Regulating Hateful Speech Won't Stop Hateful Crimes

Glenn Miller's long trail of bigotry and violence is not an argument for censoring speech—or for spying on people who have done nothing more than say ugly things.

Glenn MillerJohnson County, Kansas, SheriffFirst the terrible crime, then the terrible idea. In the wake of the Overland Park shooting spree of April 13, in which a neo-Nazi killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home near Kansas City, the notion is being floated, yet again, that we might be able to stop such crimes if only we were less rigid about the Bill of Rights.

The shooter, who has gone by various names over the years but has usually been known as Glenn Miller, has a long history as a vocal white supremacist and anti-Semite. This background prompted Emily Bazelon to write an essay in Slate headlined "A History of Hate" and subtitled "Could anything have been done to stop Frazier Glenn Miller?" Miller, she notes, posted frequently on Vanguard News Network, a website so drenched in malice toward nonwhites and Jews that it makes Stormfront look like Shalom Sesame. Comparing America's legal tolerance for hateful speech with the more restrictive rules found in many other nations, Bazelon writes: "If you think we have the balance wrong, you have company."

The Slate story stops short of endorsing controls on bigoted speech, but it also stops short of rejecting them. And Bazelon offers no caveats when she invokes the Department of Homeland Security's infamous 2009 report on right-wing extremism, bemoaning the backlash that led the department to renounce the paper and to reduce its staff devoted to the domestic right. Law enforcement, Bazelon writes, "should quit training all their resources on Islamists and start watching people like Miller."

Similar sentiments have surfaced in other venues. "We have recently seen in Kansas the deadly destruction and loss of life that hate speech can fuel in the United States," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said this week. "Not all hate speech leads to physical acts of violence, but all hate speech is a form of violence," the Bergen Record editorialized. And in an April 15 op-ed for The New York Times, historian Kathleen Belew echoed Bazelon's complaints about the DHS paper's fate: "The department shelved the report, removing it from its website. The threat, however, proved real."

Now, it's certainly true that Miller has a long history as a notorious bigot. When I was growing up in North Carolina, he and his organizations—first the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, then the White Patriot Party—were fixtures in the news. He was in one of the cars in the caravan that opened fire on anti-Klan activists, killing five, in the Greensboro Massacre of 1979. As head of the Carolina Knights he sent his troops to intimidate blacks in the area, and after going underground in the mid-'80s he issued a hit list to "Aryan warriors" that awarded different numbers of points for murdering different targets: "Niggers (1), White race traitors (10), Jews (10), Judges (50), Morris Seligman Dees (888)." (Dees is the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.) Miller finally got caught with a cache of weapons that violated so many laws that he could have been imprisoned for decades for them alone, quite apart from the crimes he was plotting to commit with them.

But he wasn't imprisoned for decades. He turned snitch, agreeing to testify that two former comrades had killed customers at a gay-oriented porn shop and taking the stand in a sedition trial of 13 white supremacists. He ended up doing far more to hurt than to help the prosecutors: He probably perjured himself, and when the defense poked holes in his claims the government lost credibility with the jurors. (In each case where he testified, the prosecution lost.) Still, his cooperation got him out of a lot of jail time. He was sentenced to just five years, and he served only three.

Of all the policies that someone might want to second-guess here, the First Amendment shouldn't even enter the top 50. Miller isn't a man with a history of nasty but peaceful speech who suddenly snapped; he's a man with a history of violence who committed yet another violent crime. To return to the question in Bazelon's subtitle—"Could anything have been done to stop Frazier Glenn Miller?"—the answer is: Yes, but it doesn't have anything to do with restricting Americans' speech rights. Miller could have been put away for eons way back in 1987, but instead the government offered him a deal.

And that DHS report that Bazelon and Belew want to rehabilitate? Its biggest problem is that it blurs the boundaries between "extremist" opinions and actual violence—the same error on display when people react to Miller's murders by saying the state should keep an eye on all that hate speech out there. The paper's author, Daryl Johnson, hasn't been consistent about whether he meant to call nonviolent extremism a threat, but usually he says that he did. "Extremism has a much broader definition [than criminal or violent behavior], because it is the phase that precedes terrorism," he wrote in 2012. "Extremism involves ideologies that facilitate individuals and groups toward violence and terrorism." This is the attitude that disturbed civil libertarians when the report was leaked. It is also unhelpful in understanding Miller's crime, since Miller's long history of hateful speech didn't precede his career as a terrorist so much as it accompanied it.

Belew's chief interest in the DHS report is to defend its discussion of veterans. Johnson's paper, she writes,

singled out one factor that has fueled every surge in Ku Klux Klan membership in American history, from the 1860s to the present: war. The return of veterans from combat appears to correlate more closely with Klan membership than any other historical factor. "Military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists carrying out violent attacks," the report warned. The agency was "concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."

Whatever you think of this argument, it's a stretch for Belew to get from there to her conclusion that this "threat...proved real." The DHS was worried that far-right groups would recruit from the troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller was neither a new recruit to the right nor a veteran of America's post-9/11 battles—the war he fought in was Vietnam.

Finally, let's try to put an end to this absurd claim that the security state's police are devoting "all their resources," as Bazelon put it, to Muslims. Fusion centers—intelligence-sharing shops that are run on the state and local levels but get a lot of money from DHS—continue to churn out reports on all manner of alleged threats to the homeland, not just the Islamic ones. Daryl Johnson doesn't work for the Department of Homeland Security anymore, but he still makes a living in the homeland security business, running a consulting company called DT Analytics that contracts with fusion centers and police departments. Meanwhile, undercover cops have run terror stings aimed not just at Muslims but at other Americans, from the far right to the far left.

If those infiltrators didn't catch wind of Glenn Miller's plans while they were playing agent provocateur, it isn't the first time a police apparatus missed a threat. You can give an agency power and resources, but that doesn't mean it's going to use them wisely. Keep that in mind as people propose plans they think could stop such crimes from happening again.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Do politicians count as a protected class under hate speech laws?

  • LarryA||

    Ask yourself how many people with guns they control.

  • Rich||

    "Not all hate speech leads to physical acts of violence, but all hate speech is a form of violence," the Bergen Record editorialized

    in yet another form of violence.

  • craiginmass||

    So, as an example, if a 150 lb fat kid on the football team in Jr High corners an 80 lb nerd against the wall - doesn't hurt him and manhandle him, but taunts him, berates his religion, his parents, his body, his face, his clothes, etc. - for 15 minutes......

    The fatty did nothing wrong and nothing we should worry about, right? After all, he didn't touch the dude....

    If the same dude does it your 70 pound daughter - curses, berates, etc - that's OK too, because speech has to be protected?

    Even free speech should be within a certain norm - as we all know with things like talking about bring certain stuff on a plane or doing stuff to political leaders, etc.

    Why is it do hard to apply the same common sense to other speech? I don't want to shut down a Howard Stern or a Glenn Beck or any other entertainment clowns, but it's fairly easy to tell the difference between highly paid entertainers who use vick vapo-rub to cry for their country and KKK members who are dead serious.

  • Sevo||

    "If the same dude does it your 70 pound daughter -"

    Oh, look! Sleazy lefty asshole proposes hypotheticals to get some sympathy!
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • american socialist||

    Oh look, position paper pushing libertarian shows up and curses again. Not to worry, I find your Tourette's Syndrome hilarious and wouldn't dream of censoring your foul-mouthed loony-bin ravings. They are fucking great.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|4.18.14 @ 10:10AM|#
    "Oh look, position paper pushing libertarian shows up and curses again
    [...]
    They are fucking great."

    Way to go shitpile!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Which worries you more; school bullies or rougue goverments? School bullies have killed, how many? Maybe, stretching the terms to their greatest extent, scores? Rogue governments, all of which abrogated human rights suchas freedom of speech 'for the good of The People', have killed tens of millions.

    Teach you 70 lb.daughter to give as good as she gets.

  • Wat Tyler||

    That works!
    My cousin's 11 year old daughter, weighing maybe 80 pounds, got fed up with some kid two years older who was picking on her, and he ended up with a bloody nose and went away crying. She got suspended from school for a week, he got a shoulder to cry on.
    She said every minute of the suspension was worth it, and would do it again.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    "Even free speech should be within a certain norm"

    You can fuck right off with that.

    In your glorious paradise, who is the arbiter of that norm? Let me guess, it starts with a g, ends with a t and has overnmen in the middle.

  • craiginmass||

    No, it starts with a r and ends with an n

    REASON

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 6:07PM|#
    "No, it starts with a r and ends with an n
    REASON"

    No kidding? Where did this arbitration of speech occur? I must have missed it.
    Now be specific, and since you can't, fuck off.

  • NealAppeal||

    Cornering somebody and not allowing them to leave would likely land a charge of holding somebody against their will. But don't let that ruin your stupid premise.

  • RustyHashbrown||

    "So, as an example, if a 150 lb fat kid on the football team in Jr High corners an 80 lb nerd against the wall - doesn't hurt him and manhandle him, but taunts him, berates his religion, his parents, his body, his face, his clothes, etc. - for 15 minutes......"

    This is a physical cornering, as in the fat kid physically prevents the nerd from walking away during that 15 minutes, whether he manhandles him or not? Is the speech itself preventing the nerd from talking back or walking away? Just trying to picture your scenario.

  • craiginmass||

    It's simply an example. Bullies know that the threat, even silent, of force is as powerful as the force itself.....

    The point is that words do harm. Words have caused revolutions and wars.

    The pen IS mightier than the sword and it cuts both ways. Since we agree that use of the sword should be regulated, it only makes sense that we could agree that something stronger might be looked at....although, I agree, only at the far ends of the spectrum.

    I don't think ignorant speech, such as the cursing here, is anywhere near that realm. But guys like this KKK lover probably cross that line here and there.

    I agree that it's a tough call. If nothing else, those "of reason" here should see that the issue (as with most) is more complex than it seems at first glance. The simple yes/no black/white "logic" of many does not apply to our world...which is more like chess than checkers.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 6:11PM|#
    "It's simply an example."

    No, it's bullshit.

  • Michael Price||

    "It's simply an example."
    Yes and it's your example. Did the bully physically prevent the kid from leaving or not? Did he put him in reasonable fear of violence if he tried to leave?

    "I agree that it's a tough call."
    Not if the bully kept him their by force or threats of force. That's the point.

  • Michael Price||

    "So, as an example, if a 150 lb fat kid on the football team in Jr High corners an 80 lb nerd against the wall"
    Corners means he doesn't let the guy leave, so there's the violence. At least try to make your examples challenging.

  • Acosmist||

    Far better people be killed for no good reason as in Detroit than for being Jewish, as here. Three whole people, huh?

  • SlV||

    2 Christians and a mackeral-snapping Maryist according to the AP.

  • Calidissident||

    And being killed for being Jewish is a good reason?

    /being facetious

  • craiginmass||

    Straw Man.....

    So, what you are saying is that we should worry about the hundreds killed each day by booze and cars, right? And nothing else....because, of course, scale is all that matters, right?

  • Acosmist||

    You don't know what the Straw Man Fallacy is. I was going to be patronizing and say "that's ok", but it's really not - fallacies aren't really difficult to learn.

    Please crack a book.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    But... Massachusetts is #1 in education, productivity and all other measures of value. There's no way your state could have prepared you for rhetoric like the parasite Masshole.

  • craiginmass||

    Please explain why you are so concerned about gang violence in Detroit.....

    Or, are you saying we should not have even allowed 3 deaths to rise to a national story...since people die each day from "man-made" actions?

    Rosa Parks, one person, refused to get to the back of the bus. Millions of others did go to the back. It made a difference.

    People can influence others...both for positive (freedom seeking) results and for negative (ugly, evil, racist, etc.) ways.

    There is a difference. Not to say there is much of one in the center....but at the extreme, there is one.

    If we have stooped to the idea that it's OK to protest with giant banners of the WWII piles of dead concentration camp victims in front of synagogues...then I suggest we have lost some of the true meaning of Freedom of Speech. It's not about who can exaggerate or shock people the most - but simply about being certain that the marketplace of ideas is not closed.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Why not try hate-speech laws in the United States? They've done a wonderful job of preventing neo-Nazism and the like in Europe.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    I see what you did there.

  • Steve G||

    Bazelon writes: "If you think we have the balance wrong, you have company."

    If you get sexually aroused by children, you have company.
    If you think you are entitled to your opinion, you have company
    If you think Slate has too many mental midget writers, you have company.

    Company means shit Emily; change the constitution or STFU

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    You do not want to give the State the authority to punish opinions, because the opinions the State will punish are those critical of the State. That some people fail to take this into account merely means that they believe that they and theirs will always control the State. This makes them either fools or scoundrels.

  • Doctor Whom||

    It's all a matter of electing the right people. That's what the statist bliss ninnies keep telling me.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    And they never seem to grasp that the system must be able to survive the election of the WRONG people.

  • ||

    By 'fools or scoundrels' you mean leftists? They are always campaigning against free speech for exactly the reasons you say. They want to be the only voice heard because they know they lose in honest debate. So their low level mouthpieces are always trying to float the idea of limiting speech.

    Speaking of which, their lead buffoon jumped the gun over the Benghazi incident with his attack on free speech. he was supposed to let Slate do that.

  • Holgar||

    People from both ends of the political spectrum campaign against free speech for the very reason you state: they want to be the only voice heard because they lose in honest debate. What do you think the entire "RINO" flap is about if not to silence those the far right disagrees with?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Which far right are you talking about? The Christian Socons, the Neonazis, or the Libertarians? Lots of leftists like to tar them all with the same brush.

  • craiginmass||

    Well, if it quacks like a duck....

    Maybe it's just a large coincidence, but the headlines and news stories on "reason" seem to line up 90% with those on all the other echo chambers.

    Big Coincidence.

    So, either they are all nearly the same.......or, if they are different, I just flipped a coin and it landed on it's edge!

    It would be one thing is 50% of "reasons" issues were aligned perfectly with the echo chamber and far right in this country...and there should be just as much of a chance that 50% or 40% would line up with "liberal" thought, etc.

    But it doesn't work that way. Check the headlines and links. Check the giant Newsmax (far far far right wing) referals and links.

    Folks with logic and reason would never view a place like newsmax....heck, their current special stories include whether Hey-Zues is coming back, 4 signs of a heart attack, the pastor that cracked the biblical money code, etc.

    Some folks used to joke that Libertarians are republicans who smoke dope. I'm starting to believe it.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Calling a politician names is what the idiot signed up for. If it silences him (or her) he was in the wrong line of work. There is a qualitative difference between calling names and calling for censorship. Not that the Right is blameless where censorship is concerned, but, please, make the distinction.

  • craiginmass||

    You must have been overseas all those years when the rightie Gubment of the USA screamed "you are with us or against us" and got hosts fired from TV and Radio.....

    It was heavy duty, man. We "leftist" stood up to it, while you "righties" were screaming "more war"....

    Yeah, I'm being general - but it's true.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    And you lefties were comparing George Bush to a certain Austrian corporal. Which was beyond absurd and (by way of trivializing the Austrian, mind) borderline obscene.

    Neither the Hawks nor the Doves conducted themselves well. Personally, I think the. Left made bigger fools of themselves, but opinions differ.

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Hey now alot of libertarian and libertarian-leaning folk also compared Bush to Hitler, because before Obama he was the worst president in history. He made Clinton look good.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Worse than Andrew Johnson? Oh, please. I won't bring up Carter, LBJ, or Nixon, because opimions vary, but surely we can agree that Andrew Johnson was worse. I would also argue that James Buchanan was a spectacular fuckup. And you have to go pretty far to do worse than the spectacular Progressive bigot Woodrow Wilson.

  • craiginmass||

    GW was a puppet for the military/industrial/oil/corporate complex - basically the same folks (Kochs, Waltons and many more) who run and support many "libertarian" orgs and causes.

    The ACLU, an example of we "lefties" fought against much of that stuff. I was part of a tiny minority who was against both of those stupid wars as well as the overcorrection in our security state.

    I'm sure a few here saw through it, but most were carried along by the FUD to cheer for a police state, forever wars, tax cuts from deficits, cutting of domestic regulations on the environment, etc.

    many made lots of $$ (flipping houses, mortgages, financial instruments....people with something to lose don't tend to open their mouths and complain.

    And so we had the perfect storm of almost losing this country to complete authoritarianism - and the complete destruction of the US Economy. Much of the suffering continues today.

    The largest % of the blame falls on the right side of the aisle. Try as you might, you can't claim the same thing would have happened without Republican control or near-control of much of the agenda.

    that's not what this thread is about - I was simply answering the assumption that the left are fools. I can assure you most on the far left are very thoughtful. If fact, if you go far enough left you get right back to far right........

    Read this from a very far left group. Doesn't it sound a bit like some of you folks?
    http://c4ss.org/content/10902

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 2:56PM|#
    "GW was a puppet for the military/industrial/oil/corporate complex - basically the same folks (Kochs, Waltons and many more) who run and support many "libertarian" orgs and causes."

    Hey, idjit, tell us about Elvis' alien love child on the grassy knoll!

  • craiginmass||

    Well, being as the Kochs pay for this site and virtually own the Cato In. , etc. - it's worth noting that we are speaking here on a platform paid for by their $$$.

    They don't spend that money for "freedom". They spend it for unlimited resource extraction, lack of accountability, etc.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 6:12PM|#
    "Well, being as the Kochs pay for this site and virtually own the Cato In. , etc. - it's worth noting that we are speaking here on a platform paid for by their $$$."
    No, they don't, but brain-dead lefties love the meme.

    "They don't spend that money for "freedom". They spend it for unlimited resource extraction, lack of accountability, etc."
    Interesting! When did you 'analyze' either of them? What sort of reference do you have to support your analysis?
    Can we presume it's bullshit all the way down?

  • steedamike||

    "the complete destruction of the US Economy" and "The largest % of the blame falls on the right side of the aisle"

    I'm assuming that you are referring to the housing market crash? Here's some further reading - very long:

    http://limitedmodifiedhangout......vised.html

  • Redmanfms||

    You must have been overseas all those years when the rightie Gubment of the USA screamed "you are with us or against us" and got hosts fired from TV and Radio.....

    Which hosts were fired by the "gubment?" Please be specific.

    It was heavy duty, man. We "leftist" stood up to it, while you "righties" were screaming "more war"....

    Do you not know where you are dipshit?

  • craiginmass||

    "Do you not know where you are dipshit?"

    Yeah, a web site which features newsmax on the front page and for all the world looks pretty much like it.

    Does it make any pretense otherwise - other than the name and perhaps wanting pot to be legal?

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 3:24PM|#
    "Yeah, a web site which features newsmax on the front page and for all the world looks pretty much like it."
    Uh, I guess business is pretty much a mystery to lefty assholes like you.
    Reason doesn't "feature" newsmax, Reason gets paid for that ad, much as Reason got paid for the ads for that lying piece of shit Fauxcahantas.

    "Does it make any pretense otherwise - other than the name and perhaps wanting pot to be legal?"
    OK, folks, mask is off. Slimy lefty all the way through.

  • craiginmass||

    Ah, now I see where I am....sorry about that!

    "The Reason Foundation is funded, in part, by what are known as the "Koch Family Foundations,"[3] and David Koch serves as a Reason trustee. [4]"

    One should never offend such people and their ideals of being able to buy publications, corporations, the government or the entire country!

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 3:30PM|#
    "One should never offend such people and their ideals of being able to buy publications, corporations, the government or the entire country!"

    The phrase for this is 'begging the question'; the assertion substitutes for any possible argument to support that assertion.
    There's also a bit of poisoning the well, but either one is sufficient to make a lefty asshole's head spin trying to figger out what the hell dat means!

  • Bill||

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    You "leftists" managed to elect whom as your governor for most of that time?

    Hmmmmmm????

    Surely not the guy responsible for this "It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now."

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    It's important to remember that the passel of self-important twits we call 'the Left' is just one of a long line of self-selected elites. They are morally no different from the Social Darwinists or the Plantation Aristocracy (or the old Feudal Aristocracy, for that matter). And after they are gone from power they will certainly be replaced bybyet another bunch of pillocks who believe that they were put on Earth by Divine Providence to tell the rest of us what to do.

    It isn't a Liberal problem. It's an elitist problem.

  • Wat Tyler||

    The Left is the Plantation Aristocracy. Look up Woodrow Wilson's background - his daddy was a plantation slaveowner, and Woody wanted to become a Presbyterian minister to further the cause of putting down those negroes, but Hegel caught his eye in college, so went into politics. As President, he segregated the Army, and cultivated the KKK vote in the South.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    I'm fairly certain the prosecution will go for the death penalty here.

    How could making this a "hate crime" enhance that?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Which just goes to show that the people calling for hate crime legislation are more interested in punishing those who disagree with them.

  • ||

    Exactly. Their 'hate speech' BS is an oblique attack on free speech in general.

  • Doctor Whom||

    I've heard that question asked, but I've never heard it answered. There's a lot of thinking things through that advocates of hate-crime laws haven't done, since it's all about emotion.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If I thought it was ALL about emotion, I would be a lot happier. Sadly, I'm fairly sure that for too many it is about silencing and punishing those that disagree with The One True Way. Such people are all too godsdamed common.

    Guillotine bait.

  • craiginmass||

    Just about everything we do in this life is about emotion. Does it mean something to state it?

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    No, just about everything you do is about emotion. I know it's impossible for you to understand this but there are plenty of people that rely on logic rather than feeeeeeelings.

  • craiginmass||

    No there are not. It doesn't matter if you state it. Ask leading neuroscientists who have studied it using MRI's and tests. You have some logic and free will around the edges, but much less than you imagine!

    Thinking you know what drives you - is the first mistake...

    I can use reason in the business world, the programming and design end of things and other pursuits. But there are many other levels of our daily existence where we are driven by other means.

    85-90% of Americans were for almost endless war and many cheered for nuking the entire Middle East. Are you suggesting that these people were driven by logic?

    Some of the most logical and reasonable and smartest people in history were hijacked by that Austrian and his bullies. Was that logical thinking? If you would have thought logically you'd have joined in (survival....is that logic or an emotion?)

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 3:10PM|#
    "No there are not. It doesn't matter if you state it. Ask leading neuroscientists who have studied it using MRI's and tests. You have some logic and free will around the edges, but much less than you imagine!"

    Less than lefty idjits imagine.

  • steedamike||

    Further reading on liberal/conservative/libertarian using emotion to reason and other interesting things:

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....singlepage

  • BuSab Agent||

    They should just come clean and admit that what they really want the hate crime enhancer to mean is that they get to desecrate his corpse after the execution.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Dial back the amps on the electric chair.

  • Wat Tyler||

    It tacks on a life in prison sentence if he survives the attempted murder by the State.

  • RishJoMo||

    Jack Frapp Sampi says it aint gonna happen.

    www.GotsDatAnon.tk

  • Edwin||

    I can see a reasonable niche for hate-crime-like laws, but note I said LIKE laws that form a small NICHE in the law.
    There is a serious issue that comes up in places with lots of different groups, and that's geographical exclusionism by violence. In early 20th century NYC, for example, if you weren't black or Jewish or Italian you couldn't go into other groups' areas, you'd get beat up. I remember my mom telling me about the Persians in Iran during Ramadan, if she or other Armenians were walking the street, they'd say "Shoo, hai", that means "leave, Armenian"
    It's a thing that pops up and it's important because just a few attacks can have a chilling effect. So it would be reasonable to make laws to give it stronger punishments to attempt to nip it in the bud

    The problem with hate crime in America, or rather just one problem, is it's so politicized. There have been like a bajillion black-on-white hate crimes that the authorities NEVER prosecute. Pssshhh, Bullshit. If we're gonna have these laws, why do they only get applied to one side?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Crimes should only be committed out of love. Just ask Jeb Bush.

  • craiginmass||

    "why do they only get applied to one side?"

    So there are two sides to America?
    Please explain....

    I've been jumped by blacks and jumped by whites. The whites got a hold of some of us and hurt us. The blacks laughed and didn't chase us when we ran away (as teens).

    Neither were hate crimes.....

    As with most other things, there is a middle ground here somewhere. Just because you have "free speech" does not mean you abuse it or use it for harmful ends. Reasonable people understand that.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If freedom of speech does not protect offensive speech, then there is no freedom of speech. Hate speech laws might be a good idea if it were possible to trust the State. Barring a government run by Angels (if youbelieve in such), it isn't. No government can be trusted with the power to censor, because all governments are subject to the urge to censor criticism of the government.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.17.14 @ 10:42PM|#
    "I've been jumped by blacks and jumped by whites"

    I'm sure you have shitstain. The world laments that one of the 'jumpers' didn't do you in.

  • VoluntaryBeatdown||

    You are a vile sack of shit, you know that? Moderation on something like free speech is terrible. How can you "abuse" free speech?

  • craiginmass||

    Just like you and others do in the above posts. Instead of continuing a dialog, you prove that - as Dad said - when people have nothing better to say, they curse.

    You shouldn't even be on this board. Plenty of fun places where you can use your verbal skills are elsewhere.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 2:58PM|#
    "Just like you and others do in the above posts. Instead of continuing a dialog, you prove that - as Dad said - when people have nothing better to say, they curse."

    And you are just soooo superior, right, shitstain?

  • craiginmass||

    Superior enough to be able to make a point in a debate or discussion. That's well past your level here.

    Stupid is as stupid does. If you become intelligent and logical tomorrow, I'll accept that. But today you are not.

  • Redmanfms||

    As with most other things, there is a middle ground here somewhere. Just because you have "free speech" does not mean you abuse it or use it for harmful ends. Reasonable people understand that.

    This is an interesting (read: stupid) position to take for somebody who not 2 minutes later complains about how (supposedly) the "rightie Gubment of the USA" got TV and radio hosts fired for being opposed to war. I suppose it will be you and your fellow travelers who get to determine what amounts to abuse or harm though, and that makes all the difference, right?

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Gosh, it's really hard to imagine that people wanted to beat you up.

    Not hard to imagine that you ran.

  • craiginmass||

    Just like Reagan from Beirut. I know when I am licked. At 14 y'o, two or three of us were not about to stand up to larger older gangs.

    That's called intelligence and even lowly animals get that one. You've seen too many Hollywood movies. You should ready about WWI instead....to see where charging against odds gets you.

  • Edwin||

    //So there are two sides to America?
    Please explain....

    there are different races or identified protected groups. Though I suppose you actually already understood what I was talking about, and were just being a little smart ass.

    Yeah, there have been many black- on -white crimes motivated solely by hate against white people, but they've never been prosecuted as such. Remember the black panthers in Philly during the 2008 (or was it '12?) election? There are more examples too
    Which is why I'm saying the way our government does it is bullshit. Again, note that my proposal was highly specific and limited. God forbid you should read what people say.

  • craiginmass||

    I agree with the premise of your post - there is some room for niche hate crime legislation. In most cases, it should be applied only when another crime is committed. Even with murder we have degrees, manslaughter, passionate provocation, etc.

    So it's no different to weigh the actions behind either murder, assault or other crimes...which contain a "hate" element.

    With great rights come great responsibilities. Many here seem to think they get one without the other.

    As far as "side", I guess I'm just allergic to the entire concept. When a 1/2 black guy beats up a 1/3 mexican dude, which side is that?

    The roots of violence are quite deep. Legislation like this only nibbles around the edges and perhaps makes us feel slightly more civilized. But it does nothing in regards to the anger - usually misplaced - which is at the root of this.

  • Wat Tyler||

    You could get off with a lighter sentence if you tell the judge that you loved the person you killed.

  • DenverJay||

    singled out one factor that has fueled every surge in Ku Klux Klan membership in American history, from the 1860s to the present: war


    Well, duh, if you go back to the 1860's the Klan membership roles definitely expanded right after all those defeated Confederate soldiers returned home.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    William S. Burroughs is considered high-grade filth to most conservatives and as such his Naked Lunch required a Boston court to approve its publishing in the late 50's. The old obscenity laws that protected the eyes and minds of much of social conservatism gave way to 'liberty-seeking' 60's Leftism and its supposed embrace of the artful foul and no-holds-barred counter-cultural imagery and prose.

    Freedom of expression seemed ready to ride on open pages and screens until some of these 60's Leftists became involved in academics and that's where the pet demon of the Leftist progressive rears its ugly head; hate speech. Where the Socons had their obscenity to censor and control the Progs now have their hate speech to label, condemn, and censor... all in the name of saving hearts, minds, and lives. The Socon has taught the Prog well.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    The problem with NAKED LUNCH isn't that it's obscene. It's that it is pseudo-intellectual tripe with maybe on one-hundredth the importance of an installment of THE SHADOW, much less the novels of Steinbeck or Dos Passos (whether you agreew ith their politics or not).

  • Wat Tyler||

    But it has the word NAKED in it! It MUST be obscene!

  • chmercier||

    Huh. Another proggy excuse to censor free speech? Ding! I wonder what's next on the moral crusade?

    OR: Time to play Prog Reaction! The rules are: you want to ban, outlaw, or stifle something you hate. However, you need to wait until something happens. Example: you want to ban skateboards, because kids, fun outside, the latter especially being bad. Someone dies of brain cancer. Skateboarders don't often wear helmets...head injury equals brain cancer = outlaw skateboarding!

    Or here: racist dude murders three people. Let's ban free speech!

  • Ron||

    If we were to stop all hate speech the government would be pretty busy talking to almost everyone who writes or post on the Huffington Post and Media matters, I've never read an article there where eliminating the opposition ie: killing, silencing or outlawing, is mentioned at least once if not multiple times

  • craiginmass||

    If such laws are passed, I'm 100% for applying it to folks who say to outlaw Ed Shultz. Personally, I'd be the first to put a cork in his mouth....

    However, I think that the discussion is more about stuff which is far away from what the blabbermouths do.

    I've never learned a single thing from any of those paid entertainers on the radio - AM or FM. Howard Stern has taught me much more.

    We should both feel sorry for folks who, instead of reading, listen to that crap....

    But, really - can you point out where they talked about killing people? I haven't heard that.....

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 6:20PM|#
    "If such laws are passed, I'm 100% for applying it to folks who say to outlaw Ed Shultz. Personally, I'd be the first to put a cork in his mouth...."

    Yep, that's where is goes. And you are more than happy to 'direct' it, aren't you, asshole?

  • RedRiot7451||

    There is a degree of hate in all violent crime. I do not get some of the moralizers out there who attempt to draw distinctions between various acts of violence.

    RR

  • bassjoe||

    He ended up doing far more to hurt than to help the prosecutors: He probably perjured himself, and when the defense poked holes in his claims the government lost credibility with the jurors. (In each case where he testified, the prosecution lost.) Still, his cooperation got him out of a lot of jail time.

    I would think requirements for turning snitch and getting a "Get Out of Jail" card is that your testimony actually gets people convicted or, at the very least, is without a doubt TRUTHFUL. Why didn't the prosecutors not go after him for perjury afterward, regardless?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Because they didn't want to admit in court that they had taken the word of that swine?

  • CentristClassicalLiberal||

    Words are intangible and thus cause no physical harm to anyone (unless it's through a bullhorn but that's a separate issue), and general hate crime laws, while not nearly as bad as laws regulating speech, are just a waste of time, money and paper because hate crimes (eg assault, murder, trespassing, vandalism, screaming and/or use of bullhorns in certain areas etc.) were already illegal.

    Unlike many opponents of hate laws I do not believe in socon conspiracy theories nor do I repeat stupid sayings like "all crimes are hate crimes" (no not all crimes are motivated by hate). I believe, that like many supporters of so-called "universal" healthcare, that supporters of hate laws are well-intended, but I also believe in the phrase the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • craiginmass||

    "Physical Harm". Please explain carefully. Here are two scenarios...

    1. A gay person at college is bullied by words, emotions, etc - and commits suicide.

    2. A solider in war sees lots of suffering and death - but he is completely physically unharmed.

    In both cases, would you agree that "harm" has been done?

    Words are often preludes to actions. If I shout Fire at the crowded concert I have hurt no one. However, the reaction to that shouting can cause people to voluntarily act and respond and THEN cause harm to themselves and others.

    So we have to consider that shouting as a prelude to harm - and treat it differently than shouting "I love Mama" in the same place.

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 3:05PM|#
    "Physical Harm". Please explain carefully. Here are two scenarios...
    1. A gay person at college is bullied by words, emotions, etc - and commits suicide.
    2. A solider in war sees lots of suffering and death - but he is completely physically unharmed.
    In both cases, would you agree that "harm" has been done?"

    It's really a shame to have to waste time explaining to brain-dead lefty assholes, but here it is:
    Yes, 'harm' has been done; Far less that the 'harm' done by the alternative.
    I'm sure this is beyond your meager ability to understand, but there it is.
    Oh, and fuck off.

  • craiginmass||

    Well, Well, an admission that perhaps life is more complex than the yes/no logic usually applied by most here.

    Congrats.

    Now we are in total agreement. No one should run out willy-nilly and create Hate Crime laws. However, after careful study of the harms done historically and presently perhaps it's worth at least exploring....

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.18.14 @ 6:16PM|#
    "Now we are in total agreement. No one should run out willy-nilly and create Hate Crime laws. However, after careful study of the harms done historically and presently perhaps it's worth at least exploring...."

    No, we are NOT in agreement.
    You remain a self-righteous lefty asshole who presumes that you or some other TOP MEN are capable of running the world to promote the 'welfare' of mankind, as if you had any inkling of that that might be.
    You and people like you are responsible for the 20th century murder of some 100 million innocent people as a result of your hubris and stupidity. Don't you EVER presume that I am anywhere close to agreeing with those who are only too glad to murder millions to promote their supposed utopia.
    I find you odious in the extreme. I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire; I'd stick a hose down your throat. Fuck off.

  • craiginmass||

    You sound like a sweet person.

    "Reason" able and logical......

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.19.14 @ 8:21PM|#
    "You sound like a sweet person."

    You are a murderous piece of shit.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    So, craiginmass, answer this question:



    I'm fairly certain the prosecution will go for the death penalty here.

    How could making this a "hate crime" enhance that?



    Likewise, let's discuss the Mathew Shepard case where the prosecution began with wanting the death penalty but were in the end stopped by MS's parents who continue to campaign in favor of "hate crime" laws.

    Just what the fuck do Mr and Mrs Shepard want for the guy who killed their son; torture for life?

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    Given conditions at exist in most American prisons, a life sentence is pretty much a sentence to torture for life. But that's a different issue.

  • craiginmass||

    I think many here should watch this and consider whether words are powerful:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh3TeTxgNVo#t=239

  • Sevo||

    craiginmass|4.19.14 @ 8:20PM|#
    "I think many here should watch this and consider whether words are powerful:"

    I think you ought to learn the process called "thinking", asshole.

  • JdL||

    Miller finally got caught with a cache of weapons that violated so many laws that he could have been imprisoned for decades for them alone, quite apart from the crimes he was plotting to commit with them.

    Jesse Walker sniffs with disapproval that the government didn't take the opportunity to lock up Miller for having a "cache of weapons". Apparently Mr. Walker has lost sight of the fact that a disarmed populace is a slave populace.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement