Here’s one of my opinions that often has people falsely assuming that I’m a Conservative Republican. It’s that I don’t believe in the concept of “Hate Crimes.” Specifically the idea that certain crimes committed against someone specifically because of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. deserve extra punishment under the law. To me that always seemed like backwards thinking. It’s one of those things designed just to make people feel good, like see we’re taking this stuff seriously. But my attitude was always, the crime is the crime. For the type of serious crimes we’re talking about, the motivation is irrelevant, it’s the action. Punish them for their actions, to the fullest extent of the law. For example, if a bunch of guys jump me and beat me up because they just felt like it, or they wanted my money, then they get charged with assault and get sentenced to 5 years in prison (I don’t know what the sentence really would be, I’m just making that up for this hypothetical situation). But if they jump me and beat me up specifically because I’m Black, or because they think I’m gay, then they get charged with a “hate crime” and sentenced to 10 years? What’s the difference? My feeling is, just give them the 10 years either way! Or to use an even worse example, I’ve written before about That Time I Had A Gun Pointed At Me. Say I had been shot and killed. And the murderer gets 20 to life. But what if instead of “F–k you, man!” he had shouted “F–k you, faggot!”? Or if it was a bunch of non-Black guys, and one shouted “F–k you, nigger!” So now that’s a “hate crime” and they get the death penalty. Either way, I’m DEAD! Isn’t that all that really matters? So just give them the death penalty for killing me, regardless of their reason for doing it.
The same applies to lesser crimes. If someone spray paints something on my house, that’s vandalism. Whether they spray paint a swastika or just a giant penis, they should be charged and sentenced the same. I see no reason that one should be harsher than the other. It kind of feels like we’re injecting political correctness into the legal system. That’s my general feeling on the matter.
Of course I realize that it’s probably not that simple. We’ve always had extenuating and special circumstances that apply to crimes, to either make sentencing harsher or lesser. Murder vs. Pre-Meditated Murder, for example. A guy who comes home one day and catches his wife in bed with another man and in a rage pulls out his legally owned firearm and shoots one or both of them is going to be charged different if he found out his wife was cheating and then spent a month secretly planning to kill her and make it look like an accident and set up a phony alibi for himself, etc. The first could be argued as a “heat of passion” crime, the 2nd is pre-meditation. Even though the end result and the motive for it was the same, the law generally looks at one as being worse. There’s also the idea that certain actions are meant to cause an emotional response. Such as my swastika example, that symbol has an historical meaning behind it, so the law would say someone spray painting that one my house is not just trying to piss me off, like the person who paints the giant penis, they’re trying to intimidate or scare me, which is worse. So maybe it should considered a harsher crime?
Dang, I think I just talked myself out of my own original position. Or not. I don’t know…