Is a Hate Crime a Crime?

I am not comfortable with the idea of hate crimes. A hate crime is judged to exist when it appears that another crime, generally a crime of violence, was committed because the victim was a member of some group that was hated by the criminal. A black person, for example, or a transexual, hispanic, homosexual, amputee, or Republican.

Hate crime laws do not punish acts. The underlying crime, that of assault or rape or arson or some other atrocity, invariably has sentencing guidelines for punishing those acts. Rather, these laws seek to punish attitude, mindset, and intent. They seek to protect classes of people from those that would seek them out for who and what they are.

I’m Pagan, and I’m gay. I am not comfortable with the idea of someone assaulting me or threatening my life. I believe I wouldn’t care for the idea any more or less were I a woman, or a Baptist, or a father of three, or an Alpacan yak. I think the laws that forbid a person from violent acts should be strong. I don’t think that the laws should be stronger if I’m the victim, though. I don’t want to be treated differently, I want everyone to be safe. You can’t legislate attitude, and laws that are written with that intent are more likely to have the opposite effect. I don’t want to be singled out by your laws. If I want to stand out, I’ll do something exceptional and you may feel free to judge me by my acts.

The Threefold Law doesn’t seem to have a standard written form, but the general sense of it as that you get back three times as much as you put out into the world, for good or ill. So would I get punished more for running down a black man because I hated them all then I would be for running down my brother because he picked on me as a child? Anger is anger, no matter its cause. Any violence that’s committed without anger is more troubling, I should think.

I’m not comfortable with the violence man is capable of committing. I’m also not comfortable with some of that violence being labeled as “hate crimes,” while some of it is not.

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