Hate crime laws are biased and useless
This letter is in reference to Andy Brack’s column “Time for SC to pass hate crime protections” that was published on Nov. 9. He stated that South Carolina is one of only four states that do not have laws that increase punishments for hate crimes against certain groups. S.C. Rep. Beth Bernstein is working to build a coalition to pass such laws.
Hate crime laws are just another political ploy. To begin with, laws do not protect anyone from anything. They are reactive; that is, they only make it possible to punish the wrongdoer.
Hate is not a crime. The crime comes when a person acts upon his hate and commits some offense that is a crime. I do not understand why an offender should be punished more severely for committing a crime against a certain demographic than if he committed the same crime against me. I, as an American citizen, should be afforded the same “protection” under the law as anyone else. Obviously some people do not think so; I am just a third-class citizen.
Milwaukee police are investigating as a hate crime an incident where a white man threw battery acid in the face of a Hispanic man. Based upon the alleged words of the attacker, it was, without a doubt, a hate crime. The mayor said that attacking someone simply because he’s Hispanic is wrong and blames President Trump for instigating this hate. I say that attacking anyone is wrong, and that a certain crime should result in a certain punishment, and that demographics should not be a consideration.
There is one more reason why I am against hate crime laws. Uneven application of the law is a very real possibility. There is a high probability that hate crime laws will be applied even when no such hate exists. If a white man attacks a person of one of the protected demographics because he was insulted by that person, an ambitious prosecutor or the police might very well decide to investigate and prosecute the attack as a hate crime when there was no hate involved; only the anger that anyone feels over being insulted by anyone.
If our legislators wish to severely punish hate crime perpetrators, then legislate a severe penalty for the crime itself regardless of whom the crime was committed against.
LAWRENCE D. WEBER