Thread: Hate Crimes
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Old April 4th, 2013 (9:30 AM).
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Esper Esper is online now
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You can look at crimes either case-by-case or broadly. I think if you see things case-by-case you'd conclude that the only problems with the law are in terms of catching criminals, prosecuting them fairly, and just being efficient. If you look at things broadly I think you'd additionally see a need to address the fact that certain groups of people are disproportionately victims of crimes. Hate crimes laws are an attempt to address that by trying to dissuade people from committing crimes against certain stigmatized groups, essentially codifying into law that it's not okay to be prejudiced against these groups of people. Of course, the law often already states elsewhere that prejudice is bad, but it doesn't seem to be enough that our laws say "Everyone is equal" if that's not how things work in practice.

Personally, I don't have a problem with these laws. I know the biggest and most legitimate complaint against them is that it's not for the law to treat people differently, or that it's someone else's job to try to fix societal inequalities. I think that it's an attempt at the right thing though, an attempt to mitigate or balance the prejudice shown by a criminal with a dose of legal prejudice back at them. I do believe that some crimes wouldn't happen if not for the belief in some people that it's "okay" or "not as bad" to commit certain crimes against certain people. That belief, I feel, is already wrong, already unfair and unequal, but since you can't punish someone for a belief alone you've got to wait until they act on it.

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