Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes Hate Crimes Many political scientists and researchers to a number of policy arenas in the United States ranging from corporal punishment to the quality of urban life have applied Daniel Elazar’s concept of political cultures. For a vast majority of these policy programs, a considerable correlation has been found to exist between the region examined and its approach to a specific policy. Elazar focused on three primary political cultures: the Moralist political culture (MPC), the Individual political culture (IPC), and the Traditional political culture (TPC). With more widespread media coverage, hate crimes have become more prevalent and more publicized than ever before. The Benjamin Smith shootings and the murder of Matthew Shepard are only two examples of recent crimes, which have been considered hate crimes that have promoted politicians and legislators to address this ever-growing problem and formulate a solution.

This paper will attempt to define and uncover the history behind hate crime and the existing legislation. Furthermore, we will explain our own hypothesis then examine regional difference in the approaches to hate crimes and compare and contrast them to Daniel Elazar’s idea of political cultures. Our own hypothesis is that moralist cultures will have been the first to initiate hate crime policy and be most likely to have such policies followed by individualist, then traditionalist political cultures. Hate Crime: Definition and History Ever since the body of James Byrd was found in pieces on a road in east Texas, the authorities have been struggling to bring charges to reflect the horror of the crime. “Murder seems too pat: Mr.

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Byrd was chained to a truck and dragged for almost three miles”. In Texas, simple murder does not carry the death penalty. But Mr. Byrd was black, apparently murdered by racists, so there is a call for this killing to be labeled a “hate crime”, for which the punishment is death by lethal injection (5). Every day in the United States someone is attacked on the basis of his or her race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation among other things. These attacks often take the form of verbal harassment but some end in violent assault or death.

Recent studies indicate a rise in the number of “bias” or “hate” crimes since 1985 (4). Congress has defined hate crimes as “a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person” (1). Valerie Jenness and Ryken Grattet claim that “hate crime” have become a highly visible social problem that continues to garner national attention and elicit community activism (2). When, however, did the concept of “hate crimes” evolve? It was not until the late 1970’s that lawmakers in the United States began responding to a perceived escalation of racial, ethnic, religious, and other forms of intergroup conflict with a novel legal strategy: the criminalization of hate-motivated intimidation and violence. As a result of this strategy, most state legislatures passed at least one piece of “hate crime” legislation in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s.

Such legislation was justified by the harassment and intimidation, assault, and destruction of property that was found to be particularly dangerous and socially disruptive when motivated by bigotry (3). The first hate crime law was passed in California in 1978, and since then hate crimes statues have taken many forms, including statues prescribing criminal penalties for civil rights violations, specific “ethnic intimidation” and “malicious harassment” statues, and provisions for enhanced penalties. These laws specify provision for race, religion, color, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, creed, marital status, political affiliation, involvement in civil or human rights, and armed services personnel. Additionally, a few states require authorities to collect data on hate, or bias-motivated crimes, mandate the training of law enforcement personnel, prohibit paramilitary training, specify parental liability, and provide for victim compensation. Many states also have statutes that prohibit institutional vandalism and the desecration or defacement of religious objects, the interference with religious worship, cross-burning, the wearing of hoods or masks, the formation of secret societies, and the distribution of publications and advertisements designed to harass selected groups of individuals. This last group of laws dates back as early as the late nineteenth century in response to escalated Ku Klux Klan activity (3).

Who commits hate crime and who are they most likely to be directed toward? As with most crime, less violent hate crimes are committed more often than violent crimes but no matter the level of violence, all hate crimes are thought to negatively impact both the victim and society. Perpetrators of hate crimes are often characterized as young, white, lower-class males who commit the crimes for excitement or because of resentment of a minority group (4). 80% of hate crimes are directed at whites, blacks, Jews, and homosexuals, with offenses against blacks constituting the largest percentage of hate crimes. Not surprisingly, because minority groups are the main victims of hate crimes, they should have a vested interest in the passage of hate crime legislation. Minority groups may push for hate crime legislation simply as a reaction to the threat but they may also use the issue as a means to expand their political agenda (4).

The validity of hate crimes has been questioned. An article in The New Republic claims that “in the 1960’s, federal intervention was necessary in order to redress Southern states’ systematic and calculated indifference to crimes committed against blacks. The federal government had to step in because state courts refused to enforce their own laws and protect the lives and liberty of black citizens” (6). Addressing the Matthew Shepard case, the article felt that no constitutional violations were at issue and that it was simply an exercise in symbolic politics. Hate crime statues have been constitutionally challenged. In 1992 and 1993, the United States Supreme Court decided two cases addressing the constitutionality of statutes directed at bias-motivated intimidation and violence: R.A.V. v.

City of St. Paul and Wisconsin v. Mitchell. These well-known cases have now substantially defined which hate crime statutes are, and which are not, acceptable under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. These cases challenged the notion of free speech. Based on these cases, the American Defamation League has been strongly urging states to adopt penalty-enhancement statues based on the League’s model (7).

Before we examine the individual states approach to hate crimes, it is important to look at the action taken by the federal government in response to this rising concern. The first major act directed specifically at hate crimes was The Hate Crime Statistic Act (28 U.S.C. 534). Enacted in 1990, the HCSA requires the Justice Department to acquire date on crimes which “manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity” from law enforcement agencies across the country and to publish an annual summary of the findings. In the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Congress expanded coverage of the HCSA to require FBI reporting on crimes based on “disability”.

The FBI’s more recent HCSA report, for 1996, documented 8,759 hate crimes reported by 11,355 agencies across the country. The FBI report indicated that about 63 percent of the reported hate crimes were race-based, with 14 percent committed against individuals on the basis of their religion, 11 percent on the basis of ethnicity, and 12 percent on the basis of sexual orientation (7). The Clinton Administration has taken recent action regarding hate crimes as well. On November 10, 1997, the President convened the first-ever White House Conference on Hate Crimes. At the Conference, the President announced significant law enforcement and prevention initiatives to get tough on hate crimes. The Conference examined the positive actions that communities are taking and outline the steps that can be taken to prevent hate crimes. Some of these initiatives included: fighting hate crimes through tough law enforcement, prosecuting hate crimes aimed at our houses of worship, working with communities against hate, and understanding the problem of hate crime.

As President Clinton stated in a radio address to the nation on June 7, 1997: Hate crimes .. leave deep scars not only on the victims, but also on our larger community. They weaken the sense that we are one people with common values and a common future. They tear us apart when we should be moving closer together. They are acts of violence against American itself .. As part of our preparation for the new century, it is time for us to mount and all-out assault on hate crimes, to punish them swiftly and severely, and to do more to prevent them from happening in the first place.

We must begin with a deeper understanding of the problem itself (8). A Comparative Look at State Hate Crime Policy We have examined the federal initiatives regarding hate crimes, but more importantly, how have individual states followed suit? Are there differences between states and if so, do those differences correlate to Daniel Elazar’s concept of political cultures? As Elazar wrote, there are three distinct political cultures present in the United States: the Moralist Political Culture, the Individualist Political Culture, and the Traditionalist Political Culture. To briefly review, the MPC originated in the New England area as immigrants from Scotland, Scandinavian countries, Holland, and British Canada settled the area. With them they brought their Congregational, Presbyterian, and Lutheran faiths. They believe in a marketplace form of government.

Much is dependent upon the good of the commonwealth. Programs are only imitated if the public desires and bureaucracy is generally viewed as positive. Politics are healthy and everyone i …

Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes Fear, anger and frustration. These are three themes that run throughout all hate groups. Most hate groups form during times of economic hardship or social change. Certain groups of people begin to blame another group for the reason of a major social or economical change. After the Civil War, the South suffered from both economic hardship and drastic social change. For centuries, the south had relied on slaves to harvest crops at plantations.

When the slaves were freed, the plantations werent being worked on anymore, causing the owners to loose a lot of money. When this happened, six former Confederate soldiers started a hate group called the Ku Klux Klan. During the post-Civil War era, the Klan was very popular among southern whites. Their ignorance was feeding the fire that blacks were the root of their problem, when in reality the whites ignorance is the root of their own problems. The Klan has since died down and risen numerous times with the start of many social changes such as the womens rights movement (1920s) and the civil rights movement (1960s). Another large and devastating hate group is the neo-Nazis.

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These working-class people blame all immigrants for taking jobs away from the whites. Their ignorance pushes them so far as to violently attack and kill blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Asians, and homosexuals. Hate crimes can happen anytime, anywhere. In a small Texas town of Jasper, Texas, 3 white men are under heavy guard after being accused of a murder of an innocent man. Shawn Berry,23, Lawrence Brewer,31, and John King, 23, allegedly members of the extremist Aryan Brotherhood, dragged a black man to his death behind a pick-up truck, ripping his body to pieces. James Byrd, Jr., a 49 year-old, former vacuum cleaner salesman disabled by an arm injury, was walking home from a party celebrating the wedding of his niece, when he was picked up by the three white men, who offered him a ride.

According to Berry, who informed on his two companions, they drove to an isolated wood, and King was alleged to have said that he was fixing to scare the s**t out of that n****r. James Byrd was beaten and kicked by the three white men. Seemingly unconscious, he was chained by the ankles to a hook on the back of the truck, which then pulled him about two miles along a narrow, winding asphalt road. His belongings, a wallet and keys, were scattered in his wake, along with dentures and parts of his body. The torso was found in a creek. Close by, empty beer cans were scattered on the grass.

James Byrds head, neck and right arm were discovered a mile away. Hate crimes are not always committed against minorities. In Las Vegas, two Anti-Racist Action members were murdered. According to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and from Anti-Racist Action in Columbus, the bodies of Daniel Shersty, 20, and Lin Newborn, 25, were found in the desert 150 yards from each other. The bodies were located in an area of the desert known for a place where Nazis target shoot.

The two men were murdered in execution style slayings. Sometimes these horrible crimes occur within ones own family. On the night of March 5, David and Bryan Freeman decided it was time to act. Time to act on the new beliefs they had learned. Time to prove to their new friends that they were real soldiers of the racial war they were told was coming.

On that Sunday night, hate came to the Freeman house. The boys, ages 15 and 17, ambushed their mother in the downstairs hallway, stabbing and clubbing her until she died. Then they went upstairs and did the same to their dad while he lay in his bed. Their little brother Erik, 11, was asleep when the older brothers entered his room and beat him to death as well. What would make people commit such horrendous crimes such as these? Why dont you ask Mark Thomas, a fascist organizer who operates a ministry for racists in eastern Pennsylvania. It was at this Aryan Nations of Pennsylvania where the Freeman brothers were taught by Mark Thomas that it was O.K. to hate.

The brothers, along with hundreds of others attended a Hitler Youth Festival last April where Mark Thomas taught them weapons skills on a rifle range and other things of the sort. As a self declared reverend, Mark Thomas teaches a twisted religious known as Christian Identity, which says that anyone that disagrees with white supremacy is a traitor and must be destroyed. Mark Thomas is a hatemonger who has encouraged the kind of violence that David and Bryan Freeman displayed. The following is a quote from a recent Thomas document entitled Statement of Purpose: The abortionists are professional murderers of children and will continue to ply their satanic trade until Gods judgment is executed and their lives are taken. The homosexual movement is immensely powerful and will continue to grow and corrupt our children unless its leaders are put to death.

Politicians who seek to disarm White Americans will succeed unless courageous people who understand the meaning of the right to keep and bear arms rise up and begin to shoot them. If nobody is willing to take up arms against tyranny, then there is no purpose to even having a movement. Imagine the Freeman brothers sitting in a circle with other kids, very serious, being taught this stuff. To understand the Freeman murders is to glimpse into the future. There will be more like this. On the good side of things, there ARE ways to fight racism and hate crimes.

The easiest thing to do is to speak out. Let yourself be heard. Dont be afraid to express how you feel. Not speaking out against racism and hate crimes is almost as bad as committing the crime yourself. On July 17, in Brentwood, PA, the KKK tried to hold a rally. A total of 13 Klan members, in full costume, stood on the street corners distributing racist, anti-Semitic literature in an effort to reruit new members.

A few people, mostly teen took the handouts, but a much more common response during the Klans 1-hour stay was what a woman who drove by and responded to their chants of white power with White trash is more like it. Another female motorist yelled, Get out of here. We dont want you. Get a life another man screamed. A woman walking her daughter home from the community swimming pool told them to take their robes off.

Your a bunch of freaks she said as she walked past them. In another incident about 200 anti-Nazi demonstrators gathered outside of the home of Jonas Stelmokas, who was once a member of a Lithuanian police force which helped Nazis kill Jews during World War II. The demonstration marked the 67th anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust. If you want to get involved in the fight against racism and hate crimes you can contact STU (Stand To Unite) or ARA (Anti-Racist Action). Both groups are essentially the same thing with a few minor differences.

STU is an organization whose goal is to stop hatred and ignorance like racism, sexism, homophobia, ect. Wether their actions be in the form of rallies or protests, educating ourselves and others, uniting through social events, or by offering sympathy and support to those affected by hate and hate crimes, their goal remains the same. ARA is about taking direct action against the problems that lie in front of us today and organizing to make a real change for tomorrow. Not changes that have the same problems resurfacing with different people getting the short end of the stick, but solutions in which people make the decisions that effect their lives and help build an anti-authoritarian egalitarian society. Anti-Racist Action is a multi-racial, anti-sexist, pro-gay organization dedicated to fighting oppression in all its forms through direct action. ARA activists have been involved in many struggles across the United States and Canada, ranging from shutting down Ku Klux Klan rallies across the country; to developing civilian patrols, called Copwatch (to fight police brutality); from working to free political prisoners; to defending clinics from anti-choice attacks.

ARA PRINCIPLES OF UNITY 1) Fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, imperialism, and other forms of oppression. 2) No reliance on the cops or the courts. 3) Non-sectarian defense of arrested anti-fascist organizations. 4) Same time, same place direct action against fascist mobilizations. So dont just sit there, do something.

Exercise your freedom of speech and contribute to the struggle against racism and hate crimes in your community. To contact Stand To Unite write to: Stand To Unite PO Box 7382 Doylestown, PA 18901.

Hate crimes

Aaron McKinney, found guilty for the murder of Matthew Shepard,
avoided the death penalty.Shepards lawyer agreed to a deal that
McKinneys lawyer proposed giving Aaron McKinney life imprisonment
Aaron McKinney, a 21 year-old drop out and drug dealer, beat openly
gay college student Matthew Shepard and left him to die on the prairie.

Russel Henderson, the first to be convicted for the murder of Matthew
Shepard, pleaded guilty earlier this year. McKinnery was convicted on
November 6th of this year for murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping
for luring Shepard from a local bar, robbing him of twenty dollars,
lashing him to a fence and cracking his skull with blows from a pistol.
McKinney was sentenced to life in prison without parole and promising
never to appeal his convictions. I would like nothing better than to see
you die, Mr. McKinney, but now is the time to begin the healing
process. Shepards father, Dennis, said in court. Investigators stated that
the main motive was robbery, but because Shepard was gay he was
singled out. McKinneys lawyer argued that McKinney snapped during a
drunken-drug induced rage after a sexual advance by Shepard triggered
memories of a childhood homosexual assault. Information from past
articles on this case have shown that McKinneys lawyer tried to use a
gay-panic defense stating that it was the action of Shepards sexual
advance that triggered his actions and not because of the fact that Shepard
was gay. The gay-panic defense was shot down by District Judge
The father of the murdered stated that this was a hate-crime, pure
and simple, with the added ingredient of robbery. He also asked
Congress to pass a stronger hate-crime law. The statements by Shepards
father shows how hate-crime trials effect the administration of justice
because it shows how there is a greater need for harsher penalties
connected with hate-crimes. It could make the administration think and
ask the question: Should hate-crime offenders have stricter penalties to
face?Questions like this could slow down the trial system making the
expenses of the trial rise. This case could also have a strong effect on our
societies. Cases like this could make people more confident in judicial
system, knowing that people who commit hate-crimes will get harsh
sentences. It could also show the criminals in our societies how harsh the
penalties for a hate-crime can be, maybe persuading them not to commit
these crimes at all. A case like this could also make people more scared
because of the fact that there are these kind of people out there that will
commit these kinds of serious crimes. Homosexuals in our societies can
also look at this case as a step forward, showing that a gay-panic or
homosexual-panic defense will not be an excuse for committing a
There are many insights that I have gained by studying this case. The
first being the gay-panic issue. I have learned that today in many states and
courts will not accept this defense as an excuse for an assault or murder.
Another insight that I have learned is how the prosecutor and the defense can
make deals so the criminal will get a less serious punishment. I have learned
how this case can effect the administration of justice and the people in our
societies in many ways shapes and forms.

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Bibliography:
Shepards killer to go to prison. Times Union 5 Nov. 1999: A3.

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