I’ve never been a fan of the “hate crime” law. No matter what, there is a level of “hatred” involved when one is the victim of any crime. Even black-on-black crime has hatred at its core. The criminal hates me because I have something he doesn’t have. Or the criminal hates me because of the way I look, walk, talk or dress. So if the basic laws that cover criminal behavior aren’t strong enough, we should work on them as a society rather than put our energies into something as intangible as a “hate crime” charge.

According to the FBI’s website, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 gives the FBI authority to investigate violent hate crimes, including violence directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

This new federal civil rights law criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury (or attempting to do so with fire, a firearm, or other dangerous weapon) when:

1) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, of any person, or

2) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person, and the crime affected interstate or foreign commerce, or occurred on federal property.

Now I don’t know about you, but a crime committed against someone whether or not the criminal “perceived” anything about them doesn’t lessen the crime. The victim is still a victim and the perpetrator is still the one who committed the crime. When the federal hate crime law was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009, many people still had fresh memories of the deaths of both Matthew Shephard (gay college student) and James Byrd Jr. (dragged to death) on their minds. Shepard’s killers say that his sexuality really didn’t have anything to do with his being murdered, and one of Byrd’s killer is finally getting an execution date after being on death row for 12 years.

One of the reasons I’m writing about the hate crime law is that with the recent “wilding,” “flash mob,” “thuggery,” or just being plain ignorant behavior of some of our young people while downtown, many people over the Internet have been calling for those responsible to be charged with a “hate crime.” So a law that was conceived with black folks in mind as victims is now being advocated to be used against blacks. It does bring some irony to my thought processes.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I am repulsed by the behavior of our young people who rob and create mayhem. But as their victims were white and they are black, it is real easy to “perceive” that the attacks were racial and not just because they (the white people) just happened to be the ones with the iPhones; iPods and iPads? One of the most embarrassing and telling aspects of all this has been the comments either made by black leadership or the parents themselves. 

Rev. Jesse Jackson made a comment recently about the kids getting free breakfast and lunch for nine months and then for three they don’t. Huh?

There are programs to give them free food, and I bet those hoodlums aren’t stealing those expensive electronic devises so that they can put food on the table. He also mentioned the kids needing access to summer jobs, which I must agree. He added that those kids needed transportation, and my mouth dropped. Didn’t those same kids just manage without a hitch to get downtown to create their havoc

Lastly, when the three suspects were arrested and arraigned for the attack on a tourist; Tonia Rush, the mother of Dvonte Sykes, made a comment after her son’s hearing that his bond wouldn’t have been $250,000 had he committed his crime on the south or west sides-the system was making an example of her son. And I must agree with her observation, but with one small caveat.

A lower bond for his crime-had he done it on the South Side or West Side-is probably true. Her attempting to justify his felonious act is the reason he’s in jail today.