#12 - Laws and more laws
We are once again reading about how congress and state legislatures need to pass more laws because of some crime occurring. This time it is groups arguing that we need state and national hate laws passed because of the murder of the University of Wyoming student.
The question comes to mind immediately when hearing these arguments is that of "Isn't it already against the law?". The young man murdered in Wyoming was apparently killed for several reasons. The police report that it appears it was a robbery and then a thought of killing him because of his sexual preference second. You read occasionally where law enforcement officials state no one really knows number of racial or hate crimes because it is difficult to define when a murder is racial or hate and just old fashioned murder.
Now why do we need more laws? Passing another law is not going to stop these people. The last I checked what was done in Wyoming is considered to first degree murder (capital crime in most states) and robbery and assault with intent to kill. Given these crimes what additional penalty could be attached to discourage. I do not know if Wyoming is a death penalty state, but I am confident first degree murder gets whatever is their maximum sentence. Passing another law just makes it that much more confusing. Then it is not just they killed intending to kill, but the police have to figure out why they killed. If we have a law that already outlaws it let's not complicate it with another.
If we are going to outlaw hate crimes where do we draw the line or do we list them all? Right now gay vs. non-gay is getting the attention in the US. But also black vs. white gets attention as hate crimes. What about the following? Protestant vs. Catholic, Muslim vs. Christian, Jew vs. Arab, man vs. wife, pro-life vs. pro-choice, PETA vs. animal researchers, Hindu vs. Muslim, Communist vs. John Bircher, pro-war vs. anti-war. Every one of these is occurring somewhere in the world today. We all have hate around us. We all hate various things. Some we view as positive such as hating child abuse, others with amusement such as hating broccoli, and some as scary in terms of many of the above.
We can make things so much easier for law enforcement and the judiciary if we don't try to narrowly define laws so much. The criminal has fewer outs if it is clear in general terms what is wrong. In this case it is clearly wrong in them committing murder, but if the accused were charged with hate crimes, then not only must you prove they murdered but that they hated him for reasons in the law, and maybe it was they did not like way he had his hair combed that night.
Two other areas I have watched us complicate stuff by passing too many laws. First carjacking. Why we need a federal law against this crime still confuses me. As far as I know stealing a car, kidnapping and robbery (taking by force) are all and were against the law. And what is carjacking, but all of them?
Second is the IRS code. It is so large now that no one knows exactly what is and what is not permitted. It is time to no longer amend it, but destroy it and start over so we can all understand it and pay our fair share of taxes without worrying about an audit.
Congratulations to Georgia Southern University for having the the #1 NCAA I-AA football team in the nation for the first time in over 7 years!!!
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