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Speaking hatefully is now a crime

Posted by Richard on May 25, 2007

Speaking of slippery slopes, remember when the concept of "hate crimes" first developed? The idea was to add extra punishment to already criminal behavior if it was motivated by hatred of a protected group (generally race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation). I've never liked the idea. If someone beats you up because they don't like your skin color or ability to accessorize, why is that somehow worse than if they beat you up because they don't like skinny people, or people who wear black, or people who don't look at them the right way?

Now, there's an even bigger problem with the concept of "hate crime." It used to require both elements — hate and a crime. But now, the expression of hatred itself has become a crime, and the First Amendment be damned:

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – A pair of 16-year-old girls face hate crime charges after they allegedly handed out anti-gay fliers targeting a classmate at their northern Illinois high school.

The girls were arrested May 11 after handing out fliers in the parking lot of Crystal Lake South High School that depict a male student kissing another boy and contain hateful language about gays.

Officials say the fliers targeted a male classmate, who is also a neighbor of the girls. The two girls had apparently been feuding with the boy.

Earlier today, a judge rejected bond for one of the girls, citing her home environment and already lengthy juvenile record – 13 run-ins with the cops. Instead of home detention, the girl will be held at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center while the case is pending, according to the Daily Herald.

The first girl is a pretty unsympathetic defendant:

Earlier today, a judge rejected bond for one of the girls, citing her home environment and already lengthy juvenile record – 13 run-ins with the cops. Instead of home detention, the girl will be held at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center while the case is pending, according to the Daily Herald.

But, damn! Jailed without bond for using "hateful language"? For handing out fliers?

They warned me that if I voted for Bush, America would become a police state. Looks like they were right.

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