Re: future president?

From: Louis Newstrom (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 08:35:57 MDT

Hi Harvey! I thnk this is the first time I have responded to something you
wrote on the web instead of in person, but I think the rest of the readers
might be interested.

From: "Harvey Newstrom" <>
> I also think you have an inflated idea of what a hate crime is. Hate
> give tougher sentences on criminals who commit violent crimes. They do
> arrest people for mere words or ideas.

I would disagree with this. The hate crime law does not give tougher
sentences based on the violence of the crime. They give tougher sentences
based on what the perp was thinking.

For example, a teen-age white male kills a black female who happens to be
lesbian. The case is air-tight so he is convicted. He gets 20 years for
murder. (I'm making this number up.) Then they try to figure out his
motive. If he killed the woman because she was black, or because she was a
woman, or because she was a lesbian, then they tack on an extra 10 years
(again, number made up) because it was a "hate crime". If he merely made a
stupid bet that he would kill the next person who came along, and it had
nothing to do with prejudice, then they don't tack on the extra sentence,
because the crime was not a "hate crime".

The point being this: He gets 20 years for murder. Why should he get
another 10 because of what he was thinking? The woman is just as dead
regardless of his thought process. Also, many people worry that this is
criminalizing certain thoughts. They say (and I agree) murder is illegal.
We don't need to (or want to) delve into what the guy was thinking.

As a counter-point, I can tell you why these kinds of laws arose. They
arose from events like the KKK burning a cross in front of black people's
houses in order to scare them. Before the "hate crimes law" the worse they
got were $10 fine for tresspassing.

This is another example of "everybody knows what they meant" (i.e. death
threat if the black family doesn't move out) but no one can prove it. (All
that actually happened was a random item being burned on their lawn.)

For people who agree (like I do) that the hate crime laws (as written now)
should be repealed, the solution to the burning cross is to acknowledge that
it is a threat and charge the cross-burners with intimidation, assault, etc.
There is no need to start delving into their thought processes.

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