Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hering: Hate crime laws are unnecessary


Some day our hate-crimes laws may go too far. The creation of this category of crime was not really necessary in order to prosecute offenses. Threatening behavior, doing damage or causing injury could always be prosecuted even without the additional label.

He misses the crux of the argument for hate crime laws: Committing a crime for the specific reason of intimidating a particular population, because the crime is motivated by hatred, is substantially different - substantially worse - than doing it for some other reason. For example, something like burning a cross on someone's lawn does a lot more damage than just burn the lawn: it can frighten whole communities.

Also, this:

But by adding the label and enhancing the penalties we’ve taken a step toward the way they make laws in France.

That falls well foul of the slippery slope fallacy.


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