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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rethinking "Hate Crimes"

The Chicago Tribune???? opposes hate crime laws? Who would have thunk it?

But hate crime laws raise concerns when they punish criminals differently not because of what they do, but because of what they think. In the view of Northwestern University law professor Martin Redish, it's the equivalent of tacking on extra punishment if a crime is meant to promote the cause of communism. Beat a man because he looks rich, or because he's got a Republican bumper sticker on his car, and there's no hate crime. Beat him because you think he's Jewish, or Cuban, or (under this bill) gay, and there is.

Violence ought to be punished regardless of the motive. Hate crimes are not acceptable -- but neither is any other crime.

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