Scotland gets it right

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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby pelmut » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:49 pm

Stu wrote:The whole notion of a "hate crime" has no rational basis so far as I can tell,

As it now seems to be applied in most cases it is irrational, but there is a situation where the concept is a useful one:  

Suppose someone claims freedom of speech to induce in others a hatred of a minority group (without directly inciting them to do anything about it - which is already illegal in the U.K.); then one of the more stupid followers becomes sufficiently indoctrinated as to commit a crime based on that doctrine.  Should the person who induced the hatred get away with it while the stupid follower takes all the blame?  It would be very difficult to pin anything on them under the previous laws, but the crime of 'hate speech' seems to plug that loophole.

If I were beaten up in the street, whether it was because of the colour of my hair or because I am transgender, I would want the law to take the same action as they would in any other similar case.  The problem until recently has been that the police have taken the attitude that anyone who is visibly trangender (or could be mistaken for transgender because of their clothing or appearance) is just 'asking for it' and deserves anything they get.  By making hate crime recordable separately from an ordinary punch-up, a strong message has been sent to the police that they will no longer be able to dismiss certain types of crime by blaming the victim.  It's not the right way to do it, but it does seem to be having an effect.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby crfriend » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:41 pm

pelmut wrote:By making hate crime recordable separately from an ordinary punch-up, a strong message has been sent to the police that they will no longer be able to dismiss certain types of crime by blaming the victim.  It's not the right way to do it, but it does seem to be having an effect.

I believe you've answered your own question in this regard, and are also noting -- possibly and unfortunately rightly -- that the police are not doing their jobs correctly. Absolutely the punk who delivered the punch-up should get sanctioned for the act, and there's no denying that. We are all responsible for our own actions, and need to be held accountable for them in spite of what more than a few factions of society are telling us.

As far as "hate" (now couched frequently in terms of "radicalisation") speech goes, any reasonably rational, sane, and responsible individual should be able to shrug that off and not be affected by it -- and the ones who are likely suffer from a host of problems that if they don't manifest directly in response to another's opinions will manifest in some other way. Direct incitement is illegal in most jurisdictions already, and if prosecutions are not undertaken that speaks more to the quality (or lack thereof) of law enforcement than anything else. It also speaks the the quality of intellect and civility of the portion of the populace who are susceptible to it.

Do not sacrifice the right to an opinion, to voice that opinion, and to have that opinion either ignored or debated on the altar of Political Correctness. There are already laws on the books that can be used to stop the bad actors. These need to be enforced. What we do not need is an artificial chilling of discourse due to a fear of prosecution simply because one holds an unpopular opinion.

Is it a complex problem? Sure it is. The real world is a messy place and answers are sometimes hard to come by, and all too frequently the "simple answer" is worse than the problem it's supposed to solve.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby moonshadow » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:25 am

crfriend wrote:Direct incitement is illegal in most jurisdictions already, and if prosecutions are not undertaken that speaks more to the quality (or lack thereof) of law enforcement than anything else.


True, but we most remember that police officers are humans too and subject to their own prejudices. In fact, I dare say there isn't a human alive that is completely immune from prejudice. I agree with you and Stu in principle, however in practice I understand the reasoning for "hate crime" legislation. Sometimes you have to up the ante a little to get law enforcement to take certain matters more seriously.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby pelmut » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:12 am

It's the result of the standard politician's thought pattern: 'The law isn't being enforced so let's make another law'.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby crfriend » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:22 am

pelmut wrote:It's the result of the standard politician's thought pattern: 'The law isn't being enforced so let's make another law'.

This, unfortunately, gives rise to the situation where there are too many laws to keep proper track of, overlapping laws, and -- vastly worse -- law that is plainly bad. The reason that the last case is so foul is that it breeds contempt for the law, as does not properly and cogently enforcing existing law.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if it wouldn't make sense to mandate that each and every law is on the books for precisely two years after its passage and then is automatically expunged. If it's necessary, let the politicians re-enact it -- and NO omnibus resolutions: each and every law must be individually re-enacted on a roll-call vote. I think that'd solve a heck of a lot of problems.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby Stu » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:27 pm

pelmut wrote: Suppose someone claims freedom of speech to induce in others a hatred of a minority group (without directly inciting them to do anything about it - which is already illegal in the U.K.); then one of the more stupid followers becomes sufficiently indoctrinated as to commit a crime based on that doctrine.  Should the person who induced the hatred get away with it while the stupid follower takes all the blame?  It would be very difficult to pin anything on them under the previous laws, but the crime of 'hate speech' seems to plug that loophole.


Then the person who commits the act is responsible and not the person who made the original utterance. That's like me saying that I don't trust people who wear green ties because they are evil, and some nutcase hears me and punches the next person he sees wearing a green tie. We are all responsible for what we do - we are not responsible because someone goes beyond what we say and acts upon their own interpretation of it. There is a world of difference between expressing a view, no matter how unpleasant, and actively inciting someone to do something like urging them to punch someone or set fire to their home.

pelmut wrote: The problem until recently has been that the police have taken the attitude that anyone who is visibly trangender (or could be mistaken for transgender because of their clothing or appearance) is just 'asking for it' and deserves anything they get. 
 

I'm not sure that's true. Having been in the police myself, and as far back as the 1970s, I can say that was never my view. Any police officer who held such a view should have been weeded out and dismissed. The public are entitled to equal protection regardless of their dress or gender identity.

pelmut wrote: By making hate crime recordable separately from an ordinary punch-up, a strong message has been sent to the police that they will no longer be able to dismiss certain types of crime by blaming the victim.  It's not the right way to do it, but it does seem to be having an effect.


We should never use the law to "send a message" - and especially not to public servants. If there is a problem with the police, then those who manage the police, and those who train them, should be addressing that problem. The law should be blindfolded and holding the scales of justice, not taking a peak to look at the race, sex or gender identity of the parties concerned and then use that as a basis for a legal determination.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby pelmut » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:52 pm

Stu wrote:
pelmut wrote: Suppose someone claims freedom of speech to induce in others a hatred of a minority group (without directly inciting them to do anything about it - which is already illegal in the U.K.);...


Then the person who commits the act is responsible and not the person who made the original utterance.

That was right according to the Law as it stood - and it created a problem. Certain sections of the U.K. media have been waging a hate campaign against transgender people and certain religious leaders have been subtlely inciting their followers to acts of violence against 'unbelievers' - and both were completely within the Law.  However, I don't think you could consider them innocent when a crowd of women beats up a transgender person because of what they read on a website or a devout (as he sees it) follower explodes a bomb in a crowded venue because of what he was told in a prayer meeting.  The law - or the way it was enforced - was wrong.


Stu wrote:Any police officer who held such a view should have been weeded out and dismissed. The public are entitled to equal protection regardless of their dress or gender identity.

Should is the active word, but time and again it wasn't happening until very recently.  The ethic of your particular force may have been a good one but a lot of forces had a significant number of rotten apples and weren't prepared to do anything about them.

Stu wrote:
pelmut wrote: By making hate crime recordable separately from an ordinary punch-up, a strong message has been sent to the police that they will no longer be able to dismiss certain types of crime by blaming the victim.  It's not the right way to do it, but it does seem to be having an effect.


We should never use the law to "send a message" - and especially not to public servants. If there is a problem with the police, then those who manage the police, and those who train them, should be addressing that problem. The law should be blindfolded and holding the scales of justice, not taking a peak to look at the race, sex or gender identity of the parties concerned and then use that as a basis for a legal determination.

I completely agree, we shouldn't have to do it this way; positive discrimination is still discrimination (against the majority) and should not be enshrined in law.  The problem is that other methods are too slow for the politicians, they want quick and cheerful results to keep them in power - and to hell with the mess it creates after they have gone.
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Re: Scotland gets it right

Postby Pdxfashionpioneer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:21 am

Pelmut
The problem is that other methods are too slow for the politicians


They're also too slow for the people who are being beaten up and killed for simply being themselves.

I suppose hate crime laws do send a message; and it's exactly the message we should all want broadcast loud and clear 24/7, under the law we are all equal and need to be treated as equals by one and all.

Stu, you said that where law enforcement officers don't seem to get that concept, they should be corrected and retrained. They certainly should be. How likely is that to happen when, as occurred in Arizona, the problem starts at the top with a bigoted chief or sheriff such as former sheriff Arpaio?

One of the bedrock principles of the Anglo-American system of law is that all people are created equal under the law. Therefore, when a person assaults another simply because they are of a specified group then in fact, the assailant has violated two principles of Western jurisprudence: 1) we settle differences peacefully, including when necessary, through due process and 2) we are all created equal. Consequently, a criminal act motivated by hatred toward a specified group is really two crimes in one action and therefore should have additional punishment.

Does putting it that way make the logic clearer?

Please also consider that hate crime legislature does not regulate thought or even emotion; you can hate anyone or any group of people you please. Just don't act on that hate or our legal system will come down on you with both feet!

As well it should!
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