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LETTER: Aren’t all murders actually ‘hate’ crimes

Updated November 25, 2022 - 4:49 pm

Hate crimes

According to an Associated Press story in the Review-Journal, hate crime charges may be filed against the suspect in the killing of give people at a gay nightclub in Colorado. The accused is non-binary who’s preferred pronouns are “they/them” and is identified in court documents as Mx. Aldrich. Victims are reportedly binary and, presumably, therefore the basis for a hate crime charge— non-binary hate of the binary.

Hate crimes exist in at least 48 states, and justice.gov lists seven federal hate crime laws. Hate crime laws have been around since enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before then, most all murders were considered hateful.

The logical rationale for hate crime laws is to diminish gate. Hate crime legislation also enables politicians to proclaim in their campaign advertisements their record as standing “firmly against hate.” Prosecutions for hate crimes might allow presentation of evidence that otherwise might be excluded as irrelevant or prejudicial. Hate crime allegations tacked on to a murder charge could help juries understand that this case is serious— not to be confused with a “love murder.”

Still, there are problems with hate crime laws. Only certain hate qualifies. In Colorado, it may be successfully argued that hate based on non-binary hate of the binary is not the right kind of hate to trigger extra charges. The allegation that RJ reporter Jeff German was murdered for doing his job wouldn’t qualify as hate.

Perhaps Colorado prosecutors could add a different charge. “They/Them” plotting together to kill could justify a conspiracy count. On the other hand — hate or not–any murder is just as tragic and any victim is just as dead.

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