I’m lying in bed, trying to get up and walk Lehigh. But it’s raining outside, or rather it’s stopping and starting. I keep believing that if I can justwait a little longer it’ll stop, but maybe that just isn’t so.
Ah the burdens of sloth…
Beyond that, I’ve been seeing some of the reactions to the attack in New Bedford that i posted about yesterday. A number of politicians, including Howard Dean, have weighed in, calling for the passage of federal hate crime legislation. Pontification should always make us uncomfortable and I’ve been thinking about the whole category of “hate crimes”, a phrase that has always had an Orwellian tone to me. I’m not in favor of sentencing that includes enhanced penalties based on the supposed prejudices of the perpetrators. I can understand the initial impulse behind this category of crime when one looks at crimes that are not considered serious: vandalism for example. The reasoning goes if someone paints a swastika on a synagogue, the intent of the act is actually something different than that of someone carving thier name on a park bench, and to punish them equivalently is to miss that point. But the attempt to extend this logic to cases like assault seems wrong to me. If someone’s person is violated, that act is horrific enough regardless of the motivation. What is gained by this kind of sentencing? It certainly doesn’t deter prejudice. Nor does it recognise as criminal a catagory of behavior that was previously overlooked.