30 August 2005


A Jewish family's lawn recently had swastikas and obscenities burned into it, possibly in retaliation for their participation in a neighborhood watch program. The article goes on to say:
...police are investigating the vandalism in the town northeast of Atlanta and are uncertain whether to classify it as a hate crime...
That's just the problem with "hate crimes". Determining intent is hard enough, but the distinguishing mark of a hate crime is in someone's soul. How do you determine if the perpetrators of this crime burned swastikas into this family's yard because they hate Jews, or because they thought that since the family was Jewish, this would be the most effective way to terrorize them? Is one of those really deserving of worse punishment than the other?

Put another way, is it really worse to murder someone for his religion than for his money?

Judge the act, not the thought.

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