Tuesday, January 17, 2017
One of the things I've always found interesting is that the Bible contains ten commandments (or "Ten Commandments," to put in the capitalization) which lay out the essential rules for righteous behavior. Since there are only ten of them, they can be printed on less than half of one side of a standard 8x10-inch page.
In contrast, Title 18 of the US Code of Laws ("Crimes and Criminal Procedure"), Part 1 ("Crimes") has 123 chapters which contain 2725 sections. And that's just the Federal level ... multiply that my many hundreds to account for state and local criminal laws.
So, if The Almighty only needed ten commandments, why do we need tens of thousands of laws? At what point did we decide that "Thou shalt not kill" needed to be nuanced into "Homicide," "Murder in the First/Second Degree," "Felony Murder," and "Voluntary/Involuntary Manslaughter?" Murder is the taking of a human life ... how much more do you need to parse it?
And to get to today's point, why do we need a new subset (or overlay) of laws that specify some already-defined crimes as "hate crimes?"
The FBI defines a hate crime this way on its website:
"A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime."
It seems to me that any vicious crime - particularly murder and rape - is by definition a crime based on hatred, and that describing it as a hate crime doesn't necessarily make it any worse or more despicable. All it does is provide an avenue by which to generate statistics.
Let's tell it like it is. It's murder or rape or assault or arson or whatever. There's no need to call it a hate crime to prosecute it.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.