Hate crimes: Shades of gray in the darkest evilWritten by Bob Frantz | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Evil is evil, I was told, and a crime is a crime. Anyone who commits an act of violence against another must have at least some feelings of hatred in his heart, it was explained, or he wouldn’t do it at all. So why do we insist on labeling certain types of crimes “hate crimes?”
By calling an illegal act a hate crime, we are merely adding fuel to the fire of racial tension in communities that may already be on the verge of combustion. Or so the argument goes. We can’t single out individual crimes and criminals for special prosecution based on the ethnic characteristics of the victims, as it would unfairly impact the accused and serve to widen the chasm between the majority and the minorities. Rubbish.
A hate crime is generally defined as a crime motivated by prejudice against a certain social group. Victims are not chosen at random, but by design as part of a coordinated effort to make a “statement” in opposition to that group. These crimes are far more dangerous to society as a whole than ordinary street crimes and should be dealt with far more severely.
In Hamilton, Ohio, a small town in Butler County near Cincinnati, the targeted group is the Hispanic population that has exploded there in the last 15 years. Sooner or later, locals say, bigoted residents were likely to lash out at the Hispanics with violence. All they needed was a spark. A reason. An excuse.
The hate mongers got one in June, when a nine-year-old white girl was raped, allegedly by a Hispanic man. Although the man is believed to have left the city, the Hispanic residents he left behind have been forced to endure the backlash. They’ve been confronted on the streets by angry whites looking for vengeance. They’ve been called names by men wearing pillowcases over their heads. They’ve been threatened with violence. And yes, the Ku Klux Klan has emerged in Hamilton, passing out leaflets and intimidating Hispanic residents.
And for what? The residents in that community are guilty of nothing but having the same ethnic background as a cowardly rapist who molested a child and ran. Yet the vigilantes who are tormenting them have decided their shared heritage makes them fair targets for retaliation.
So what should be done with those who would torment and abuse innocent people solely on the basis of their ethnicity? Despite the many arguments to the contrary, I believe these people should pay a much steeper price than ordinary criminals. Don’t agree? Consider:
A guy has too much to drink in a bar, has words with another well-lubricated patron and pops him in the mouth, knocking out a tooth. Across town, another group of guys has hit the streets after hearing about some Hispanic raping a nine-year-old white girl. They’re angry, and they’re not going to stand for it. Sure enough, the first Hispanic guy they encounter pays the price, as one of the group pops him in the mouth, knocking out a tooth.
Two identical assaults with identical results equal identical punishments, right? A crime is a crime, right? Not if I ran the show.
A drunken spontaneous crime is not nearly as dangerous to society as a premeditated assault that targets someone based solely on their color. Even a premeditated mugging motivated by money would be less reprehensible than striking someone just for being different. Hate crimes deserve hateful punishments.
Still not convinced? Then consider the hate crimes perpetrated by the Muslim terrorists who struck us on 9/11. They continue to attack us solely on the basis of our ethnicity, our religious beliefs and our societal standards. These are hate crimes, and if the same arguments were applied by those who don’t believe in special prosecution of hate crimes, we would be forced to treat them all as ordinary murderers. Rather than going to war to kill our enemies, we’d have to follow the liberal agenda outlined after 9/11-— preparing indictments and planning to beat them in court.
But we didn’t. We treated them as hate crimes, punishable by far more serious measures. Just as we should have.
Evil is evil. All evil should be punished accordingly. But only the naïve would argue that some evils are more, well … evil … than others.
Bob Frantz hosts “Bob Frantz and the Morning News” each weekday on WSPD 1370 AM. He may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.