The Law Cannot Keep You Safe from Harm . . . Only You Can Do That

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In light of what happened in Chicago recently, it is important to understand that, for the most part, in spite of what some claim, our crimiinal laws, even when coupled with Hate Crime Legislation, do NOT shield any of us from harm!

How could they possibly do that?

If someone physically attacks you, criminal laws provide for the attacker’s apprehension and punishment and may later provide you some measure of financial compensation for pain and suffering but the attack happened, it is now a fact of your life and there is no Constitutional or even moral way the law could have prevented that. Criminal law is actually less effective than a home security system or some kind of personal security device that notifies emergency services at the push of a button.

Adding “Hate Crime Legislation” to that criminal law does not add another layer of protection for a member of a “protected class” of people. Hate Crime Legislation does, however, add some disincentives for the criminal. If it can be discerned that the crime was created against a member of a “protected class”, solely due to the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, the punishment for the perpetrator is more severe. If on the other hand, the crime was committed because of an animus for that particular individual, even if he or she belongs to a protected class, it is not necessarily a hate crime.

The overall point of this post is to make sure that the reader understands that most criminal laws do not shield you from harm, they simply provide you the satisfaction of seeing that your attacker will be punished and they will possibly provide some financial aid to you, the victim.

If you want to be safe from criminals you really have to do it yourself!

* Obtain and use those home or personal security devices.

* If you are able-bodied enough, invest in some self defense training.

* Obtain a weapon and, most importantly, learn the rules for using it. If you don’t know when and where you can legally defend yourself you might wind up with serious legal problems.

There are plenty of laws ‘on the books’ that protect and/or punish the criminal and, to be fair, plenty of laws that benefit victims, but protecting yourself from a crime is pretty much up to you.

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‘Hate Criminals’ Not Easily Intimidated

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The Daily Political Blog Politics Daily has published an article about hate crimes. The article is filled with data and statistics (taken from the FBI’s 2008 Hate Crimes Report) and these statistics indicate that hate crimes are up!

The idea that a crime committed against an individual may (if the individual is a member of a protected class) carry two different punishments has never made much sense to me. I guess the theory is that giving a person a harsher sentence for striking out against someone because of WHAT they are rather than WHO they are will reduce the number of crimes against members of those “protected” groups. The protected groups by the way are: race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Personally, as I said before in an old post, I feel that hate crime legislation violates the First Amendment (equal protection under the law) and the 14th Amendment (the prohibition against double jeopardy but apparently Legislators are neither reading or paying attention to my posts.

Regardless of how I feel about hate crime legislation its very interesting to note (as they did in the Politics Daily story) that there were 7,783 “bias crimes” committed in 2008, a rise of 2% over 2007.

Because of the stiffer penalties imposed at the Federal and State level for attacking a man because of his race or religion or etc. one would think that this type of crime would be going down. That, of course is a government’s only real option in a situation like this — make new laws and impose stiffer penalties; i.e., ‘pile on those disincentives and you can stop any behavior you want to stop.’ Too bad it doesn’t work.

Hate crimes are as old as the Bible and, when you boil it down, people who commit this type of crime are doing so because of their own insecurity and emotional instability. Laws and rules may have a small impact on a few of these people but they will not come near to solving the problem.

Those Hateful Hate Crimes

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Hate and Go To Jail

A small article in a recent USA Today mentioned that, on the previous day, the State of Maryland added homeless people to their growing list of people who are protected under hate crimes legislation. What this means is, if you commit a crime against a homeless person because they are homeless or a crime against a person because of their race, religious beliefs, national origin, disability gender or sexual orientation you will wind up with extra time in jail or an extra large fine — depending on the nature of the crime. If you commit the same crime against an old, Caucasian blogger like me, however, or against someone’s non-minority mother the punishment would not be that severe.

George Orwell drafted the first hate crimes legislation in his book 1984 when he introduced the “thought police”. That is essentially what hate crimes legislation is all about — what you were thinking when you committed the crime. It’s sad we have degenerated as a society to that point.

Sadder still, we will never get back to the day when all people were protected equally and none were considered special cases — legislation never seems to go away, it is just amended!

If you hate homeless people and go out and assault the first homeless person you see — that’s a hate crime (at least in Maryland). OK, I’ll buy that! Buy why the harsher sentence for the offender? Someone who would do that doesn’t need an extra year in jail or an extra $10,000.00 fine, someone who does that needs psychiatric treatment or perhaps that person needs to be waterboarded until he sees the error of his ways.

Seriously though, a harsher sentence will do little to make that offender change his mind and history has proven that harsher sentences that relate to “crimes of passion” have nearly zero effect on other offenders. When a person commits a crime bred by hatred, their brain is not fully engaged in the process, it all happens in the loins.

In spite of all that, here’s some news you might not have read in your local paper; this is from an article by Nat Hentoff, originally published in Real Clear Politics:

“Why is the press remaining mostly silent about the so-called “hate crimes law” that passed in the House on April 29? The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed in a 249-175 vote (17 Republicans joined with 231 Democrats). These Democrats should have been tested on their knowledge of the First Amendment, equal protection of the laws (14th Amendment), and the prohibition of double jeopardy (no American can be prosecuted twice for the same crime or offense). If they had been, they would have known that this proposal, now headed for a Senate vote, violates all these constitutional provisions.

This bill would make it a federal crime to willfully cause bodily injury (or try to) because of the victim’s actual or perceived “race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability” – as explained on the White House Web site, signaling the president’s approval. A defendant convicted on these grounds would be charged with a “hate crime” in addition to the original crime, and would get extra prison time.”

Hate crimes, in spite of the obvious Constitutional restrictions, will now, you can be 99% sure, become Federal law.

My conclusion is, the only hope for this country is to vote out every member of the Senate and House of Representatives, vote out Barack Obama and start over again. Maybe next time we can get people in these offices that have something inside their heads except greed, power and political correctness.

News Links:

Real Clear Politics: ‘Thought Crimes’ Bill Advances

Iowa Independent: Politifact: King’s statements on hate crimes bill are ‘pants on fire’ lies

Blog Links:

Beetle Blogger: Shepard vs. Shephard — Why Unnecessary Hate Crimes Laws Deny Equal Protection

The Kansas Progress: Special Protection or Special Consideration?

My other homes for my posts are: The Blogger News Network — it’s real news from real people and Opinion Forum A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life.