Friday, July 25, 2008

Apparently, No, We Can't All Get Along

Los Angeles, CA

According to a report by the county's human relations commission, hate crimes in L.A. County hit a five year high in 2007. 763 hate crimes, 310 against blacks and 125 against Latinos. Not sure what the other 328 were all about, but I suspect it's women, gays, guys on cell phones in the movie theater. You know, the usual.

Sixteen percent, 120, were gang related, 116 non-gang related were of Latinos against blacks and 26 were blacks against Latinos. 131 were from white supremacists, a group I've never understood. Dude, Aryan does not mean white. Pull your heads out of your asses and get a fucking education.

Now, I'll be honest, I've never quite understood the point of a hate crime category. Yes, I get the whole stamping out racism thing. Yes, continuing to allow certain activities and language during a crime against a particular group helps perpetuate it. I get all that. I see the reasons.

However. What is it that makes a white man killing a black man worse than a white man killing a white man? Murder's murder regardless of the gender, race, sexual orientation, fashion sense, penchant for silly hats, body odor, or any of another thousand things that might define a particular victim.

And, yes, if everything were equal and everyone was on the same footing we wouldn't need it. Maybe I'm just an idealist... Ha! Yeah, that one cracked me up, too.

We don't have to like each other, we just have to not kill each other. Tolerance. For example, I don't like the French (which considering my background is rich in irony, believe me). I think they're stinky. But I'm not going to go shoot a Frenchman just because he's French. Or deny him basic human dignity, or keep him down, or try to stimy his advancement in the world or any other asshat thing a person could do.

Because I believe on one basic commandment, which admittedly, I sometimes have trouble following: Don't Be A Dick.

Seems L.A. has some problems with that one.


Anonymous said...

A large percentage of the hate crimes reported involved "Sock on Mexican" incidents where Pasadena Denver Lane Blood gang members went out looking for lone Mexicans to beat up. The point of the "hate crime thing," is that they are reality. If you ignore them as a category, then you fail to identify the motives, the patterns and the perpetrators. The Sock on Mexican incidents were dealt with very effectively by the Pasadena Police (a great department) once it was understood what they were dealing with (in my opinion as an outside observer). It is not that one crime is "worse" than other. It is that law enforcment and society need to remain aware of what they are dealing with.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Oh, I get what you're saying. And to an extent I agree with you.

These things absolutely must be singled out. People hate each other. That's our reality. Yes, law enforcement and society need to know what they're dealing with. Data is important. Without information we can't go about fixing the problems.

But hate crimes also add special circumstances that can carry greater punishments. So doesn't that in effect create a situation where one crime is "worse" than another?

I think of the drug enforcement laws that punished possession of crack cocaine more severely than possession of just plain old cocaine. The net result was that African Americans were getting stiffer sentences than whites for what was essentially the same crime.

I don't think hate crimes should be dealt with less severely. I think they should be dealt with just as severely. An assault is an assault, regardless of the motive.

Anonymous said...

Hate crimes as organized activity come out of an ideology or belief system -- it can be a complex and formal ideology such as National Socialism in 1935 Germany or a less complex belief system such as that implicated by the night riding of Pasadena Denver Lane Bloods looking specifically for Mexicans to beat senseless as occured at least 69 times. Crimes derived from a belief system that certain others should be targeted for mayhem deserve enhancements. The implications for society of such crimes and such belief systems are worse than the usual mindless violence. The perpetrators who have acted on this belief system need to be ground down and out both as punishment and a deterrent -- especially when they are part of an organized group who engage in these violent activities a as a part of their group culture, be it KKK, Nazi Skinheads or Denver Lane Bloods. Thankfully, this society recognizes the danger of race crimes and has added enhancements for same.

Anonymous said...

And in the end all any of this proves is that homo sapiens are just like their nearest relatives, chimpanzees: Ugly, angry, poo-flinging primates. Have a nice day!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have you on my list for tomorrow but maybe not?