Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hate crimes, again

There was a hate crime committed in Utah last weekend.

Well, that's what I thought. Two men who were dressed like Mormon missionaries were assaulted by someone who yelled invective against the LDS Church. Sounds like a hate crime to me.

Only the men weren't missionaries; they were employees of a local Radio Shack, taking a break from work. Still, they were attacked only because they were perceived to be Mormon. But the local prosecutor says there "isn't enough evidence" that this was a hate crime.

Longtime readers of The Warren know that hate crimes laws are near the top of my Most Disliked list. They are in effect speech codes that are intended solely to stigmatize, and thereby marginalize, certain points of view with the ultimate goal of criminalizing them. And as we can see with this incident, even if there was a hate crimes law on the books in Utah the local prosecutor ignored the obvious. Nope, no hate crime here. No sirree.

Not only is the intent of hate crimes laws to stifle free speech ("Send a message" or in plain English, "shut certain people up") this incident demonstrates that they are never enforced fairly. If you're a straight white Mormon male, it is virtually impossible for anyone to commit a hate crime against you.

The ever-persistent Rep. David Litvack pounced on news of this event, saying that this demonstrates the need for a hate crimes law in Utah. But what good is a law if the prosecutor declines to press charges because the victim isn't a member of an Aggrieved Minority Group?

Personally, I'd rather take my chances with the bigots. At least they don't pretend to be my friends.


Post a Comment

<< Home