Earlier this week, America was horrified by the story of a young mentally handicapped man being kidnapped, held for 48 hours, and tortured on Facebook Live. During this time, he was forced to drink from a toilet, was burned by cigarettes, and partially scalped. Undoubtedly, this was a horrible act.
The four criminals, two young black women and two young black men, are in custody, and have been charged with hate crimes, among other things. The video obviously shows that this kidnapping and torture was racially and politically charged- at one point, they went so far as to make the young man disavow white people and Donald Trump. Obviously, under the statutes that establish hate crimes, they can at least be charged with that.
However, this got me to thinking. What is a hate crime? Well, under the law, a hate crime is a crime motivated by the hate of the person, for some reason, whether that be race, gender, mental disabilities, or other reasons. But isn’t that punishing someone for thought? Something protected by the Constitution? Yes, it is.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. As a man who has known many mentally handicapped people through his life, I understand better than most the vile, vicious nature of this attack.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that hate crimes, for all intents and purposes, are punishing people for thoughts. The law can only punish people for actions. And, those in favor of Constitutional principles should remember this.
As it stands now, all four kidnappers stand ready to receive 30 years in prison, without the hate crime conviction, which would only be 3 more years. 3.
Right now, the terms for hate crimes is so small, they’re practically nonexistent anyways.
Constitutionally, they shouldn’t exist, and I personally don’t care for them. They don’t even complete the purpose for which they were made (Punishing the thought crime) in my opinion. I can’t really see a reason to keep them.