Monday, October 27, 2008

Here's why hate crimes are a dangerous idea...

Not because law enforcement decided that a Sarah Palin mannequin hung in effigy as part of a Halloween display in Hollywood is not a hate crime; I happen to believe that's protected speech.

No, the reason that hate crimes are a dangerous idea is because had the same display included Barack Obama it might have been:

[Sheriff's Department spokesman]: Whitmore said that potential hate crimes are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If the same display had been made of a Barack Obama-like doll, for example, authorities would have to evaluate it independently, Whitmore said.

"That adds a whole other social, historical hate aspect to the display, and that is embedded in the consciousness of the country," he said, adding he's not sure whether it would be a hate crime. "It would be ill-advised of anybody to speculate on that."


This sort of speaks for itself, and if you don't get it, no comment of mine will cause you to see the light.

8 comments:

LiberalGeek said...

Well..yeah...except for this...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/19/racist-obama-effigy-hung_n_135971.html

The best part of that story is that the guy said he did it because he is a racist. Love that one.

Bowly said...

So racist speech isn't a right? No more Klan or neo-Nazi rallies and/or websites?

Morons have rights, too.

Hube said...

Well...yeah... what, Geek? Precisely what is your point?

Steve Newton said...

OK Geek, I hate to admit it, but I'm with Hube on this one: I have absolutely no idea what your point is. Maybe I'm just extra slow today.

My main point that I did not state is that wow, here we've got a sheriff telling you we can't give you an answer as to whether a specific action would or would not be criminal until after the fact, we'd just have to think about it and decide later if you broke the law or not...

The essence of law is predictability: I have to have the ability (under reasonable circumstances) to know whether or not my considered action will be legal. Saying that it's not appropriate to speculate on whether hanging an Obama effigy would be legal or not, after just declaring a Palin effigy legal, is an example of handing over ENTIRELY too much 1984-like discretionary authority over to the police.

"Well, son, I'm a-takin' you in. That there Obama effigy woulda been legal if it hadn't been Black History month. We determined that last week, but it was a double-secret probation type law and we couldn't tell anybody about it. You got a lawyer, boy?"

G Rex said...

Would it be a hate crime if I burned a Confederate flag in Cecil County? Or would that be an "I hate hate" crime? Besides, you don't have to hang anyone in effigy to start an uproar these days, just hang a noose from a tree.

Hube said...

I hate to admit it, but I'm with Hube on this one

Just curious: Why do you "hate to admit it," Steve?

Steve Newton said...

I "hate to admit it" referred to my hating to admit that I couldn't understand what he was trying to say; didn't mean it to read that way.

Hube said...

LOL...ok. Cool. I feel better! :-)