Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hate and Terror

I was surprised to read the letter in the Standard Times today complaining about Hate Terrorist groups, and complaining "there ought to be a law" against them. I was even more surprised when I saw it was from an elected law enforcement official, a constable, who really ought to be more familiar with the law of the land and the concept of rights.

First, he seems to forget there are already laws against terrorist actions. In addition to the myriad laws against murder, assault, arson, burglary, vandalism, conspiracy to commit criminal acts, racketeering, etc., there is the patriot act which is currently under review and revision. Being a terrorist, or terrorist group has never been legal, and the laws are on the books to deal with that.

The problem comes in when you lump hate groups in with terrorist groups. Like it or not there is a constitutional right to hate. Remember the first amendment? There is a constitutional right to get together with like minded people and hate as a social group, as long as no laws are broken or advocated to be broken. That is the right of assembly from the same amendment. Just because a group advocates a position that we interpret as hateful doesn't make the group illegal.

The small, sad, ignorant group here called the KKK has a right to be as stupid and hate filled as it wants as long as its actions remain within the law. No additional laws are required if they cross the line and become a terrorist group. We don't need more laws, we just need elected and government officials that understand these laws and wisely use and enforce them.


  1. I would add only that in my opinion we have already gone too far in the direction advocated by Constable Hall with "hate crimes" laws. Some three years ago I received multiple injuries, resulting in many stitches and one fracture which will never heal completely right. The fact he was merely robbing my place of business rather than acting out of personal animosity is of less than no interest to me, the fact he was doing his level best to kill me took up all my attention.

    My injuries are neither lessened nor aggravated by my assailant's motivation, nor should I care to have the court taking on the additional burden of divining a state of mind. Should he ever be caught, I want to see him punished for attempting murder.

  2. At the end of the day, when all is said and done: what is the difference between a "Hate Crime" and George Orwell's 1984 Thought Crime? Is a crime motivated by disinterested greed really less harmful or morally superior to one motivated by emotion?