An internet junkie’s ramblings


This is just a place for me to rant about politics, society, technology, or whatever else strikes a nerve.
Don't try this at home.

So as we all know the Democrats took over both houses of Congress in last week’s election. I was excited by this development, even though my own vote was split between the two ruling parties and a few write-in Libertarians. Don’t get me wrong; I hate Democrats as much as I do Republicans, but I prefer to have the different branches of government arguing with each other. It stirs debate and compromises are made that are far better than the initial proposed laws.

Now the Democrats are planning their agenda before taking over Congress, and while I don’t agree with half of it, one thing really struck me in particular. One of the top items on the to-do list is to broaden hate-crimes legislation. The Democrats wants to add gays, lesbians, and transgender people to the list of people “protected” under hate-crimes laws. Being “protected” simply means that the perpetrators of crimes against them receive a harsher penalty for their crimes.

I know many of you think this is a great idea, but the point is that the crimes are already against the law.  When people go beyond societal norms and resort to hurting others it is still a crime, regardless of race or gender. All these hate-crime laws do is punish the motive of the crime. Why should anyone get different penalties for hitting someone that, for example, crashes into his car depending on their color and/or sexual orientation?

Having stiffer sentences purely because of the criminal’s motive for the act amounts to thoughtcrime. The judge and jury consider what the person was thinking before breaking the law and take that into account when deciding the case. The only reason this has passed constitutional muster at all is because the crime was already committed, so they say. How much longer before we arrest people for what they say without doing anything based on those words? What is this, Canada?

If we start turning into Canada, who knows what will come first, socialized medicine or illegal hate speech. I have to be careful here because a lot of people think both are great ideas. Luckily we have that pesky Constitution to protect the latter issue. If only the Bill of Rights included a clause about handing down equal justice for the exact same crimes. If there should be any change in hate-crimes legislation, it should be to eliminate the laws completely.

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