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Hate crimes are a major problem; they are personalized crimes which have serious psychological and emotional impacts on the victim. Lieberman argues that hate crimes can be described as message crimes, for instance, homosexuals may be attacked by individuals who don’t share the same belief, (81). Larner, on the other hand, argues that hate crimes are morally wrong, and they are a threat to the victim’s life, (74). Hate crime laws are essential in the society; this is because they assist in influencing an individual’s attitude. This paper will discuss both Larner’s and Lieberman arguments’, as well as a personal position.
Larner argues that, “hate alone counts for nothing in the American law however, violence counts for a lot,” (74). Nevertheless, when hate is paired with violence, it sours up issues; hate violence is seen as a serious problem to the society. In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd hate crimes prevention act was signed by president Obama, (Larner 74). This act aims at enabling the justice department to assist in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Needless to say, the presence of civil rights groups, has contributed to the support of hate crimes laws. Larner insists that hate crime laws should be more precise, it is not clear whether thought or speech alone can create legal liability, (78).
Lieberman acknowledges that crimes related to biasness, require a stronger punishment compared to physical crimes, this is because they are more violent, and as a result, they have severe emotional impact on victims. Therefore, the greater the harm, the higher the penalty; Lieberman insists that hate cannot be outlawed, but the presence of laws can assist in influencing the society’s attitude, (82). In addition, hate crime laws are seen as important mechanisms aimed at curbing biased crimes; they are also essential in promoting human rights. The author believes that hate crimes and violence are intended; therefore they are personalized, and may cause severe harm especially in the absence of laws. Lieberman adds that police and civic leaders are aware that, laws have the capability of limiting an individual’s motive for hate crime, (82). Therefore, enforcing strict hate crime laws will automatically reduce the number of hate crimes.
Hate crimes cause emotional and psychological trauma to the victim, therefore they should have enhanced penalties as a result of their harmful nature. However, it is important to verify that there is an actual conspiracy against an individual or community. There is need for hate crime laws, which can empower the courts to investigate, source evidence and give a fair verdict. In addition, in support of Larner, thoughts and speech alone cannot yield to legal liability, therefore hate crime laws need to be enhanced.
Criminal activities which are influenced by prejudice, can cause emotional and physical harm to the victim therefore, such crimes should be prevented. The use of hate crime laws can be effective in reducing hate crime rates; this can be achieved through arresting and issuing penalties to the offenders. Every individual should be protected, despite his racial background, gender or status, such laws can also aid in promoting human rights, through reducing the occurrence of hate crimes. Needless to say, there is need for the government to enhance hate crime laws; this will assist in reducing the rate of hate crimes.
Larner, Jesse. “Hate Crime or Thought Crime.” Dissent Spring Article. 2010. Print.
Lieberman, Michael. “Hate Crime Laws: Punishment to Fit the Crime.” Dissent Summer Article. 2010. Print.