there should be hate crime laws?

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abacacus
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25 Mar 2012, 11:21 am

Hate crime laws, yes, hate speech laws no.

Like someone explained earlier in the thread, burning a cross on a black families lawn is not just vandalism, without hate crime laws that's all it would be.


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25 Mar 2012, 11:24 am

abacacus wrote:
Hate crime laws, yes, hate speech laws no.

Like someone explained earlier in the thread, burning a cross on a black families lawn is not just vandalism, without hate crime laws that's all it would be.


Burning a cross on a person's lawn, would be criminal trespass, and because of the implied threat, it would also be assault which is a felony.

One does not need Orwellian thought-crime laws to deal with the matter.

ruveyn



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25 Mar 2012, 11:40 am

I guess there are two questions here:

1. Hate speech. If someone comes up with a theory that is considered ''hateful'' (blacks having lower IQ than whites, the number of Jewish victims of holocaust was 1 million rather than 6 million, and so forth), should they be punished?

2. If someone commits actual crime (physically harms someone) should they be punished more severely if the motive for that crime happened to be hate

In case of 1, my opinion is strongly no, in case of 2 I am a bit more hesitant but on a balance I would still say no.

As far as the ''hate speech'' goes, as I illustrated in the above examples, some of ''hate speech'' simply amounts to unconventional theories. Now, lets say 90% of these theories are actually motivated by hate, while 10% of them are genuine even though in terms of harming the relavent minorities they are equally "hateful". Now, you have two options. One is to pass a law that would criminalize the 90% but not 10%. The other is to criminalize all of them indistinguishibly. If you criminalize all of them indistinguishably, then you would ultimately agree with Galileo having been criminalized. In other words, you would block progress. I mean what if some of the "politically incorrect" theories are logically tied in with "bigger picture" which is no longer hateful (for example "racially neutral" statement "people with bigger brains have bigger IQ" might be indirectly imply "racist" conclusion that "whites have higher IQ" simply because SOME PEOPLE believe whites have bigger brain, whether that belief is true or not; if we censor "racially neutral" statement "bigger brain implies higher IQ" and we happened to be biologists studying brain function, we would have to be forced to come up with the mechanism of the way brain operates in such a way that the "undesired conclusion" won't follow; this would go FAR outside of "racial" realm). So we have to instead criminalize 90%. Now, if we do that, this would, however, require someone to decide which of the theories are ''actually true'' and which aren't. In other words, the judge has to be the expert in history, biology, and so forth in order to make that judgement call. Now what if the case involves actual historians or biologist? So we have to assume judge is even more of an expert than them! Now if we try to be a little bit more fair, the other option would be to allow for open debate in a courtroom; if the person will be able to defend their theory they are free, if not they are going to jail. But the problem here is that some of the ''debates'' persisted for several decades -- an Einstein vs Bohr debate is one good example of it. Now in many of these cases the people on each side are convinced that they have disproven the other side so it might APPEAR that the other side is simply "too stubborn"; but that is not it at all. Thus, part of the definition of one side ''wining a debate'' involves the other side admitting that they were wrong. Thus, if a criminal in question never admits they are wrong, they can't be taken to jail -- after all you can't convincingly prove that they are any different from Einstein who never admitted he was wrong either despite Bohr and others being convinced that he was. The only logical option would be for judge to say "she knows she is wrong she just doesn't admit it". But this goes against presumption of innocence. Besides, if the judge was right in saying that the person was successfully disproven, then what is everyone afraid of? If it only takes an hour to disprove them then it would be far more productive to simply challenge them in a scientific community without even going to court.

Now let us move on to "hate crime". In this case my opinion is not nearly as strong. After all, it is no longer about the theory, it is about you personally going and physically harming someone. Besides, we all agree that if you physically hurt someone -- regardless of race -- you are going to jail. The only question is should your term be bigger if your victim happened to be one of the minority groups. Well the first objection to this is again presumption of innocence. You can't honestly KNOW that the criminal in question decided to hurt a black person BECAUSE that person is black or whether they simply wanted to hurt ANYONE (lets say they had a rage) and the person passing down the street HAPPENED to be black. Now there is a bit of a wiggle room here. Some racists might be so proud of being racist that they would, themselves, proudly proclaim that they hurt someone because they were black. So I guess you can make a rule that if you ADMIT your own crime is racially motivated, you will have bigger sentence; but if you yourself deny it was racially motivated they won't increase your sentence regardless of how much it appears to be such. I guess it might be a bit weird because it becomes "the opposite" to your typical "plea bargains": pleeing guilty would automatically INCREASE your sentence rather than decrease. Besides it would only punish the "proud racists" while forgive all the other ones. The said proud racist actually WANT to be punished in order to be "public inspiration" to other racists -- if such wasn't the case they would have never admitted to the judge about their racism to begin with. In this respect it would probably be more of a reward rather than punishment and, in fact, would only motivate them more. Apart from all of the above difficulties of identifying ''hate crime'', there is also a question ''do you really WANT to give increased sentence anyway". The motivation behind "increased sentence" is presumably that there is a "racial insentive" TO commit a crime and that "insentive" has to be "counterbalanced" with bigger punishment. But logically ANY crime has SOME insentive, otherwise it won't be committed to begin with. For example there is an insentive to rob a woman rather than a man because woman has less strength to defend herself. There is also an insentive to rob rich rather than the poor since you can enrich yourself a lot more by robbing the rich. And list goes on. So if you are to "protect" blacks by increased sentences, you have to be consistent and also protect women and rich as well. But then again the list of examples of "vulnerable" goes far beyond that, so if you want to REALLY be consistent you will never stop making your list more and more elaborate. Besides, you will also have to "weigh" different motivations against each other to decide which have more extra sentences. For example you should ask "is it more motivating to rob someone rich or someone black" the answer would depend on whether your greed is stronger than your racism or the opposite, which would be highly individual-based; thus the judge would now have to study your own personal life (the kinds of people you hang with, your career, and so forth) in order to come to the conclusion of just how much you were driven and by what factors. Since you can't answer all these questions, a far more logical approach is to simply say "every single crime was motivated by SOMETHING; so let us punish all the crimes the same thus counterbalancing whatever motivations that they might be". If the motivation is bigger, then the person will likely to be driven to commit more serious crime, thus they would get more serious punishment on a purely formal basis. I believe this approach would be far more logical and more productive.



Last edited by Roman on 25 Mar 2012, 12:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

ruveyn
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25 Mar 2012, 11:48 am

Master_Pedant wrote:
I support most hate crime laws, but oppose hate speech laws.


Is it the case that a crime inspired by hate should be more severely punished than a crime motivated by greed or sexual lust?

Think about it.

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25 Mar 2012, 12:02 pm

Finding a just excuse to fire an autistic worker is besides the point. Because the fact is that if I were non-autistic there is a good chance my Boss would have forgiven me for lack of quality or productivity in my work.



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25 Mar 2012, 12:30 pm

Some people will cry hate crime when they are the victim of a crime in some cases a white man can assualt a black man not because he is a racist bigot and the black man will some times say it is was a hate crime when the color of his skin had nothing to do with the crime the white man commited against the black man.



blauSamstag
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25 Mar 2012, 1:03 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
I support most hate crime laws, but oppose hate speech laws.


Is it the case that a crime inspired by hate should be more severely punished than a crime motivated by greed or sexual lust?

Think about it.

ruveyn


Hatred against an individual or against a group or class?



Roman
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25 Mar 2012, 1:20 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Master_Pedant wrote:
I support most hate crime laws, but oppose hate speech laws.


Is it the case that a crime inspired by hate should be more severely punished than a crime motivated by greed or sexual lust?

Think about it.

ruveyn


Good point. In order to be completely fair they have to give heavier sentences for raping more attractive women than less attractive women. After all, more attractive women are at a "higher risk" of being raped and therefore should be protected. Likewise you need heavier sentences for robbing someone rich than robbing someone poor -- after all rich people are at a higher risk of being robed than poor people. Also committing physical violence against someone physically weaker should carry heavier sentence as well. You can go insane if you stick to this mentality and try to be consistent.



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25 Mar 2012, 1:24 pm

Roman wrote:
rich people are at a higher risk of being robed than poor people.


That is incorrect. Most burglaries occur in poor, run down neighbourhoods by people who are often as poor as those they rob.


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25 Mar 2012, 1:24 pm

Roman wrote:

Likewise you need heavier sentences for robbing someone rich than robbing someone poor -- after all rich people are at a higher risk of being robed than poor people.


Now is that really true?

Rich people more likely to take lollies from children: study

Quote:
People from wealthy backgrounds are more likely than poorer people to break laws while driving, take lollies from children, and lie for financial gain, a United States study says.



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25 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

I don't really think the motivation behind a crime should really be factored in. Intentionally committing a crime out of greed, lust, because somebody looked at you funny, or completely at random is just as bad. You can't read peoples minds.

I don't think you should be able to terrorize a group or community where that is the specific intention. Perhaps someone that does that should be charged with terrorism.



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25 Mar 2012, 2:27 pm

blauSamstag wrote:

Hatred against an individual or against a group or class?


Hating a group, class or "race" of people is perfectly legal in the United States. Also saying nasty things is legal as long as one is not stirring up a lynch mob or fomenting a riot. The First Amendment protects hateful, hate filled unpleasant speech.

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25 Mar 2012, 2:38 pm

ruveyn wrote:
blauSamstag wrote:

Hatred against an individual or against a group or class?


Hating a group, class or "race" of people is perfectly legal in the United States. Also saying nasty things is legal as long as one is not stirring up a lynch mob or fomenting a riot. The First Amendment protects hateful, hate filled unpleasant speech.

ruveyn


This is true the KKK have rallies though people come to protest they have every right to have them as does the New Black Panther Party who are the black verison of the KKK.



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25 Mar 2012, 3:09 pm

The problem with hate crime laws is that they can be applied when it's not a hate crime. Here are two examples.

1. Jimmy doesn't like gay people and is very vocal about believing it's wrong, bad for society, etc but he has never physically harmed or harrassed gay people because of that. He's had a bad day at work and went to the bar for several beers before going home. While walking down the street on the way home another person bumps into him and doesn't say "excuse me". That guy is Ron, who is gay but isn't out with someone showing affection in public, wearing a sign that says "I'm gay" etc, so Jimmy has no way of knowing. Jimmy, being half drunk and kind of an ass anyway takes his built up frustration on Ron, the situation escelates and he beats the crap out of Ron for really no reason at all. During the fight, Jimmy is insulting Ron and one of the insults he uses is "fa***t" because he uses that a lot. Now, Jimmy didn't beat up Ron because Ron was gay, he beat him up because Jimmy is an ass with anger control issues. But, because Jimmy is well known for being homophobic and he's called Ron the name while hitting him, he could be prosecuted under the hate crime statute and get more time, when it wasn't a hate crime.

2. A group of Muslims move into an all white Christian (but not very Christian acting) neighborhood. The neighbors make no bones about not welcoming them, and their car is egged, notes left in the mailbox saying things like "terrorists go home" etc. A group of white Christian (again, not very Christian acting) teenagers from another neighborhood who have no clue about who lives where, are out doing vandelism for fun. They don't have any opinion about Muslims or even know that some live in the house on that street. However their house looks like a good target for some reason to the vandals and they throw a rock through the Muslim family's car window. Because of all the harrassment the family has been getting, and the fact that those are local kids who do fit the profile of the people who have been harrassing them, and the fact that they did something that is exactly what somebody would do if they hated them because they were Muslim, they could get the hate crime applied to them.


Also, there can be many situations where someone does borderline legal/illegal things to someone else because they harbor a hatred or bigotry but it can't be proved, so they get off scott free.

I don't like the idea of hate crime laws because to me it not only because it's hard to know for sure what a persons reasons are, but because it seems to be an indictment of the feelings and opinions rather than just the actions. If I'm beat to a pulp it's just as bad if the guy who beat me did it because he's a s**t or because I'm a member of some ethnic or religious group that he hates. What a person does should be whats punished, not why they did it. Of course motive is important, especially in cases where someone causes harm but doesn't mean to, but when someone means to cause harm (and it isn't self defense) then I don't think it matters why they meant to do it. Not to the court anyway, maybe to their therapist.

Also, as distasteful as bigotry is, it's perfectly legal to have a hatred for a group of people and to even wish that those people were all shot, etc. It's not legal to actually act on it or cause someone else to act on it. I think hate crime laws are opening the door to thought crime laws.


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25 Mar 2012, 3:49 pm

DC wrote:
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?


No, actually we haven't. Though it's gotten frightfully eroded in recent years, the concept of mens rea still does carry weight when it comes to charging people with crimes. A victim of fraud is not the same thing as someone willfully violating the law and will be treated differently; this is NOT the same thing as prosecuting a "hate crime" more harshly than an identical offense without the bias component. A better example would be someone who shoots someone in a bar fight because the victim pissed him off vs someone who kills in identical circumstances except that the shooter had a history of making racist jokes and his victim was a minority. To me, murder is murder and both cases should be equally prosecuted; I don't care that one shooter liked to tell spic and n****r jokes while the other just had an anger problem.


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25 Mar 2012, 8:16 pm

ruveyn wrote:
blauSamstag wrote:

Hatred against an individual or against a group or class?


Hating a group, class or "race" of people is perfectly legal in the United States. Also saying nasty things is legal as long as one is not stirring up a lynch mob or fomenting a riot. The First Amendment protects hateful, hate filled unpleasant speech.

ruveyn


In USA yes it is perfectly legal. But in countries like Canada or Germany it isn't. In fact Zundel spent 5 to 10 years in jail for merely publishing material that might be considered ''hateful'', all because he lived in Canada/Germany where this is considered crime. He tried to move to United States for that very reason but he wasn't allowed to stay in USA due to overstaying visa; and the moment he returned to Canada he was prosecuted for his publications.