Hate Crimes and Society

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Hate Crimes and Society

Hate crimes also known as Bias crimes are defined as ‘A criminal offense in which the motive is “hatred, bias, or prejudice, base on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of another individual or group of individuals.” (Criminal Justice Now Online, 2006) The atrocities known as hate crimes or bias crimes are getting all too common within today’s society. Why do people commit such crimes you ask? Well according to the research studies of Jack McDevitt, Jack Levin, and Susan Bennet there are four causes for these crimes: Thrill-seeking or Sadistic, Reactive or Defensive, Mission or Duty to Act, and Retaliatory. (Siegel, 2008, pp. 245-246) Hate crimes can also rear their ugly heads when the economy is down and there is no quick fix for its rise. Often this happens when a large company pulls out of a neighborhood for whatever reason causing the local workforce to become unemployed putting a tremendous strain on the community when it does not need one. This is when the competition of what few jobs are still there get fought over causing tension between people within that society. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, pp. 366-367) When hate crimes are committed most of us think that it was against a living thing and that is not always the case. These crimes can and are directed toward houses, places of worship, and even cemeteries. (Siegel, 2008, p. 245) In January 2008, there was a report of a hate crime that involved a Jewish cemetery. The reason for the classification of this being a hate crime was due to the swastika, “Aryan Power” and “White Power” spray painted on some of the grave markers. This act of violence is estimated to cost $100,000.00 to repair the damage. (Rozek, 2008) This act of hate was done with by those who are cowards in my opinion but I would rather see something that can be replaced or fixed, than a person or persons hurt by a senseless act of violence. One of the most talked about act of hate is the Texas case of James Byrd, Jr. in 1999 against John William King, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and Shawn Allen Berry all tried separately by the State of Texas for Byrd’s murder. Where on June 7, 1998 Byrd accepted a ride from these three white men and it cost him his life just because he was black. Both King and Brewer were given the death penalty and as for Berry, he was given a life sentence. (Schmalleger, 2007, p. 63) This is a prime example that shows that hate crimes tend to victimize people who are vulnerable, convenient targets, or as a way to tell that person that you are not wanted here, move on. (Siegel, 2008, pp. 245-246) Another form of hate crimes is those that involve the disapproval of the life style of an individual and with this race is hardly the issue. These are known to the law enforcement communities as homophobic homicides. This type of crime is mostly directed toward gays and lesbians but in no way is confined to just gays and lesbians. (Schmalleger, 2007, p. 63) Homophobic homicide can also be seen in a predominantly ethnic community when another ethnicity moves in and is not wanted there or when two people from different cultures marry and try to settle down in the ‘wrong community’ according to the unwritten rule of housing guidelines for that area. Laws to protect individuals from hate crimes came into play soon after the Civil War to protect slaves that were freed due to the United States Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment that Abolished Slavery in 1865. (Mount, 2007) The way that the government is dealing with hate crimes is with the Hate Crimes Statistic Act (HCSA) and the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) both help with monitoring and tracking information that help establish guidelines and directives for all involved. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron...
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