Over on the Expresso blog, Rishawn Biddle asks this question regarding the current hate crimes legislation in the house.
3.) Can the supporters of the hate crimes penalities proposed in House Bill 1459 muster up evidence that gays are being murdered or assaulted at any higher rate than the rest of the population? More importantly, doesn’t the laws currently on the books against murder, assault and the like already assure that those committting hate crimes will spend time in prison anyway?
I attempted to reply there, but their comments don’t seem to be working, so let me cover it a bit here:
#3 – that isn’t the standard for whether a hate crimes law should go on the books. Of course, the answer is that we can show that gay people are being murdered and assaulted; whether the rate is higher isn’t relevant, the fact that it’s happening is.
As for the assertion that “current laws cover it” – check out this relevant passage from Chris Douglas’s “Hate Crime Legislation: A Respectful Response to Common Assertions” that I have posted here on my site…
Under Indiana law, crimes are treated differently according to their victim, their impact, and their intent. Indiana law already provides for enhanced penalties when the victim of battery is deemed to be among society’s vulnerable (under the age of 12, over the age of 65, or mentally or physically infirm) or when the battery is deemed especially injurious to public peace (battery on a police or corrections officer.)
Definitely click the link to Chris’ article – it’s very enlightening on this subject, and I’m glad to have it on my site.