Another attempt was made today, by our Congress, to expand protections for a specific minority group. A bill was presented to extend these "special protections" to include PEDOPHILES. Now, of all the categories of persons gaining the "special protections" of hate crimes legislation, pedophiles are probably the least deserving. But, that's not really my point tonight.
As I have said before, there are already laws in place for the identification, apprehension, prosecution, and punishment for all crimes against persons, property, and humanity. And these are the true crimes. Crimes in which something physically palpable occurred. There is a provable fact involved in all those crimes and, usually, an identifiable loss of some kind.
"Hate Crimes", in most cases are currently connected to another provable crime, but they try to punish the miscreants state of mind, or attitude toward a specific minority group to which the victim may belong. Crimes involving physical aggression against persons are seldom committed out of a sense of love, or even mild fondness. The criminals thoughts regarding the victim's race, religion, sexual preference, how he parts his hair, or what color shoes she was wearing are now punishable.
Inasmuch as our government seems determined to codify "hate crimes", I would suggest the term "hate crime" be restricted to actions which cause neither physical injury nor loss of/damage to private or public property. Those are crimes for which we already have remedies at law.
"Hate crimes" would be actions, which because of their intensity, are readily perceived as designed to cause severe emotional distress or fear of injury or death. These types of "hate crimes" could be classified into three progressively punitive categories (i.e. - infraction, misdemeanor, or felony) to identify the severity of the violation. For example:
1. First offense racial/ethnic slurs would be considered infractions, with minimal sentences (public service, fines and/or work release confinement [spending all hours other than employment hours in jail] not to exceed 5 days). Subsequent offenses would increase punishments or move them up to the next higher tier (infraction to misdemeanor, or misdemeanor to felony). Records would be expunged after 5 years if there were no subsequent arrests for any "hate crime".
2. First offense spitting upon or throwing of non-injurious matter (tomatoes, marshmallows, Nerf balls, etc.), without direct physical contact, or racial, ethnic, religious or sexual graffiti could be classified as a misdemeanor "hate crime", if combined with qualifying epithets. (Punishments to be decided by smarter people than I.) Subsequent offenses would increase punishments or move them up to the next higher tier.
3. First offense cross burning, effigy hanging, burning of the AMERICAN FLAG, etc. would be classified as a felony "hate crime". Subsequent offenses would increase punishments.
Also, anyone assaulted during the commission of any "hate crime" should have no legal recourse against the intended "victim". If ones goal is to anger or install fear in other people, and it works to the extent they come after him/her, the hater brought it upon himself. At the worst it should be classified as "mutual combat", which is generally punished by a severe butt-chewing form the judge, with the admonition of "Don't do that again!"
These are just examples of how I think "hate crimes" should be managed by law enforcement and the judiciary, since it appears that we are being forced to have laws against "hate crimes", and providing special protections (as opposed to equal protection) under the law. But, let's not piggyback a "hate crime" onto a real crime! (Punishments to be decided by smarter people than I.)
I suppose I could be wrong about this... or I could be wrong in that supposition!