"Hate Crimes" Require Crimes, Don't They?

A famous basketball star -- who happens to have converted to Islam, and is thus perhaps especially sensitive to criticism of that faith -- paints himself into a corner.
The U.S. Department of Justice describes a hate crime as “the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt 
and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin,
 religious, sexual orientation, or disability.” The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated the number of hate-crime victims in the U.S. to be over 250,000. And, though we cherish our right to free speech in this country, we also acknowledge that we are not entitled to say anything we want when it can cause others to be harmed. When those who have governmental authority, such as police, or who command wide attention from the public, such as candidates and pundits, express contempt for any group, it emboldens the bigots to crawl out from beneath their tree stumps to openly express their prejudices because they believe they have tacit approval from those in authority. Princeton economist Alan Krueger suggests one significant cause of hate crimes is the “official sanctioning and encouragement of civil disobedience.”
Why is he in a corner? He is also in the class of those "who command wide attention from the public, such as candidates and pundits." And he has also endorsed civil disobedience. Quite recently, in fact.

Beyond that, though, there's no crime here to consider a hate crime. Political speech by candidates for office is a protected first amendment activity if anything is.

The Justice Department is perhaps largely at fault. Their definition, which he partially cites, ought to be highly controversial:
Hate crime is the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability. The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, suspicious and fearful. Others may become frustrated and angry if they believe the local government and other groups in the community will not protect them. When perpetrators of hate are not prosecuted as criminals and their acts not publicly condemned, their crimes can weaken even those communities with the healthiest race relations.

Of all crimes, hate crimes are most likely to create or exacerbate tensions, which can trigger larger community-wide racial conflict, civil disturbances, and even riots. Hate crimes put cities and towns at-risk of serious social and economic consequences. The immediate costs of racial conflicts and civil disturbances are police, fire, and medical personnel overtime, injury or death, business and residential property loss, and damage to vehicles and equipment. Long-term recovery may be hindered by a decline in property values, which results in lower tax revenues, scarcity of funds for rebuilding, and increased insurance rates.
First of all, the Department of Justice doesn't get to "define" hate crimes. Congress does that. Does Congress have a definition? Indeed it does. Congress defines a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

The shift that DOJ is trying to make is the shift from "a criminal offense" to "verbal threats of violence" or even speech by government or "other groups" that leaves people believing that they are less safe. That makes it into the article. Carson's statement that he wouldn't support a Muslim candidate for President -- none are running -- is read by our basketball player cum pundit as: "Because of him, Muslims are now a little less safe as they walk home."

Really? Because a black Republican from the South declined to support a Muslim candidate for president who doesn't exist? Well, it doesn't matter. It's enough that they believe that they are.


Ymar Sakar said...

Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. The Left has never forgotten that, they just realized that the violence thing and making bombs, wasn't what they were cut out for. Ask Ayers how that went, for his personal pov.

It's easier these days to import in death and rape squads, since Islam, being the left's supplier in such things, is much better at it than the Left's own death squads, since those squads require union maintenance.

Grim said...

I think the Left's death squads have been more efficient by far, if you want to look at the numbers comprehensively.