I’ve never been a fan of hate crimes legislature and now is just as good a time as any to question their rationale and utility. Three Arabs were shot dead recently, murdered execution style, and the media is all over these Muslim murders. Yet again the Liberal media insists on treating Muslims as a race, and because of this foolhardy insistence, the lines between racial and religious prejudice are deliberately blurred. The leftist BBC interviewed one of the locals in the area who had the following to say: “”I don’t think it made it easier to kill them because they were Muslim, black or whatever.”
It’s interesting (and depressing) how this individual categorizes Muslims as a race to be compared to Blacks. Someday North Americans will realize that religions can be changed while race cannot. As I have discussed this matter at length in a previous article, I shall refrain from repeating myself here. The point of this post is to ask the question presented in the title. Why exactly do we need hate crimes legislation? There is something chillingly Orwellian about criminalizing intent. While deciphering intent is key in establishing the motive that drives criminal behaviour, we must realize that the law ultimately punishes the actions that flow out of the motive, never the intention itself. Even in the case of attempted murder, it is not intent that is put on trial, but rather the plausibility of acting on that intent. A criminal’s feelings of ‘hatred’ toward the target are not as relevant as people think. Hate crimes legislature attempts to put intent on trial with the sole purpose of punishing a criminal for their thoughts rather than the outcome of their actions (although actions are undoubtedly a major factor).
Hicks allegedly (we don’t know all the facts yet) murdered three innocent people in cold blood over so trivial a matter. If he is found guilty of this crime, there are existing laws that can adequately be applied. Whether he committed a hate crime is irrelevant, what is relevant is that he committed brutal murder and should be tried for murder. If a thug spray paints offensive graffiti on the walls and windows of a mosque, that thug should be charged with vandalism and not a hate crime. Perhaps that thug was simply in the mood for causing mischief and the mosque happened to be the most convenient target in his radius. Ultimately, the law generally punishes actions as it is (negative) actions that can potentially harm society, not intentions. Criminalizing intent is counterproductive and violates our God given autonomy. While intent is key in day to day morality and ethical thought in general, the law is not an ethical code. As I am not a lawyer and know very little about law, I shall refrain from touching upon the “What the law is” versus “What the law ought to be” debate.
I don’t have much else to say so I’ll leave the floor open to comments.