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To Live Without Fear Essay

2281 words - 10 pages

Ms. Middleton


To Live Without Fear

There are many influential documents for which the United States of America was founded on; the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the United States Constitution are three well known documents that ensure the rights of the people of the United States. The Pledge of Allegiance states that we are “One Nation” and the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal.” The term “Hate Crime” defined by Public Law #103-322A, a 1994 federal law, defines a hate crime as: “a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of ...view middle of the document...

Multiple related cases are referenced in this article to include the Michael Shepard and James Byrd case. The writer makes examples of cases that occurred in states where hate crime laws were in effect, yet it did not prevent the crime from happening; individuals who are discriminated against will be discriminated against no matter what or how many laws are passed. He goes on to state that “The violent acts that are included in hate crime statues are crimes that are already prosecuted under state criminal codes. Murder is Murder,” and “We all know you can’t kill someone twice or punish him after his death, hate crime laws are, therefore, redundant and unnecessary” ("Hate Crime Laws Are Unnecessary"). Towards the end of the article, the writer shares with the audience that to punish thought would be unconstitutional, this is the argument among many when it comes to hate crime legislation. The issue of unconstitutionality is further argued in another article titled “Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional"). The author argues that seeking harsher punishment for an individual who has committed a hate crime is unconstitutional because it violates the rights of free speech and that the “only way for society to ensure that speech will remain free is allow all speech to remain free.” He also states that “A criminal’s motivation for committing a crime, whether it is prejudice, peer pressure, greed, boredom, or any other reason is irrelevant” and that “Because all crimes are rooted in hatred, it is wrong, illogical, and unconstitutional to punish those that are characterized as “hate crimes” more heavily than others” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional"). The writer of this article also makes the argument that “by imposing enhanced sentences on those convicted of hate crimes, society is arguing that hate crimes are a more serious crime than “ordinary” crimes and that victims of hate crimes suffer more than “regular” victims” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Unconstitutional"). What he fails to comprehend is that it is not the thought that is being punished, people are free to think whatever they please; it is the action taken against another person, based on the thought or belief that is being punished. Furthermore, hate crimes are more serious that regular, committed crimes and the effects of the crime on the victim are more serious; evidence to this effect will be presented later in this paper. The purpose of hate crime legislation is to enforce harsher punishment on those who commit crimes with bias motives, such as targeting a person or property based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Opposing opinions were expressed in “Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Constitutional” ("Penalty Enhancement Laws Are Constitutional"). The writer backs their viewpoint up with cases that have been tried in court and rulings that were made. For example, the...

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