This country has enacted and continues to enact strong laws protecting the gay and lesbian communities, the black community, the religious communities, the Latino communities and every other sort of "minority" community it can think of. The communities that our government is steadfastly ignoring or refusing to protect are the elderly communities and the children communities. If you murder an elderly person or a child, your sentence is vastly less than had you murdered a 30 year old. Sad, but true. Especially in the instance of murdering a child. And most especially if the child was yours.
If I kill an adult white male, I will get far less time than if I kill an adult black male or an adult gay or lesbian IF the prosecutor can plant a seed of doubt in the jurors minds that I might not like black people or gays and/or lesbians. Would they have a difficult time dredging up past statements by me to that effect?
Probably not. I think nearly everyone at some point in their lives have made racial statements or has rolled their eyes at some gay/lesbian comment or media report. I think practically everyone at some point in their lives has uttered a racial joke or a joke about gays/lesbians. I really do. We do it in the privacy of our homes or with our friends/relatives/co-workers and then we forget all about it. Because we weren't doing it to incite violence or to spread hatred.
However, if the prosecutor is worth his/her salt, they should be able to dig up a person or two who heard the statement(s). That's all it would take for my sentence to be doubled.
Now, why is it that as the laws are written, a black person or a gay/lesbian person cannot (or are not) charged with these extra offenses if they kill me? I am reminded of Malaika Tamu Griffin. She has appeared on America's Most Wanted because she was a fugitive for quite some time.
This was a black woman who hated white people and eventually shot and killed her white neighbor in front of witnesses. She then disappeared and was a fugitive from justice for over 5 years. When the police entered her apartment, they found numerous magazines, articles and journal entries written by Griffin pertaining to her intense hatred of white people and the possible eradication of the white race.
They also found scores of weapons, ammunition and other items which obviously pointed to the fact that Ms. Griffin was not a passive believer but fully intended to actively involve herself in this process.
Was she charged under the hate crime laws? No, she was not. She was charged and convicted (once they found her) of simple 1st degree murder, vehicle theft and aggravated robbery. The vehicle theft charge stemmed from the fact that after she (unprovoked) shot and killed an unarmed man in his own driveway, she committed a car jacking in order to secure a getaway vehicle.
With ALL of this abundant evidence including eye witnesses to the crime, it still took the jury over 7 hours to deliver a guilty verdict. Huh? She received life in prison. However, why didn't she receive the extra punishment that a white person would have received had they been in her shoes?
This is not the only case of this type out there. I could pull up case upon case of such hate crimes against unprotected "classes". However, this is perhaps the most famous due to the fact that AMW aired her profile twice before she was caught.
This is my take on the entire situation. If a crime is committed against an elderly person, a child, (in very rare situations) a woman, or on an adult who is severely handicapped, then give them lots of extra time.
But if the crime is against one adult to another, give them equal time. We don't need to send a message to our citizens and the world that in this country the only people we protect are minorities or gays/lesbians or religious people or whatever.
We need to give the message loud and clear that we don't tolerate beatings, lynchings, rapes or murders PERIOD. End of chat!
But that's just me.