Friday, January 17, 2014

Are all violent crimes hate crimes?


How's your 2014 been so far? Mine's been...interesting. Not bad necessarily, just interesting. But I worked out this morning, so my blood is pumping and I'm ready to write a new blog post. Sweet.

Maybe you've heard and maybe you haven't, but a white guy shot and killed another white guy recently, because the first white guy wouldn't stop texting on his phone at the movies. In Florida.

Florida, what is the deal? You have been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Pull yourself together, (wo)man.

Here is a link if you'd like to read more.

Lots of thoughts about this, so let's just do it stream of consciousness style...

--If the guy who was dead was black, this would be getting a lot more news coverage. And some people would for sure be calling it a hate crime (or at the very least, racially motivated.) Which leads to the question...

--Is it possible for a white person to aggress against a black person and it not be a hate crime? How do you know when a crime has gone from just being a crime crime to a hate crime?

--Related: How come you never hear about black people committing hate crimes against white people? Is that even possible? Why or why not? One of the most common things that I see when I encounter writings of people on the internet who would describe themselves as white supremacists are these examples of crimes where white people were kidnapped and/or tortured and/or killed by black people, and the media is not covering the story and no one is calling it a hate crime.

--Statistically speaking, is it more common for a white person to be killed by a black person, or a black person to be killed by a white person? It is important to note that the probability of being killed by another person period is extremely, extremely low--I am just curious about the numbers.

--The guy who did the shooting was a retired cop. Not doing a lot to help the reputation of cops. I also heard that when they arrested him, they handcuffed him in the front, which is against protocol. I guess to make him look less like a common criminal. Again, not the best time to have your fellow cop's back. You can read more on my measured, rational ideas about the police here.

--I don't really see the point in hate crime legislation. I get it, the government is trying to send a message that -isms and -phobias are bad. They think the way to show that is to add extra time to your sentence if you do a crime because of an -ism or phobia. But the problem is this: Prisons suck, and they do very little to rehabilitate the people who go to them. So making a racist or homophobe spend more time in jail doesn't solve any problem. If anything, it creates a distraction because then politicians can say, "Hey look we care about this, as evidenced by us creating this extra punitive measure on the back end." Then, they do nothing about the front end and want us to think that's progress. But that leads to an even bigger question...

--What can they even do on the front end? People with these biases have a problem with their thinking, and it's not the government's job to be the thought police. I feel like this is an example of When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The government's power comes through its ability to make laws, and at times I wonder if they think they can legislate racism out of existence. Obviously there is a lot that can be done for more justice in the court system, banking, and schooling just to name a few. But I wonder how much of this change needs to come from laws, and how much just needs to come from people who realize that we don't want to continue doing things the way we're doing them currently.

--Ok, I think that's all for now. If you have some thoughts that you'd like to share, you know I'd loove to hear them. Two "o"s. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will.

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