Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flash Mobs and Hate Crimes


I remember when a new term entered into our culture back during the days of Bill Clinton.  Inspired by the “mostly dead” term used in The Princess Bride to further describe a concrete term,  hate crimes are crimes that involve some sort of hate as a motivation, usually involving violence.   It was really designed as a method to hold one race more accountable for violent crimes against another race wherein had the same crime been committed against a member of the same race, it would not rise to the level of the federal hate crime law.  Additionally, the application of the hate crime law is intended, while not stated, to apply specifically to one single race.   I realize the outdated intention of the law.  Perhaps it could have been useful pre-1970, but being a person that doesn’t like to look at the issue based on race, I think the law is crazy.  Truly, if one person attacks another person regardless of their racial make-up, there is some sort of hate involved.  The act of violence implies hate. 
Recently, we have seen a series of violent flash mobs, mostly involving black youths.  At the state fair in Wisconsin a similar mob attacked fair goers as they left.  Eye witnesses and victims stated that the mob specifically targeted white people.  By the definition of the federal hate crimes law, this should be a slam dunk case, but not quite.  Police have been falling all over themselves saying that it is impossible to ascertain whether there was a racial component involved in the crime without a confession of the fact by a perpetrator.   That is both the most intelligent and ignorant statement to come out of law enforcement regarding federal hate crimes. 
It is in intelligent in that without a confession, it is truly impossible to know whether or not race was a factor.  It cannot be left to a jury to guess at the psychology of the criminal, nor can talk radio, internet, or other media do the same.    Unfortunately, it is also an ignorant statement in that the police would even spend time figuring out whether or not it was a federal hate crime.   If I were asked the question I would have said, “Of course it was a hate crime.  These people savagely attacked innocent citizens.  There has to be some sort of hate in their hearts, but I don’t care what the source of that hate is because that doesn’t change a single thing about the crime.”  I would then proceed to prosecute the criminals for their violent crime.  The last thing we need for race relations in this country is to tie the word “hate” to crimes so that now we are again forced to look at the race of people involved in crimes.   Let’s end this racial thinking by ending hate crimes classification.   God is not in heaven looking at our race to judge us and our sin, neither should we. 

1 comment:

Kansas Bob said...

Perhaps these might be more about class than race. Perhaps that is what they have in common with those in London. Maybe we are on the verge of a revolution like that one in France so many years ago. I suspect that the poor and disenfranchised can be silent for just so long.

Of course I am not saying that they should ever take anything from the super wealthy. That would not be right.