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Is this a hate crime?

May 21, 2009

Two men in Miami robbed and assaulted an elderly man in a wheelchair. The video is pretty disgusting. I do wonder why they didn’t steel the motorized wheelchair, though. It’s certainly worth a bit of money.

Meanwhile, the House recently passed HR 1913, an expansion of hate crimes legislation to include crimes against people because of age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Is there a hate crime on that video? If so, did they hate the victim because of his disability, his age, or both? To me, this is an example of why hate crime legislation is superfluous. The perps should be sentenced harshly because their crime was heinous.  But I don’t care if they robbed and beat the man out of hate, or because they thought he was rich. Regardless of their motivation, people who rob and attack others should be punished.

Is hate crime legislation really a mechanism to ensure stiffer sentences for certain crimes? To me, a better solution would be to prove the prosecution’s case better.

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