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Is Death Not Enough?

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Crime: an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law. Hate: an intense or passionate dislike for something or someone. Hate crime: a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice. Law: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties. Hate crime laws: undefined.

Seven of the fifty states in the United States have not increased their hate crime laws to include gender or even sexual orientation; Wyoming being one of these states. The question is often asked should we or should we not have legislation against hate crimes based on gender or sexual preference or even make laws that have a certain punishment for hate crimes? In Wyoming there are laws that state if one is convicted of first-degree murder then they will be sentenced to death; a person who is convicted with assault and battery will have to pay a fine and may spend time is jail. There is no such law in Wyoming that defines hate crimes and what punishment one will get if convicted.

Why should there be? How does one define hate? The dictionary defines it to be a feeling of intense or passionate dislike for someone or something, but how can we as individuals define hatred for another human. Everyone has their own opinion and has the right to, so what some believe to be reason to hate may be the way someone thinks. Under the first amendment, the right to believe and feel the way you wish is protected. No one can take that from you, but making laws that give you extra punishment for doing something against the law because it’s your belief sure sounds to me like the right to believe is gone. A person should be punished for wrongdoing, no matter what, but I don’t feel there is need for extra punishment.

Besides, doesn’t some sort of hate motivate all crime? No one murders or beats another human being for no reason. There is a reason, it may not be that they hate that person or what they do or believe. It could be an innocent victim harmed by the hatred one harbors in their body, hate from a parents abuse. Hate for something that has gone wrong in their past or even self-hate that motivates one to kill or hurt others to make them bigger and more secure. It all has to do with the way a person reacts.

Not only does everyone react differently they interpret and see things different from those around them. How difficult would to be to define a crime that is committed out of hate and would everyone agree? Or would adding hate crime laws make it difficult to convict a person, because everyone interprets the crime differently. Juries and lawmakers have a difficult enough time trying to convict people of wrongdoing and punish them fairly. What would be a fair punishment for hate crimes and to what extend should we carry them out? Everyone sees and interprets things differently, so how can someone be punished for a crime that is seen as hate by one but not by another?
Not even the dictionary can define what a hate crime law is because the definition of a hate crime is vague. How can a jury define what is crime driven by hate? Are all crimes not committed out of hate? What is a fair punishment for one who is convicted of a hate crime? Is the penalty for murder or assault and battery not enough? If the punishment for murder is death, then what would the punishment for murder driven by hate? Death to the killer and his mother?



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