Hate-Crime Laws’ Natural Consequence

What’s up with people who oppose hate crime laws? How can you be against laws that protect people from being targeted because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation or gender identity?

Sing it, sister! How indeed?! And in fact most Americans favor federal hate-crime enhancements.

How about hate speech laws, which protect people from being targeted with hurtful speech because of their race, ethnicity, etc.? 51% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans favor federal hate-speech laws (same source).

And hate speech laws follow logically from hate crime. Hate-crime laws specifically punish the thought underlying less serious crimes. Thought is the parent of speech, and hate-speech laws punish the same thought that hate-crime laws punish, only more directly — by criminalizing the speech reifies such punishable thought.

It all makes perfect sense. How can you be against laws that protect people from being targeted — with deed or with word — because of their nationality, religion, etc.? Of course the government can be trusted to use those statutes to protect people from marginalized groups — the groups that those historically running the government have historically marginalized. Right?

Well, maybe not. Louisiana’s Blue Lives Matter law is being used to prosecute resisting arrest as a hate crime against that historically marginalized group, the police.

Criminal-defense lawyers know that “resisting arrest” is what you get charged with when the police rough you up a little bit.1 There are rarely any witnesses other than the cops, and they have no compunctions about lying in support of each other.

Any suckers want to bet that hate-crime laws in states with “Blue Lives Matter” laws will get more play in enhancing punishment for crimes against non-cops because of their disabilities, sexual orientation, etc. than for crimes against cops?

Of course not. If you give government a tool, it will use that tool to protect its stooges first. Cops had plenty of protection against crimes before “Blue Lives Matter” laws — assaulting a cop was more serious than assaulting a “civilian,” and killing a cop was a capital offense. American law has long made it very clear that cop lives matter more than the lives of the people they are supposed to protect.

And now in States with “Blue Lives Matter” laws the police are officially a “protected class.”

So let’s talk about “hate speech.”

If the police are a protected group for purposes of hate-crime laws, they will be one for purposes of hate-speech laws. And so will every thin-skinned legislator, prosecutor, and President in the Republic. These folks protect each other. And “stirring up hatred” against the police, or the Texas Legislature, or Congress, or the Harris County District Judges, will be a felony.

How can you be against laws that protect people from being targeted because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation or gender identity? Knowing how government will use such laws, how can you not?


  1. If they send you to the hospital, they charge you with aggravated assault on a cop. You’re welcome. 

4 Comments

  1. If you could overcome the other obnoxious properties of hate crime and hate speech laws, you still have the problem of proof. Either you assume guilt for the enhancement, or you have to have evidence.

    The easy solution is to presume that the crime is improperly motivated because the victim is a member of a protected class. This saves a lot of trouble, since the presumption means that the defendant is guilty for purposes of enhancement.

    The other option, evidence, is far worse. The evidence will be your speech. Once I commit the bad act, the state finds that I described victim as “stupid flatfoot” (or insert appropriate ethnic slur). Voila! Hate crime, even if the person was accuratedly described.

    What is the defendant to do, offer evidence that the victim was stupid and a cop or ethnic undesirable? That might work, but the jury still might find that the expression was motivated by animus rather than observation. Thus, guilty for purposes of enhancement.

    Come to think of it, a lot of enhancement statutes might be ill-considered.

    1. Hmmm. “Intent to harm,” in all of the statutes enhancing misdemeanors to felonies because of the intent to defraud or harm, might ultimately be vulnerable. I’ll have to think of the best strategy for getting there.

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