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I have a couple of quibbles with your undestanding of my argument. Which is proabably my fault, so if you will allow me to clarify...

...the point is not to say one crime is "worse" than another. Merely to say that it is not the same, that it has additional concerns and componants that make exsisting laws inadequate.

Second, I am not the one equating hate crimes to acts of war. The groups that help train, plan, support, and provide aid after the fact call them acts of war.

It is NOT my designation.

Thanks for the oppotrunity to clarify.



Actually, I agree with David. While I agree that we often look at motivation in determining the degree of the charge, it is usually ONLY to decide whether the crime was intentional or not, and is done on an individual case basis. Declaring that some crimes are worse than others because there was hate between different GROUPS is outside of the scope of the foundations of our legal system, which assigns rights to individuals, not to members of groups.

If a member of a gang murders a rival, how is that not based on hate? If a straight man murders another straight man in a bar brawl, how is that not hate? Cold blooded murder, regardless of the perpetrator and the victim, is a "hate crime."

I understand the point your making, Teresa, equating these with "acts of war," but to me, those are considerations that should be made in the individual trials of individual criminals. Such considerations, as Terry pointed out, have traditionally been used to decide the severity of punishment, especially in murder cases. Making blanket laws that apply to these acts of hate is unnecessary in that respect.

Jeff Martinhauk

Thanks, Monk, for inviting me to comment. It is an interesting discussion.

If the motivation in pushing for hate crime prosecution is capital punishment,then I don't see how we can, as Christians, go along with that. (I know the reference to capital punishment was later retracted.) Clearly the death penalty does not fit into a Christian framework and, to my mind, has no place in the discussion. We do not put perptrators on trial in order to seek revenge but to bring justice, and taking a life brings no justice to the equation and is Un-Biblical.

What is more important to my mind, though, is Teresa's point. Hate crimes legislation allows the violence perpetuated against minority groups purely on the basis of their minority status to be brougt to light and justice. It highlights the underlying oppression and hate we face as a minority group in hetero-dominant culture. The point is not only justice for the individual incident, but also justice for society as the society comes to terms with its culpability in contributing to the underlying systems of inequality which contribute to such sources of injustice for minorities.

There is a fundamental difference between being attacked as an incident of chance and being sought out as an intentional victim of your ontological makeup. If the law does not differentiate between those two classes of crimes, then why should society care about them either?



You are always welcome here, as are your opinions!




David Richardson

Monk-in-training & Teresa -

Well, it looks like I'm in the minority on this one. Ha! Ha!

I certainly see the point the two of you are making, and I can promise you this: I'll keep an open mind and kick this around some within.

I want to thank both of you for allowing me to discuss this with you. Even though my position is one that the two of you do not agree with, you have been patient and courteous towards me. For that, I say "Thank you, my new friends!" Discussions like these are quite enjoyable and informative, in my opinion.

Again, I'll keep an open mind and really think about what you two have said.



There's two issues here:

1) Does the nature of the crime change the nature of the punishment? Sure. Terrorizing someone before killing them is worse than killing them, killing them and mutilating the body is more shocking than killing them without doing so. Killing someone accidentally calls for leniency, but the life must still be answered for.

2) Does the nature of the crime change the requirements needed for justice to address it? If someone commits a crime, and he has encouragement, a group supplying the motivation, and a means to commit the crime and/or escape punishment, does that change what is necessary to fulfill justice? What if the inteded victims include more people than the one who was killed? What if the witnesses to the crime are protecting the perpetrators? What rules must be followed in getting information for the prosecution? what are the tests for wether it is appropriate to introduce evidence relevant to the crime?

Creating a "special" catagory for crime is an important step to effectivly dealing with it as a society. It does not elevate the victims of that crime to special importance. It merely insures that the specific crimes that affect them are effectivly dealt with.

It might also be used as an aggrivating circumstance to add time to other criminal counts brought as part of the prosecutions.


Nice to see you in this conversation!

My point is the motivation makes the difference in the penalty. Not if it was an accident.

Motivations have always been part of the punishment of a crime, I don't understand why this can't be added.
Especially since violence against we Christians is part of current hate crime law.

If we don't have a hate crime statue for this guy, then why have it protecting us?

David Richardson

Hey, if we're going to talk about killing a man purely by ACCIDENT, this discussion obviously takes a very different turn. That's an entirely different situation.

What we are discussing (at least I thought) is this: One man kills a young person intentionally because he just wants to kill. Another man kills a young person intentionally because the victim is gay. Both killings took place because he wanted them to. In my opinion, the penalty should be the same for both. Regardless of why the killings took place, they're equally wrong.

Now if we want to talk about killing by accident, then I think anyone in their right mind would look for a lighter sentence. That's a no-brainer. Also, it happens quite often.

Using accidental killing as a means for justifying hate crime legislation makes no sense. That's comparing apples and oranges. For centuries, people have understood that.



You mentioned "first degree murder". In fact, that is a crime based on motive.

If I run over my cousin Bubba with my ATV by accident, he is just as dead, but I get charged with vehicular manslaughter.

If I run over my cousin Bubba with my ATV because I hate him, and I WANT to kill him, he is still dead, but the nature of the crime is changed, and the punishment and methodology of prosecution changes.

We have made some motivations crimes for centuries, for some reason right wing Christians fear that, and I don't know why.

David Richardson

This has been an interesting discussion. I've enjoyed it. Gotta run. Peace.


One last comment on this for now,

I can't find the citiation where I thought it said that capital murder was only possible under aggrivating circumstances.

I looked at the law commentary, and it appears that Oklahoma law allows the death penalty for first degree murder.

My mistake. I obviously need to read more carefully.

However, that doesn't change the fact that rules for prosecution are often affected by the charges brought. For instance, the rules of evidence and testimony change, etc.

It isn't just about the is about the nature of the crime and how that crime is addressed within the court.

David Richardson

Hi Teresa -

No, you don't know me. I was just being a kind "Southern Gentleman." Ha! Ha!

At the end of the day, it really does not matter to me what people call certain types of crimes. What does matter to me is this: The laws must fully protect citizens, and must fully punish wrong-doers. I don't care what a criminal's motive is. It makes absolutely no difference at all. All criminals should should pay for what they do...regardless of what you call their type of crime and regardless of why they engage in their type of crime.

I totally respect your right to your opinion.




Hello to you. I don't think I know you at all...if I do I apologize for not being more familiar.

I think my point is that it is a different crime if it is organized, political, and aimed at a whole group of people.

It's simply inaccurate to call it murder. It is a different crime. If you kill someone to advance a political agenda, it is generally called terrorism. If you commit murder as part of an organized criminal effort, it is called racketeering.

If you commit murder of a gay man as part of a criminal effort to advance a political agenda, it's "just murder".

Makes no sense to me.

David Richardson

Hi Teresa -

Nice to hear from you. I hope life is treating you well.

Obviously, I'm not going to defend a prejudiced group like the Aryan Brotherhood. What they stand for is the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ stands for. Just wanted to make sure that was clear.

I suppose, Teresa, I just don't see the need for calling some crimes "hate crimes" and others "crimes." Certainly, I understand the point you're making, and it's a valid one. For me, it just seems that wrong is wrong, regardless of who it is inflicted on. Killing a straight person is just as terrible as killing a homosexual person. In both instances, killing is terrible, wrong, and evil.

Either way, whether we're calling it a "hate crime" or not, killing a man because he is gay, is 100% wrong, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! :)



Ooops, actually, the article linked to in this post doesn't say that. I must have read it somewhere else. Sorry.

I will try to find out where.



In the article it says that he can't be charged with capital murder.

I assumed that meant that capital murder requires some sort of aggrivating circumstance.


I'm confused. Does Oklahoma not have the death penalty? If he is found guilty of murder then put him to death. Or is there another more serious penalty than capital punishment?



So ALL terrorists should be treated under the law as murders, not as terrorists?

After all, is terrorism against gays and blacks and Jews and civil society worth LESS than terrorism against buildings and governments?

The goal of the Aryan Brotherhood is NOT the murder of an individual here or is the terrorization and destructions of whole groups of people and a political concept.

(protection of individual rights of members groups that would be oppressed if not protected)

They call it a war. They call their members "soldiers". They describe these murders as being acts of war.

Calling it murder is inaccurate.

David Richardson

Murder is murder, regardless of whether the victim is gay or not. It's wrong either way. Let's be tough on crime. Very tough!! But let's not start deciding which crimes are more "politically incorrect" than others. Hate crime legislation is a slippery slope that could lead to places most people have not clearly thought about.


This is what I don't understand about the anti-hate-crime-legislation fold.

How can they not look at this crime and see that this is not a murder?

This is something else. This is an offensive in a guerilla war declaired by a collection of politically active people organized under a unifying ideology.

It's an act of war against civilization, a crime against humanity, and an act of terrorism against a group of people.

AND a murder of another human being.

Punishing the murder alone is not sufficient to cover the other aspects of the crime.


Bravo for this post!

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