The vast majority of the British people are decent(respose of the Uk people to Haiti and the Tsunami) and don’t agree with hate crime. But it’s like any crime, the few that do it effect those who don’t, especially the victims. BUT we need to stop people spouting their hatred and its not unique to one group BNP/Pope/mad mullahs all hate us!
You said it Mike – “It’s like any crime.”
I have never understood why a hate crime is any different to any other. If I go around beating up old ladies, then I obviously don’t have a great deal of respect for them, and may even possibly hate old ladies, viz a viz, is this a hate crime?
If you kill someone with malice aforethought, you have committed murder. The motive is irrelevant. Whatever age, colour, sexuality or religion really doesn’t matter. The fact you have unlawfully killed someone certainly does.
It’s like people like Ian Huntley will be locked up for the rest of his natural life for the killing of two children, whereas others that have maybe killed more, walk away after maybe 15 years. Why? Because the public demand it, based on emotional factors rather than the statutory legal standpoint. I feel there is an similar thing going on here, and we must learn to separate the emotional fact that someone was attacked or murdered because somebody else disliked something about them.
That said, I think all sentences are too lenient, simply because we haven’t got any prison space left, and this half-arsed government, in association with the EU is unwilling to string some of these bastards from the end of a rope.
I can see both sides of the “Hate crime” argument, but I would say that what sets hate crime resulting in a lynching apart from your run-of the mill murder is that it taps into a pernicious ideology, which left unchallenged spreads. You only have to look at 1930′s Alabama to see how groups can legitimise lynching one minority group.
I’d also say that the fear generated by a hatecrime, the social division and the damage is amplified from a normal random murder.
Whether it should carry harsher penalties is a moot point, but the majority of murders aren’t linked to a political ideology [unless you loosen the definition and count war as murder].
Hate crimes exist for pragmatic purposes: to redress the balance of safety. When one particular demographic faces a statistically higher rate of victimisation than other demographics, steps need to be taken in order to protect these people. We see the same sort of pragmatism in other areas of law enforcement, too. Whenever a particular drug becomes a hot issue, or there’s a new wave of it on the streets, the police will clamp down on it harder than usual and the courts will hand out harsher sentences. It is a reactive process.
As for the ethical and moral reasons, I still agree with hate crimes. This whole “thought crime” business is nonsense. The law has been punishing intentions since day one. That’s why there’s a difference between killing somebody accidentally and killing them intentionally, as there should be. People who target specific groups are guilty of a form of vigilante-ist social persecution. It is a more serious crime than a random beating because their target was picked for nothing other than the way they were born. These people have to deal with this sort of persecution on top of all the other sorts of victimisation other people face. That’s the thing about hate crimes: they’re not a special name for the same crimes happening to minorities, they’re a form of crime that has to be endured in addition to those endured by other people.
As for grannies and kiddies, I was under the impression that crimes committed against the physically or mentally helpless tend to be treated as more serious. I hope that’s right, because I agree with that, too.
RobN – if you murder due to sexuality then it is a hate-crime for eexample
“People who target specific groups are guilty of a form of vigilante-ist social persecution. It is a more serious crime than a random beating because their target was picked for nothing other than the way they were born.” Excellently put, Pumpkin Pie. Those words should be branded on the foreheads of all perpetrators of this particular kind of crime.
Pumpkin: I just really don’t see your logic. If someone is murdered because they are gay, or just because they are murdered because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time doesn’t matter. They are still dead. It’s like I have never understood why prison sentences are allowed to run concurrently for the same reason. It’s not like they are getting twice as much punishment.
Motivation for a crime is generally irrelevant. It is far more important that the perpetrator is punished for it. What you are effectively saying is that a gay man’s life is worth more than a straight one. I’m sure families of these people would not see it the same way as you when the killer of their kid knocked down by a drunk driver only gets 5 years, but a queer basher gets 15.
Minorities continue to want their cakes and eat them. They want to be equal, they want to be considered level, yet at the same time they expect special dispensation, laws to protect them, quotas to ensure their race/ colour / sexuality etc. is catered for and so on. Either we all put up with what the big wide world has to throw at us, or we segregate ourselves, and suffer the flak from others that perceive that we are being we are being unfairly promoted. You can’t have it both ways.
The world has shrunk as a result of the Internet, and this project is possible and necessary (Uganda), but still a challenge and we should all encourage it.
Just wanted to thank people for their comments and debating the issue. The whole point of the Vigil was to make sure that tackling hate crime remains a priority.
Whilst hate crimes continue we will continue to do what we can to raise awareness, bring people together, and and help develop our communities.
The term hate crime exists to help us define a specific type of crime, where specific groups of people are targeted out of hate. It does not mean that hate crime victims are worth any more or any less than other victims – it just helps us define the act itself.
Motive is not irrelevant because if we can unlock what motivates someone maybe someday we can work out how to unmotivate people and stop these awful crimes from happening.
Until then we need clear deterrants to help warn people that this type of behaviour is unacceptable.
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