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Old 04-26-2011, 05:24 AM
Gyrate is online now
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Greater Croydonia
Posts: 23,797
Originally Posted by The Hamster King View Post

I'm walking down the street and a guy pulls a knife on me. In fear for my life, I shoot him and kill him.

I'm hunting in the woods. I see motion in the distance that I think is a deer. I raise my rifle and fire, only to discover to my horror that I've shot another hunter and killed him.

I walk in on my husband as he's molesting his step-daughter ... my daughter. In a fit of rage I pick up a pistol and point it at him. He pleads for his life, but I pull the trigger, shooting him and killing him.

My friends and I disagree with the politics of the mayor of my city. While he's shaking hands at a public gathering I walk up behind him, calmly put a pistol to his head, and shoot him and kill him.

All of these situations should be punished equally?
No, because they're not all the same crime. And mitigating circumstances, where present, are considered in both legal defense and sentencing regardless of whether the person who was killed was of a particular race, creed or sexual orientation.

Adding a few extra years because it was a "hate crime" is a meaningless bolt-on. In fact, it's insulting to victims of non-hate crimes: if killing someone because of their membership in a "protected" group (e.g. they're gay or black) is worse than killing someone because you have a personal grudge against them, doesn't that imply that the person killed due to the grudge potentially deserved it just a teensy bit?

All of this is moot though; the OP says "idea of the day" and the day for the debate on hate crime legislation is long past.