1. Post #1
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
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    Should the intention/motivation of a crime affect the penalty imposed on the aggressor, such as hate crime statutes do?

    Say Person X assaults Person Y because Person Y is a different color/religion/sexual orientation than Person X. Is the assault really 'worse' because of the motivation of Person X than a regular assault would be?

    I'm seeing that a crime should be punished for what was done more than why it was done. I don't see a difference between a murder between two of the same race than a murder of someone by a different race - in the end, murder is was still done and murder is still wrong. How can we say that the murder of this case was "worse" than the murder of another case, because the former was race/religion/sexual orientation based? It seems to make non-hate crimes "better" (for an extreme lack of a better word) than ones that are hate based. If the victim was different from the transgressor, it almost seems that the victim is more important, in a sense, than that of a victim who was the same as the transgressor.

    If 'justice is blind', shouldn't courts focus more on the act of the crime more than the motivation of it? I am by no means supporting bigotry in any way, but I see "hate crimes" a bit biased in themselves.

  2. Post #2
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    Lankist's Avatar
    July 2006
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    If a gay kid is beaten to death, then the motive of the attackers (homophobia) is completely relevant as the court considers what happened (a gay kid was beaten to death for being gay.)

    Hate crimes rule out the notion that the perpetrator might have been justified, or that the crime was unintentional or the result of a misunderstanding. A hate crime automatically comes with the elements of motive and intent.

    Edited:

    Also motivation/intention is an integral part in determining the severity of the crime. It's the difference between manslaughter and murder, for instance.

  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    Lazor's Avatar
    July 2007
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    The effect of a hate crime is perpetuating a climate of fear against minority groups.

    so yes, hate crimes are different and should be prosecuted differently

  4. Post #4
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    If a gay kid is beaten to death, then the motive of the attackers (homophobia) is completely relevant as the court considers what happened (a gay kid was beaten to death for being gay.)

    Hate crimes rule out the notion that the perpetrator might have been justified, or that the crime was unintentional or the result of a misunderstanding. A hate crime automatically comes with the elements of motive and intent.
    So what of an heterosexual man beating to death another heterosexual man? The one who beat the gay kid will get a tougher sentence than the one who beat the straight man to death - but they both beat someone to death.

    Edited:

    Also motivation/intention is an integral part in determining the severity of the crime. It's the difference between manslaughter and murder, for instance.
    I don't know this for sure, but isn't the difference between manslaughter and murder based on whether it was done because of carelessness or on purpose? Both of which don't have motivation, only intention?

    Edited:

    The effect of a hate crime is perpetuating a climate of fear against minority groups.

    so yes, hate crimes are different and should be prosecuted differently
    I think that's more of an act of terrorism than specifically a hate crime.

  5. Post #5
    ''just wondering''
    Keegs's Avatar
    December 2008
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    So what of an heterosexual man beating to death another heterosexual man? The one who beat the gay kid will get a tougher sentence than the one who beat the straight man to death - but they both beat someone to death.
    Hate crimes are about the intention, just because you killed a gay kid doesn't mean it's a hate crime, it's only a hate crime if it's proved that you killed him because he was gay.

  6. Post #6
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    Lankist's Avatar
    July 2006
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    So what of an heterosexual man beating to death another heterosexual man? The one who beat the gay kid will get a tougher sentence than the one who beat the straight man to death - but they both beat someone to death.
    Because it's much easier to prove intent and motive with a hate crime than a regular crime. Not necessarily because the crime itself is greater.

    *this is my understanding of it anyway.



    I don't know this for sure, but isn't the difference between manslaughter and murder based on whether it was done because of carelessness or on purpose? Both of which don't have motivation, only intention?
    Manslaughter is unintentional homicide. (e.g. accidentally running over a pedestrian)

    Murder 2 is intentional homicide that was unplanned (e.g. an altercation turns deadly in the heat of the moment.)

    Murder 1 is premeditated (e.g. serial killings, racial killings, just about anything you see on a procedural cop show, etc.)

    Many crimes also carry variable sentences based upon motive and intent, at the discretion of the judge. For instance, if you beat someone into a coma intentionally, that's different than if you beat someone into a coma inadvertently in an otherwise minor altercation.


    Hate crimes are always considered intentional, with an obvious motive, and they are very easily provable if a witness hears the perpetrator say, for instance, "you're going to die, faggot" or "you should have stayed in [nation], [slur]."

    Basically, if a crime carries enough evidence to qualify as a hate crime, then it pretty much has enough evidence for a strong conviction right off the bat.

  7. Post #7
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
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    Hate crimes are about the intention, just because you killed a gay kid doesn't mean it's a hate crime, it's only a hate crime if it's proved that you killed him because he was gay.
    But the end result is still the same - someone was killed. Shouldn't it the perpetrator be sentenced on that fact alone?

  8. Post #8
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    Lankist's Avatar
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    But the end result is still the same - someone was killed. Shouldn't it the perpetrator be sentenced on that fact alone?
    Motive and intent are both vital pieces of evidence in serious crimes. You can't convince a jury that someone killed someone else, for example, without explaining why they would have done it. You might be able to get a conviction if you have a ridiculous amount of evidence, but in most cases you need to tie the evidence together with motive.

  9. Post #9
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    Because it's much easier to prove intent and motive with a hate crime than a regular crime. Not necessarily because the crime itself is greater.

    *this is my understanding of it anyway.





    Manslaughter is unintentional homicide. (e.g. accidentally running over a pedestrian)

    Murder 2 is intentional homicide that was unplanned (e.g. an altercation turns deadly in the heat of the moment.)

    Murder 1 is premeditated (e.g. serial killings, racial killings, just about anything you see on a procedural cop show, etc.)

    Many crimes also carry variable sentences based upon motive and intent, at the discretion of the judge. For instance, if you beat someone into a coma intentionally, that's different than if you beat someone into a coma inadvertently in an otherwise minor altercation.


    Hate crimes are always considered intentional, with an obvious motive, and they are very easily provable if a witness hears the perpetrator say, for instance, "you're going to die, faggot" or "you should have stayed in [nation], [slur]."

    Basically, if a crime carries enough evidence to qualify as a hate crime, then it pretty much has enough evidence for a strong conviction right off the bat.
    Okay, it's purpose makes sense to me - to knock off any thought that it was unintentional - but why then give a tougher sentence than the same intentional crime that did not involve a racial slur or another bigoted motivation?

  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    sgman91's Avatar
    July 2006
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    Of course everything possible should be used to convict the assailant, whether it be a slur they said in the act or emails they sent before the act, etc. That has nothing to do with giving harsher punishments though.

    Couldn't it be argued that all murders are done because of hate? Why is unfounded hate against certain groups different than unfounded hate against another.

  11. Post #11
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    Lankist's Avatar
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    Couldn't it be argued that all murders are done because of hate?
    No. Motives for murder can be boiled down to three categories:

    Greed. Passion. Compulsion.

    Greed is the killing for financial or otherwise personal gain. Killing a man for the money in his wallet. Hired-guns. Gang violence.

    Compulsion is the compulsive need to kill in the perpetrator. Serial killers. Insanity.

    Passion is the only category into which hatred falls. And passion killings are frequently unintentional or otherwise unplanned, heat-of-the-moment, second-degree stuff. Which is why it's important to distinguish between intentional killing for hatred's sakes and, say, the frenzied rage of an enraged spouse who discovered their other was cheating on them.

    Edited:

    Okay, it's purpose makes sense to me - to knock off any thought that it was unintentional - but why then give a tougher sentence than the same intentional crime that did not involve a racial slur or another bigoted motivation?
    I don't really have anything for that off the top of my head. I don't think they carry harder sentences by design, only by circumstance that the evidence needed to prove a hate crime is evidence enough to warrant a harsh sentence.

  12. Post #12
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    sgman91's Avatar
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    Many states do have enhanced punishments for hate crimes above and beyond the normal sentence.

  13. Post #13
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    Lankist's Avatar
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    Many states do have enhanced punishments for hate crimes above and beyond the normal sentence.
    Examples?

    Not trying to be shitty or disagree with you, I just don't know.

  14. Post #14
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    Examples?

    Not trying to be shitty or disagree with you, I just don't know.
    This one is pretty specific on where, but I'm sure there's others like it:

    http://www.adl.org/issue_government/...encing_act.asp


    Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act
    (28 U.S.C 994)


    Congress enacted a federal complement to state hate crime penalty-enhancement statutes in the 1994 crime bill. This provision required the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for crimes in which the victim was selected "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person." This measure applies, inter alia, to attacks and vandalism which occur in national parks and on federal property.

  15. Post #15
    foxcock
    Bletotum's Avatar
    June 2008
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    To my understanding (along with what Lankist said), harsher sentencing is a means of discouragement in participation of these crimes. This is necessary to prevent the idea that it is okay to commit crimes against any specific group of people. Hate spreads, and cultures that develop in unified hatred of a group result in gang mentality against that group. For instance, mob lynching.

  16. Post #16
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    To my understanding (along with what Lankist said), harsher sentencing is a means of discouragement in participation of these crimes. This is necessary to prevent the idea that it is okay to commit crimes against any specific group of people. Hate spreads, and cultures that develop in unified hatred of a group result in gang mentality against that group. For instance, mob lynching.
    I don't think they're very effective at stopping the motivation of a crime. Why try to discourage, say, murder due to hatred more so than just murder in general? Isn't murder in general bad enough to begin with? And by discouraging murder by hatred more so than others, does that mean other murders are "less important" so to speak?

  17. Post #17
    President of the Westboro Baptist Church Fan Club
    Dennab
    February 2012
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    Well the sentencing should be based on rehabilitation and not punishment, so in theory it should be the same as any other murder, but since we don't live in a utpoia, then Lankist is right, they probably receive harsher sentences due to more evidence.

  18. Post #18
    ''just wondering''
    Keegs's Avatar
    December 2008
    2,812 Posts
    They receive harsher punishments because their crimes are intended to 'terrorize a group of people'.

  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    Disotrtion's Avatar
    February 2012
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    Wait. So, hypothetically, if I assaulted a black man obviously I would go to jail for assault. But, if I call the man racial slurs as I beat him, I go to jail for longer.
    That's messed up.
    In both crimes I beat a man, so I should be punished for the crime. Why should I be punished more for my motivation? Sure you could use hate as a motivation to prosecute someone in court, but why should someone be punished more for their hate?
    Bletotum posted:
    To my understanding (along with what Lankist said), harsher sentencing is a means of discouragement in participation of these crimes. This is necessary to prevent the idea that it is okay to commit crimes against any specific group of people. Hate spreads, and cultures that develop in unified hatred of a group result in gang mentality against that group. For instance, mob lynching.
    I don't think the deterrent theory is that valid. Deterrents don't always work in criminal justice, just look at the death penalty.

  20. Post #20
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    Lankist's Avatar
    July 2006
    14,576 Posts
    just a suggestion:

    maybe you just shouldn't assault anyone

  21. Post #21
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    just a suggestion:

    maybe you just shouldn't assault anyone
    If everyone went by that suggestion, I don't think there would be a debate needed here.

  22. Post #22
    Gold Member
    SigmaLambda's Avatar
    March 2006
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    They receive harsher punishments because their crimes are intended to 'terrorize a group of people'.
    yeah this is the gist. hate crimes are of a nature especially pernicious because not only are they acts of vandalism or violence, they are also acts of terror. it's the same line of reasoning that makes the act of mailing a politician an envelope filled with flour or any other sort of fake terrorist threat a serious crime. even though the threat itself is empty; the mere act of threatening an entire society is a serious transgression in itself. acts of violence or vandalism motivated by racial or sexual or religious hatred are of a character which is uniquely threatening to the society in which they take place

    Edited:

    Wait. So, hypothetically, if I assaulted a black man obviously I would go to jail for assault. But, if I call the man racial slurs as I beat him, I go to jail for longer.
    That's messed up.
    In both crimes I beat a man, so I should be punished for the crime. Why should I be punished more for my motivation? Sure you could use hate as a motivation to prosecute someone in court, but why should someone be punished more for their hate?
    because you being punished for the crime is exactly that, it's you being punished for the nature of the crime. The crime you committed isn't the end result of there being a black man who was beaten, you're being punished for the act of beating him; and beating someone who is black and beating someone for being black are two distinctly different actions which rightly carry different consequences.

  23. Post #23
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    sgman91's Avatar
    July 2006
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    ... and what if I beat someone for being tall? or fat? or republican? or democrat? or any other specific group? These hate crime laws only apply to the "protected" groups, but, under that logic, should apply if the crime was done against literally any group, because they are a part of that group.

    Besides the uneven nature of the hate crime laws, committing what is considered a hate crime isn't necessarily done to cause terror. It could just be because some white guy hates black people and decided to kill one (or vise versa).

  24. Post #24
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    yeah this is the gist. hate crimes are of a nature especially pernicious because not only are they acts of vandalism or violence, they are also acts of terror. it's the same line of reasoning that makes the act of mailing a politician an envelope filled with flour or any other sort of fake terrorist threat a serious crime. even though the threat itself is empty; the mere act of threatening an entire society is a serious transgression in itself. acts of violence or vandalism motivated by racial or sexual or religious hatred are of a character which is uniquely threatening to the society in which they take place

    Edited:



    because you being punished for the crime is exactly that, it's you being punished for the nature of the crime. The crime you committed isn't the end result of there being a black man who was beaten, you're being punished for the act of beating him; and beating someone who is black and beating someone for being black are two distinctly different actions which rightly carry different consequences.
    What if someone assaults a particular black man while being hateful of blacks?

    Not many people assault people of a group just out of the shear fact that of that person's group. They may have just crossed paths with a racist at the wrong time and took it out on that particular man just because that particular guy was there, not to instill fear among all blacks.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    SigmaLambda's Avatar
    March 2006
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    ... and what if I beat someone for being tall? or fat? or republican? or democrat? or any other specific group? These hate crime laws only apply to the "protected" groups, but, under that logic, should apply if the crime was done against literally any group, because they are a part of that group.
    Maybe the solution to that is to, instead of getting rid of hate crime laws, make the coverage of hate crime laws broader.

    Besides the uneven nature of the hate crime laws, committing what is considered a hate crime isn't necessarily done to cause terror. It could just be because some white guy hates black people and decided to kill one (or vise versa).
    that's fucking terror though. the only person who could not see that as terror are people with legitimate issues with culpability because of some or the other mental illness, which is it's own issue. disagreeing with a fundamental interpretation of reality in the premises you internally accept when you commit your crime doesn't alleviate the nature of the crime.

    Osama bin Laden thought he was committing a just act by attacking america but he's still considered a mass murderer because his premise was so far gone from reality that we as society can pretty fairly judge it to be unreasonable (see also: imperfect self defense) and, at the same time, mental illness is also not something seemingly present and thus is not a valid excuse for this detachment from reality.

    If someone who has no demonstrable form of mental illness shows up in court and says "I didn't think I was causing terror by murdering this dude for being black" the court has every right to say "yeah, sorry but we don't fucking buy that."

  26. Post #26
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    Shouldn't hate crimes just be moved to be anti-terrorism laws then?

  27. Post #27
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    SigmaLambda's Avatar
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    What if someone assaults a particular black man while being hateful of blacks?

    Not many people assault people of a group just out of the shear fact that of that person's group. They may have just crossed paths with a racist at the wrong time and took it out on that particular man just because that particular guy was there, not to instill fear among all blacks.
    see my above post. I honestly don't believe that someone can be so ignorant of the consequences of their actions while also not suffering from some serious impairment to their judgment. The courts have a right to determine the criminal's belief that "I wasn't spreading terror" is an unreasonable one and therefore as something which does not alleviate the nature of their crime.

    Edited:

    Shouldn't hate crimes just be moved to be anti-terrorism laws then?
    iunno. I think terrorism as it's defined is political in nature while hate crime is social terror, though of course there is overlap. this is honestly really just semantics though

  28. Post #28
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    Patriarch's Avatar
    June 2010
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    The problem with hate crime is that the person who commits it is horrible misinformed, and so punishing them probably won't work, and would really be like punching someone who is homophobic for being raised in a religious household. People who have antagonism a certain group of people based on a value such as skin, sexuality etc. did not choose to think this way, but more likely their thoughts were molded by an external group, such as parents or religion. I therefore don't really see it as just to punish someone who themselves is the victim of outdated ideas.

  29. Post #29
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    SigmaLambda's Avatar
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    which is why prison should be about rehabilitation instead of punishment, but that's a different subject for a different thread. as it stands the prison system is only nominally about rehabilitation, but a good framework for reacting to hate crimes is still a good ideal to be advanced towards anyway

  30. Post #30
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    Disotrtion's Avatar
    February 2012
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    Also the police can waste time and effort trying to determine if someone is racist. I mean, in some cases it can be pretty obvious, but what if one perpetrator never was vocal about his bigotry. Then the police would have to investigate further into this before the trial, delaying the entire process.
    Or what if a perp who is not racist, gets accused of being racist and convicted of a hate crime. Now he faces an unfair sentence.

  31. Post #31
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    Lankist's Avatar
    July 2006
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    Also the police can waste time and effort trying to determine if someone is racist. I mean, in some cases it can be pretty obvious, but what if one perpetrator never was vocal about his bigotry. Then the police would have to investigate further into this before the trial, delaying the entire process.
    Or what if a perp who is not racist, gets accused of being racist and convicted of a hate crime. Now he faces an unfair sentence.
    Investigators do not actively look for signs of racism like that.

    Hate crimes are usually determined by actions taken at the scene of a crime. For instance, if someone is beating up a black dude and witnesses hear him yell "nigger" and "porch monkey," that initiates the hate-crime charges and the subsequent investigation.

    They do not go looking for evidence of a hate crime automatically.

  32. Post #32
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    that's fucking terror though. the only person who could not see that as terror are people with legitimate issues with culpability because of some or the other mental illness, which is it's own issue. disagreeing with a fundamental interpretation of reality in the premises you internally accept when you commit your crime doesn't alleviate the nature of the crime.

    Osama bin Laden thought he was committing a just act by attacking america but he's still considered a mass murderer because his premise was so far gone from reality that we as society can pretty fairly judge it to be unreasonable (see also: imperfect self defense) and, at the same time, mental illness is also not something seemingly present and thus is not a valid excuse for this detachment from reality.

    If someone who has no demonstrable form of mental illness shows up in court and says "I didn't think I was causing terror by murdering this dude for being black" the court has every right to say "yeah, sorry but we don't fucking buy that."
    All crime can cause terror, albeit to different degrees. If my neighbor gets murdered you better bet everyone on the street would be afraid. This terror would be in a much more real sense than the terror the entire black community would feel because of a single crime inspired by racism.

  33. Post #33
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    Lankist's Avatar
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    The distinction is intent.

  34. Post #34
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    sgman91's Avatar
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    The distinction is intent.
    My previous response stated that a crime don in the name of bigotry isn't necessary intended to cause terror. It is possible that it was simply done because of the strong hate felt towards the group in question.

    Sigma responded by saying intent doesn't matter and that terror was caused anyway.

    I then responded that all crime causes terror.

  35. Post #35
    ''just wondering''
    Keegs's Avatar
    December 2008
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    My previous response stated that a crime don in the name of bigotry isn't necessary intended to cause terror. It is possible that it was simply done because of the strong hate felt towards the group in question.

    Sigma responded by saying intent doesn't matter and that terror was caused anyway.

    I then responded that all crime causes terror.
    Hate Crimes cause a much more significant amount of terror than a regular crime and have a much wider effect on people.

  36. Post #36
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    SigmaLambda's Avatar
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    This terror would be in a much more real sense than the terror the entire black community would feel because of a single crime inspired by racism.
    You don't know that. Don't act like you can completely understand the emotions that other people in other circumstances feel. Some (aaaaa leap of faith) white dude on the internet saying "in these circumstances, black people would feel this way:" is really really laughable.

    and It's not a fucking "single crime" it's hundreds of the across them country every year.

    Edited:

    I then responded that all crime causes terror.
    in qualitatively different ways.

    Why the hell does everything have to be a black and white dichotomy?

  37. Post #37
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    sgman91's Avatar
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    ... and you do know that it causes more terror? My aunt was robbed at knife point a few months ago... she is still terrified to walk alone. My neighbor had his house completely ransacked last year... there is still a lingering feeling of unease throughout the community. Hell, even I've been in the position of having my life threatened. I don't care what the reason was, the amount of fear is the same.

    I'm the one trying to get rid of any dichotomy and treat all crime the same.

  38. Post #38
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    SigmaLambda's Avatar
    March 2006
    6,428 Posts
    ... and you do know that it causes more terror? My aunt was robbed at knife point a few months ago... she is still terrified to walk alone. My neighbor had his house completely ransacked last year... there is still a lingering feeling of unease throughout the community. Hell, even I've been in the position of having my life threatened. I don't care what the reason was, the amount of fear is the same.

    I'm the one trying to get rid of any dichotomy and treat all crime the same.
    yes, all violent crime causes some degree of fear in the society in which it occurs, but hate being a motivation for motivation cause more on top of that.

    there's no reason that any of those crimes couldn't have also been racially motivated, in which case they would have a new dimension to the social terror that they cause on top of what they already caused.

    i'm not saying that any of those things aren't terrible; I'm saying that, say, a racist motivation would have just added another transgression on top of what the crimes already are.

  39. Post #39
    Reagent's Avatar
    May 2012
    50 Posts
    i think crimes should be weighed by their impact on society and individuals. I agree that hate crimes are biased and racist. Watch this:
    South Park: Cartmans Silly hate crime and you will see what i mean. I understand that hate should be discouraged but i dont think that that is relevant in the court systems, rather in the scholastic system.

  40. Post #40
    WhatTheKlent's Avatar
    December 2008
    802 Posts
    yes, all violent crime causes some degree of fear in the society in which it occurs, but hate being a motivation for motivation cause more on top of that.

    there's no reason that any of those crimes couldn't have also been racially motivated, in which case they would have a new dimension to the social terror that they cause on top of what they already caused.

    i'm not saying that any of those things aren't terrible; I'm saying that, say, a racist motivation would have just added another transgression on top of what the crimes already are.
    I don't think anyone's going to be less threatened if they are held at knife-point by a mugger who respects people of all creeds and colours.

    The problem here is the crime itself, the racism is only the motive.