What We Need is More Symbolism

Last night on NBC news they were discussing the mass murder in South Carolina.  The network interviewed some guy (sorry, missed his name) who lamented that -- can you believe it -- South Carolina doesn't even have a hate crime law!

And my response was:  So what?  I imagine that there may be circumstances where a hate crime law somehow might provide for a more appropriate punishment or better deterrence for some sort of crime.  Maybe for ordinary assaults?  But how in the world is it relevant to the punishment of some asshole who just got caught red-handed killing 9 people.  The guy could not possible be more legally f*cked.  What, is there some possibility of confusion that without the hate crime law, someone might think it was OK to kill 9 people?

I get exhausted with this kind of stupid symbolism.  In this case, the call for hate crime laws is not aimed at criminals, but are being used by politicians to signal to certain groups of voters that they "care."  This is the kind of zero-cost, zero-benefit "caring" that politicians specialize in.


  1. aczarnowski:

    Sounds like symbology to me.

  2. mlhouse:

    South Carolina has the death penalty. They will almost certainly seek that as the punishment. So, what more can be sought? Drawing and quartering?

  3. Not Sure:

    Not to worry- I'm sure there's already people working to raise awareness of the problem.

  4. STW:

    The only use of a hate crime law in this instance is so the feds could get involved and Lynch and others could get themselves on the news. Granted the FBI can now impede the investigation too.

  5. vikingvista:

    The "thinking" is that if only there were laws against hate, this crime would not have occurred. Now some legislators will pass hate crime legislation and hold their heads high knowing that with the stoke of a pen, they've prevented future mass murders--or at least mass murders where hate is involved.

  6. J K Brown:

    What, this is yet another example that the murder control laws in this country are inadequate. Maybe double death penalty?

  7. Fred_Z:

    More chilling than that. A hate crime law is a thought crime law.

    Soon using "too much" energy because you do not believe in AGW will be another.

  8. Q46:

    One of the fundamentals of the Rule of Law, equity before the law, has been 'progressived' out the window by the 'liberals'.

    Meanwhile, using a motor vehicle, a deranged man killed three and seriously injured 34 on a city street.

    This does not qualify as a 'hate' crime... presumably he did it out of love.

  9. Billford:

    I agree that there is no need for hate crime laws when a suspect stands accused of murder. People interviewed on news channels are so often idiots.

    But, say somebody is trespassing to hang nooses in trees, or vandalizing a synagogue with swastikas. That should be punished more than a kid who is trespassing to draw a mere picture of a penis. In those circumstances, where the crime is not really trespassing or vandalism, but rather a threat to a whole group of people (bot not a legally actionable threat under most laws), then hate crime laws seem like an ok idea to me. True, it gives prosecutors a lot of discretion, and yes, sometimes interracial crime that is not racially motivated will get swept up into it. Even so, I am in favor of hate crime laws, in theory anyway.

  10. SamWah:

    Look how well Prohibition worked!

  11. vikingvista:

    "Worked"? Don't you mean "working"?

  12. TMallory:

    I would venture that most murders are hate crimes. Most of these laws are not designed for enforcement but for layering of criminal charges by prosecutors. This is why AZ has had a marijuana tax for many years, so they could charge people with drugs and tax evasion.

    Of course now we have everyone wanting more gun laws, but it appeared to me that the people in the church were already unarmed.