Monday, April 6, 2009

Proposal for a New Hate Crime

Until just recently, the notion of offering greater punishment for a crime committed out of hate has bothered me.

I've had my objections. First, who in the process defines hate? It's hard for me to picture a person being brutally murdered for altruistic reasons. What violent crimes are not hate crimes?

Second, whether a criminal's mindset is one of indifference or unhinged passion makes no difference to the outcome for the victim. A murdered woman is equally dead whether her killer picked her at random, hated lesbians, or was a jealous stalker.

Third, elevating some crimes to the "hate" category separates them linguistically and conceptually from "non-hate" crimes, as though some acts of violence on people are more or less okay. Someone commits an "ordinary" murder, like shooting a person at close range for a perceived slight, and it might not even make the paper in a big city. The murderer could be out of prison in 18 months. I've seen it happen. But if the same crime is attributed to "hate," 20,000 trees head to the chipper to make up the extra newsprint, and talking about the hatefulness of the hate crime will pay that month's rent for a couple hundred news analysts.

Forth, political influence determines which characteristics will in fact cause hate crime charges to be brought. A lot of people are hated for reasons that haven't yet been carved on the victim totem pole. More and more groups are lobbying for hate victim visibility so that people who kill and maim members of those groups will get appropriately punished instead of "get out of jail soon" cards.

I have other objections too. But, as the wise man once said, "Nobody listens to me."

So be it. That wise man also said, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Hence, my proposal--and I think it could be the greatest invention (in its class) since the disposable diaper. It could solve the whole untidy legal mess surrounding what to do with those detained enemy combatants that nobody really wants in their backyard (except the 1 that France will take).

No more bickering about whether someone captured on a battlefield is a blood-thirsty jihadist, an innocent Muslim who picked the wrong place to open a Chinese restaurant, or an innocent barber who just happened to find an automatic weapon mixed in with his combs. No more debate about whether to use military or civilian courts.

I am willing to suggest that my proposal would be a public relations triumph of the highest order, one that would make practically everyone on the political continuum jubilant! The entire country would clamour to see enemy combatants tried yesterday in a civilian courthouse near them!

Here it is: Make it a hate crime for anyone to attempt to kill an American soldier!

That's it.

Sweet. Simple. Straightforward.

That's the beauty of it. A hate crime is defined as one in which the perpetrator chooses the victim because of membership in a certain social group. Hey, the U.S. military is definitely a Group with a capital G. No arguing that.

And the new law could be made retroactive, like for an executive bonus penalty tax. It even has a certain international flavor to it.

Think I'm crazy? Hear me out.

Instead of people dissing detainees by calling them nasty, multi-culturally challenged names like "terrorist," we could all use the language of the culturally sensitive and call them "hate criminals."

I say, do that, and the liberal left will make sure those suckers spend hard time in a hard spot, pronto.

Or, maybe, just maybe, the "hate" in "hate crimes" won't mean "hate" anymore.


  1. You have some good arguments against the hate crime label, especially points three and four. Concise, well explained and logical.

    Unfortunately, logic was replaced with politcal wrangling and race baiting on this issue.

    I do like the idea to call the Gitmo terrorists hate criminals though... maybe not define just the military as a group, maybe terrorists who hate and try to kill Americans in general.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Yukio. I enjoyed writing this goofy post. Many times I'd like to see the tables turned on some of the PC "logic" out there, just for fun, perhaps in an alternative universe. :)