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Friday 7 November 2003

Hate Crime - a Friday musing [brit]

Did anyone see the documentary of the Matthew Sheppard affair last night on TV?
Whilst being a veritable who's who of American TV stars, it was nevertheless a powerful dramatisation of the events and people that conspired to result in the tragic and barbaric murder of Matthew, a 21 year old gay man from Wyoming.
However, I really thought the creators blew it at the end - when one of the lead characters explained that no legislation was yet in place to prevent 'hate crime'.. an Orwellian turn of phrase with equally dark connotations if you follow the argument to it's logical conclusion.
It is my view that any definition of so called 'hate crime' must by virtue of it's existence attempt to define acceptable parameters inside which freedom of thought (though not necessarily expression) may be permitted; deviance from such constraints becomes an offence, and therefore punishable.
Whilst I'm sure we might all agree that even the vocalisation of individual prejudice is incompatible with the notion of an all encompassing 21st century secular society, do we have any right to extend this to a thought, no matter how unpalatable or distressing we might find it?
As a concept which transcends every sociological and demographic divide, I can fully understand why our law makers have shied away from attempting to turn this concept into statute; for indeed, it's only purpose can be to apply a new level of control to an already massively burdened populous; and it appears to be no more than a goosestep from 'thought crime'.


  1. The yanks already have some nasty 'hate crime' laws, which essentially increase the punishment/sentence allowable for certain offences. Of course, this leads to the proseuction attempting to label every crime against a minority a 'hate crime' to make a plea bargain more likely.

  2. Torturing a man to death is a crime which is pretty adequately covered by the current law system. I don't see why it needs to be labelled as anything other than what it already is - a barbaric and unprovoked first degree murder.

  3. May i ask why in fucks name people dont stop trying to protect certain groups in society. It only alienates them further and adds to the bulk o hate. Surely in an open modern world everyone is to be considered equal, which means that if someone kills me bacuase i like to fuck blonds, girls with big feet or becuase i fart in the elevator its just clearly murder.
    On the other subject i must say, i believe in the freedom of speach. To the bitter end. If someone publish a paper containing nothing but nazi and commie propaganda with an added touch of articles on how good is to kill everyone who doesnt look, speak or scratch their ass your way its fine by me. Sure it would probably piss me off no end to see it. But it is what we have to accept.