Sunday, May 15, 2005

Why Hate Crime Laws Are A Bad Idea

You know, I used to be vaguely supportive of hate crime laws. Sure, there were already laws in place to punish people who burned crosses on people’s yard’s, beat up minorities, and generally acted like racist as*holes. But if you can throw said as*holes behind bars for an extra few years, why not? Then I read about this case. From what I can tell, the guy walked into his neighbor’s apartment, insulted him with a racial slur, then left. And for this he’s facing a felony? The man is not being charged for what he did, but what he said. That, my friends, is bullsh*t. I’m not saying the guy shouldn’t face a trespassing charge. But serious jail time? It’s a very small step from this to prosecuting a white power person for making a racist speech, or even publishing a racist website. And even though most of us despise the neo-Nazis out there, I say that political discourse suffers when we are not exposed to all political thought, even the stuff we find offensive.


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