Why we should hate “hate crime” laws

Consider two hypothetical criminal law defendants. Defendant A, a White, is accused of murdering six Asian sex workers. Defendant B, also White, is accused of murdering six White sex workers. Both sets of murders occurred in the same jurisdiction and were carried out in exactly the same manner.

Should Defendant A be treated differently than Defendant B?

Any unindoctrinated, fair-minded person would say that, of course, the two defendants should be treated the same. They should be charged with the same crimes, prosecuted by same office, permitted the same defenses, and if convicted, receive the same punishment.

Any other result would imply that the lives of Asians and the lives of Whites are valued differently.

Due to “hate crime” laws, however, Defendants A and B might well be treated differently. Defendant A might well be treated more harshly than Defendant B because he killed Asians, not Whites.

Georgia foolishly adopted a hate crime statute last year. Thus, it must consider whether the guy who killed six Asian sex workers in Atlanta should be prosecuted for committing hate crimes. If the answer is yes, he likely will be treated differently — more harshly — than if he had killed six Whites.

Applying the hate crime statute entails figuring out whether the killing spree was motivated, not by hatred, but by hatred of Asians. On the face of things, it looks like the killer was motivated by the fact that the women were prostitutes, not the fact that they were Asian. However, authorities reportedly will scour his writings and utterances in search of evidence of anti-Asian animus.

No doubt, any musings about race, broadly viewed, will be scrutinized the way a Talmudic scholar analyzes the Torah. Or, to provide a better analogy, the way a modern literature professor analyzes Shakespeare, looking for racial overtones and/or LGBT characters.

What a waste of time. There is no crime more heinous than premeditated murder. It doesn’t matter whether the Atlanta shooter killed six women because he hated prostitutes, because he hated Asians, or because he hated both.

Chuck Efstration, a Republican state legislator who helped enact Georgia’s hate crime law, defended the absurdity of disparate, racially-based outcomes for the same criminal acts on the theory that crimes motivated by racism are “attacks not only on the victims but on all of society.” But all crimes are attacks on society. That’s one reason why “society” punishes them. It is always “The State (or some variant formulation) v. The Defendant.”

There is no rational, non-racist sense in which the assault committed by Defendant B in the hypothetical I presented above was less of an assault on society than that committed by Defendant A — the White guy who killed Asians. This is true regardless of how Defendant A felt about Asians.

In my hypothetical, the number of society members killed is the same. The danger posed by the killer to other members of society, both while committing his shooting spree and in the future, is the same. The need to deter senseless killings and the heinousness of the offenses are the same, unless situations exist in which some lives matter more than others due to race.

We are one society, or should be. Hate crime laws, like so many other aspects of wokeness, negate this noble aspiration.

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