Hate Crimes

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  • Topic: Hate crime, Hate crime laws in the United States, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Pages : 5 (1629 words )
  • Download(s) : 181
  • Published : February 12, 2002
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Violence motivated by a bias against victims' characteristics which include race, religion, ethnic background, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, represents a serious threat to all communities. Experts estimate that a bias-related crime is committed every 14 minutes. Criminal justice officials and state policy makers need to realize that it is key to make or adjust hate crime legislation. This has been a heated debate for centuries. I think more hate crime legislation is key to solving the ever-growing problem of hate crimes.

The first legislative efforts to address bias-related crimes, dated back to the late 19th century, which was a response to the expanding Ku Klux Klan and segregation in the south. Such laws included mandates against wearing masks and hoods. The next wave of legislation relating to hate crimes resulted from the movement for increased protection for civil rights in the face of widespread racial prejudice shown by segregated buildings and restricted access to public and private resources. The most recent legislation has been directed specifically to acts of hate against people of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, S. 625, also known as the Hate Crime Prevention Act, if enacted would strengthen current law as it relates to hate crimes motivated by a victim's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Hate crimes are not only destructive to the victims and their families, but damaging to the victims families and friends. It also is very damaging to our American ideals. America stands and shines for diversity and equality. In a way hate crimes are not only threatening to the individual being attacked but to America as a whole.

Last year, Congress had the chance to pass strong hate crimes legislation. On June 19,2000, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2000 was approved by the senate as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. People who act on hate need to know their punishment will be severe and harsh. Hate crimes threaten the safety of many citizens and in a way disrupts the entire communitie. Hate crimes can not be tolerated.

Hate crimes are a harsh reality in the United States. The reason it is so hard to come to a conclusion of if there should be more hate crime laws because there are a lot of pros and cons of this issue. One argument is if hate crime laws are put into place, it darkens the lines between groups of people. How is this promoting tolerance? I don't believe it darkens lines. In fact I think it does the opposite. It shows people that we are equal by the very fact that the U.S government is not going to put up with crimes that are against someone because they are different.

Another argument is that the government should not punish people more harshly based on their feelings that motivated their crime, instead of the crime committed. I think the reason behind a crime is just as important than the crime committed. For example, let's say, a woman killed her husband just by merely shooting him, maybe for self defense. Now, if we were just looking at the crime she would be guilty and would have to go to jail. Obviously this is ridiculous. Her defending herself is what should be on trial not just the fact that she killed her husband. I know that this is not what the argument is really about, it's about plain out murders but the U.S is all about a mixture of people. This is

what makes the United States so great. The United States needs to have hate-crime legislation. Crimes are obviously awful but when it is purely because one is different, it goes against everything America stands for. As our former President said, "These are not like other crimes, because these crimes target people simply because of who they are, and because they do, they strike at the heart of who we are as a nation."

Another key argument against hate crime legislation...
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