Monday, May 09, 2005

La Shawn Barber’s Corner

This post caught my eye regarding hate crimes, and hate crime legislation. An individual has actually been caught faking a hate crime prompting Barber to start a website called The paragraph below illustrates very concisely, the problems with criminalizing an emotional state.
"For some reason, a couple of readers fail to see the distinction between the element of premeditation or aforethought in a crime such as murder, and crimes based on how you feel or what you think about protected classes of people, such as blacks and homosexuals. So-called hate crimes criminalize thoughts, something that should never be a part of a free society. Hate is not a crime. Killing someone is a crime. The difference in the degrees of murder (first, second, and third), for example, go to the intent of the perpetrator, not his motive for the killing.

The mental state of a perpetrator is an important element in a crime like attempted murder, but the focus is on whether he planned or intended to kill the victim, not what he thinks or feels about the victim. Our “feelings” or opinions about people are not subject to penalty."
La Shawn Barber’s Corner

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