Hate Crimes: Putting Beliefs Behind Bars
By Harmony Grant
new TV show Life on Mars features a cop thrown back in time to 1973. On a
recent episode, the cop from 2008 calls an assault a "hate crime."
His buddy, a cop from 1973, retorts, "As opposed to an "I really,
really like you crime?" His
witty comeback points out the commonsense response to the idea of a "hate
crime:" all violence comes from evil emotions. We should not classify some
rapes as more hateful or some assaults as more biased. This belittles
individual survivors; it categorizes them based on their group identity, not
their personal rights as a human being.
New York State,
seven teens have been accused of a "hate crime" after a 38-year-old
immigrant from Ecuador,
Marcello Lucero, was attacked and stabbed to death. The assistant district
attorney claims that the teens said, "Let's go find some Mexicans to -- --
up." She accuses them of a "well thought out crime targeting Hispanic
she's right. Say these seven teens murdered Marcello Lucero because he was the
first Latin-looking man they saw and their agenda was to kill a Hispanic.
That's appalling. But would Marcello's death be less horrible if the boys
killed him because they wanted to gang-rape his wife? Would it be less hateful
if they'd stabbed him to death so they could have a joy ride in his car? If
they hadn't hated his race but had hated his wealth or his job or his
resemblance to a man who had molested one of them—would the crime have been
laws say yes. These laws segregate society into groups and say bias and hatred
of some groups, like minorities, is worse than against others. A crime against
a member of a protected group is punished more harshly than a crime against an
individual not of those groups. This is identity politics at its worst.
we warn time and again, these laws are ultimately dangerous not just because
they further splinter society into separate social groups but because they
criminalize bias, which is held in beliefs, thoughts and speech. There is no
freedom more precious than the freedom to believe, think and speak as you
choose, even if you choose racism or nationalism or to worship aliens. Hate
crime laws shatter this precious freedom, invading the most personal space of
thought and belief to legislate what are acceptable beliefs and biases and what
Associated Press article about Marcello Lucero's stabbing reviews a few other
assaults on Hispanic immigrants and quotes leaders of Long Island Immigrant
Alliance; they blame the public debate on immigration for fostering a culture
of hate. A local pastor and immigrant advocate even charged that "some of
the highest leaders of our community also have blood on their hands." Wow,
now political commentators on illegal immigration are responsible for this
kind of rhetoric is precisely what happens when prosecutors parse the
"bias" behind a crime and prosecute beliefs, not just actions. Soon
the realm of ideas and public debate is picked apart. Legitimate political
speech is blamed for "inciting hate." Soon government regulates ideas
and speech. Bloggers are arrested for writing about immigration. Social
scientists face jail time for taboo (but possibly true) theories about race.
Pastors are put in handcuffs for quoting from the Bible about sexual
immorality. Sound like a draconian dictatorship that could never happen in the USA? I wish it
were. This kind of crackdown has already happened in Canada,
Europe and Australia.
It will happen here, too, if we continue to march to the steady beat of hate
crime arguments. It is a natural path: you stiffen penalties for the thoughts
behind a crime; soon you prosecute the thoughts if they are said aloud, whether
or not an actual crime has been committed. The speech and the thoughts become
the crime. And then we live in Orwell's world.
a 28-year-old poet and blogger has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for
publishing an online poem mocking the country's dictator. The lines of his poem
formed an acrostic calling the dictator "power crazy." He was
arrested the day after publishing the poem. The blogger-now-prisoner owns three
internet cafes in Burma's
capitol. His mother was not allowed to attend his hearing, and as a detainee he
was deprived of food and water during the proceedings.
no American can view Burma's
actions with indifference, as the fascist tactics of an outpost of
civilization. Hardly. "Anti-hate" laws empower the most
"civilized" governments of the world to imprison their citizens for
online political and social speech. Just ask David Irving or Ernst Zundel, who
served jail time for challenging establishment history of the Holocaust. As
much as we might like to believe an American will never face a policeman's fist
on his door for critiquing the government—or Judaism, or homosexual practices,
or religion—on his blog—it can and will happen.
it will happen through the seemingly righteous move of defining and prosecuting
violent "hate crimes"—as if some crimes were based in kindness.
Harmony Grant is a prolific writer who is regularly featured on Rev. Ted Pike's web site, truthtellers.org.
Subscribe to American Free Press. Online subscriptions: One year of weekly editions—$15 plus you get a BONUS ELECTRONIC BOOK - HIGH PRIESTS OF WAR - By Michael Piper.
Print subscriptions: 52 issues crammed into 47 weeks of the year plus six free issues of Whole Body Health: $59 Order on this website or call toll free 1-888-699-NEWS .
Sign up for our free e-newsletter here - get a free gift just for signing up!
(Issue # 46, November 17, 2008)