Today's Argus Leader talks about a "spike" in "hate crimes" in Sioux Falls.
The article points out that it's probably not a spike in "hate," just a change in the reporting apparatus that makes it look like more.
Regarding "hate crimes" themselves, though: have you ever seen a "love crime?" Have you ever seen someone murder, rape, steal, vandalize, bribe, or threaten a person because they loved them? In practically every case, someone commits a crime against another person because they have disdain toward the rights and humanity of the victim.
The very idea of a "hate crime" is silly.
What's even more serious, though, is that with hate crimes, we bring forth an Orwellian "thought police" where we punish people not for what they've done, but for what they think and feel:
In federal court, if a crime can be proven to be motivated by a bias, it could lead to a stiffer prison sentence, said U.S. Attorney Marty Jackley.
Federal judges have discretionary sentencing guidelines, which allow them to add more time to a defendant's prison term if convicted for a hate crime, he said.
"If we have a hate crime motivation, it can be a three level increase," Jackley said. "But we can't use that in a sex offense case."
Do we really want to start punishing people because of their thoughts and emotions? Do we really want to go down that road?
In any crime classified as a "hate crime," would that have been a crime with our without knowing anything about the perpetrator's motive? The motive is irrelevant, other than in investigating the crime and potentially needing it to tie the perpetrator to the crime.
A murder would be illegal whether the perpetrator "loved" or "hated" or was ambivalent about his victim. An assault would still be illegal whether the perpetrator "loved," "hated," or was ambivalent toward his victim.
"Hate crimes" are simply a way for feel-good liberals to try and regulate attitudes and emotions through the criminal justice system. That, and to provide a way to punish people who speak out about an immoral lifestyle, or don't want to associate with others who live an immoral lifestyle.
Is reducing prejudice a good thing? Of course. But when you start implementing criminal punishments for what a person thinks or feels, you've just slid a LONG way down a very treacherous slope.