I have written about this before in our 2 Paragraphs series but, with the recent increases in many arbitrary assaults upon various people in our country, this issue deserves reinforcement. In that regard, I know that some people will misunderstand my recommendations – and some intentionally so. But having so-called hate crimes on the books is unnecessarily divisive. Think about it: my race, background, gender, etc. is more important than yours, so it is more of a noteworthy or even serious offense to assault me than it is to assault you. No! All assaults and batteries are criminal violations, and should be prosecuted as such, with the facts of the offense presented. And then, if the defendant is convicted, if the offense was committed because of the victim’s race, etc., that fact can and should be brought up as a factor in aggravation at time of sentencing. Then at that time, of course, the judges would also be free and even encouraged to bring up the wantonness of the offense both orally and in imposing their sentence. But otherwise, I repeat, having specific hate crimes on the books is unnecessarily divisive – and this is the last thing we need in today’s world.

So please do not misunderstand: the recent attacks on people because they have roots in Asia, Africa or anywhere else, or for their religion, or caused by homophobia are wrong and rightfully reviled in a civilized society. And they should/must be prosecuted. But we simply cannot rightfully place one person’s status of higher so-called importance than any other. Our great country is founded upon the principle of Equality, with our country’s motto being “E Pluribus Unum,” or “Out of Many, One.” And hate crimes take us away from that goal.

Quote for the week: “I think that the day a justice forgets that each decision comes at a cost to someone, then I think you start losing your humanity.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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