Thought and Crime - Michael D. Peabody
NOTE:  This story has been updated.  Read the update.

Published in Liberty Magazine – March / April 2008

On July 1, 2007, Satendar Singh, a 26-year-old Sikh American was attacked by a group of six men while enjoying an early Independence Day picnic with friends at a park in Folsom, California. According to news reports, the attackers noticed that Singh was dancing with both men and women and did not appear to have a female date. The attackers began hurling racist and anti-gay invectives.

When Singh and his group attempted to leave, the attackers blocked Singh's path and one of them struck Singh in the head. Singh fell to the ground unconscious, his head bleeding profusely. On July 5 his life support was removed. Two men with alleged ties to an extremist "Christian" group are standing trial, and some believe that they were spurred on to an act of violence by the rhetoric of the group.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines a "hate crime" as "an offense motivated by hatred against a victim based on his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, handicap, ethnicity, or national origin." The definition may be simple, but it is difficult to determine whether the evidence of hatred is actually related to the crime or is instead a protected form of expression.

Read the full article at http://www.libertymagazine.org/article/view/710

 
 

12 Comments

  1. MacGyver says:

    It would really be scary to be punished for your thoughts, especially if the thought is only in fleeting. Actions speak louder than words or thoughts. People should be able to think what they want to as long as they don't act on it in a way that can hurt people.

  2. MacGyver says:

    It would really be scary to be punished for your thoughts, especially if the thought is only in fleeting. Actions speak louder than words or thoughts. People should be able to think what they want to as long as they don't act on it in a way that can hurt people.

  3. Steve says:

    Having certain thoughts might not be criminalized in the U.S., but you can still have consequences if you have certain beliefs. For example, if you were a known white supremecist, you're going to have a hard time getting hired by many people. Also, scientists that don't, for example, believe in global warming are unduly ostracized by their peers.

  4. Steve says:

    Having certain thoughts might not be criminalized in the U.S., but you can still have consequences if you have certain beliefs. For example, if you were a known white supremecist, you're going to have a hard time getting hired by many people. Also, scientists that don't, for example, believe in global warming are unduly ostracized by their peers.

  5. Stephanie says:

    It's too bad that people hide behind their beliefs in order to do other people harm. We are all human beings and all deserve to live and live peacefully. It is never right to hurt another human being. All wrongs will have consequences at the end.

  6. Stephanie says:

    It's too bad that people hide behind their beliefs in order to do other people harm. We are all human beings and all deserve to live and live peacefully. It is never right to hurt another human being. All wrongs will have consequences at the end.

  7. D.Shankar says:

    this is a really cruel act.Any person has the right to follow any religion/select his friend for company.After all human life is short, we never know how short it is, so let us live a full life without any restrictions.

  8. D.Shankar says:

    this is a really cruel act.Any person has the right to follow any religion/select his friend for company.After all human life is short, we never know how short it is, so let us live a full life without any restrictions.

  9. Angela says:

    This is a tough issue. It instinctively "feels" wrong that someone should get an extra punishment for what they were thinking when they committed a crime — should they get a lesser sentence if they were just jerks attacking someone at random with the same results? I would hope not. I can see the logic behind the concept of "hate crimes", but in practice something just seems off about it.

  10. Angela says:

    This is a tough issue. It instinctively "feels" wrong that someone should get an extra punishment for what they were thinking when they committed a crime — should they get a lesser sentence if they were just jerks attacking someone at random with the same results? I would hope not. I can see the logic behind the concept of "hate crimes", but in practice something just seems off about it.

  11. Sylvia says:

    How can someone who murders another human being because they dance with men and women call themselves Christian? Talk about giving Christianity a very bad name. WWJD? Would Jesus be okay with that? Come on!

  12. Sylvia says:

    How can someone who murders another human being because they dance with men and women call themselves Christian? Talk about giving Christianity a very bad name. WWJD? Would Jesus be okay with that? Come on!

 
 
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