“Hate Crime” or Domestic Terrorism?

I have become more and more convinced that the whole “hate crime” debate has become so heated as to be ridiculous and meaningless and that, in the end, it’s not necessary to have a distinction of a crime as a “hate crime” because such crimes are already covered under the terrorism statute of the Federal code.

Pushing for “hate crime” legislation means we end up having to have these idiotic discussions about how all crime is based in “hate” and that punishing people for committing a hate crime is somehow tantamount to punishing them for their thoughts which is somehow different than any other case in which people pass judgment on why you commit a crime in order to figure out what you should be charged with. And frankly I’m tired of listening to the whining and the crying and the pissing and the moaning.

The Federal Statute dealing with terrorism says that domestic terrorism is

5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
And what do we know about Adkisson?
He was involved in acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of our criminal codes. He appears to have intended to intimidate a civilian population and hoped to affect the conduct of the government (he wanted to shoot liberal leaders, but since he couldn’t reach them, looked to the voters) and it occurred here.
I say the Feds should charge him as a domestic terrorist and forget about whether this was a “hate crime.”
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38 thoughts on ““Hate Crime” or Domestic Terrorism?

  1. Pingback: From Hate Crimes To Domestic Terrorism : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. What’s wrong with plain old murder?

    Plenty of folks looking at the business end of a needle who committed plain vanilla murder. No need to put hate crime sprinkles and a domestic terrorism cherry on top.

  3. What’s wrong with plain old murder?

    y’know, i’ve plum forgotten. why was that domestic terrorism law passed, anyways?

  4. I’m kinda thinking that UUs oppose execution, Sar. And will probably tell the judge so, pretty emphatically. Not that that’s relevant to B’s question….

  5. I’m kinda thinking that keeping him in prison for life will keep him from doing it again. Although I’m not UU, and don’t want to speak for them.

  6. I’m kinda thinking the UU’s also oppose people bursting into their worship services with a 12 gauge.

    well, they did break his arm for it.

  7. If only you could condition people for tolerance with as deadly precision as you can condition plain old hate. Because I’m really for rehabilitation as a more productive response to crime than death or lifelong jail… but how does one unbrainwash the crazy?

  8. Pingback: SayUncle » We have that already, it’s called motive

  9. > What’s wrong with plain old murder?

    Intent matters. It’s the difference between manslaughter and murder, for instance. So if I kill someone because he pissed me off, that is a very different offense than killing someone to convince “his people” to leave my state or to change their behavior. One is an act of violence targetting an individual; the other is an act of violence targetting hundreds, thousands, or millions of individuals (the size depends on which group I’m trying to subjugate).

  10. The sticky wicket is that you can always group people together, so every victim is a member of some group, so every perp is attacking a member of a group, and by extension, intimidating that group.
    Women are afraid to walk to their cars at night, therefore, every rape and assault on a woman is domestic terrorism.

  11. > so every victim is a member of some group

    But my point was “intent”. The fact that a victim “happens to be” a member of some group is not important. If I kill my sister-in-law (who happens to be black) because she took the last turkey leg, that isn’t a hate crime. If I kill my sister-in-law with the intent of convincing blacks to change their behavior (leave the state, stay away from the polls, defer to whites, whatever), then that is a hate crime. Now if I kill my sister-in-law as an attempt to inspire fear in all people-who-take-the-last-turkey-leg, then we have a quandry (and a lot of uneaten turkey legs).

    > His intent was, clearly, murderous.

    It seems to me that his intent was to destroy, or intimidate into silence, all people who accept gays. I don’t think that his goal was to murder the few individuals that he murdered. Murder was a means to a larger goal, so his intent was not merely murderous.

  12. Then you get into the mind reading business.

    Just because a white guy calls a black guy a nigger during a fight, that doesn’t mean he wants to intimidate all black guys, that means he wants to intimidate that black guy.

    or not. Who knows? That’s why it shouldn’t be encoded into law with extra punishments.

  13. Regardless of the reason, you still murdered your sister in law and should be charged as a murderer. Charging you with one of the superfluous special crimes only serves to make you something bigger than you are: a murderer.

    As for the larger goals of this asshole, good luck proving it in court.

  14. Jesus Christ, Exador. That’s why we have trials. There is a difference between saying to someone, “I hate you because you’re gay” and kicking his ass and saying “This is what happens to fags in our town” while you’re kicking his ass. One is designed to hurt that specific person and one is designed to intimidate a whole group. Is intent always clear?

    No, but that’s why we have investigations and trials.

    I mean, please, if you can’t see that a man who writes a four page manifesto against liberals, who says that, because he can’t shoot liberal leaders, he’s going to take out liberal voters, and who walks into a gathering place of liberals and starts shooting intends to intimidate and frighten and change the behavior of liberals, then you are an idiot.

    I don’t believe you are an idiot, so I can only assume you’re being intentionally thick.

  15. Of course to keep things fair, the State will pay for his defense lawyer and all of the defense costs for this man. Then later we will pay to house, feed, clothe, medicate and rehabilitate this man for the rest of his life.

    It’s very lucky for him that the liberals are willing to turn the other cheek. His so-called extreme Conservative brethren would have a very different solution for him otherwise.

    I do tend to look at the basic human cost of a father, grandfather, uncle, mother, aunt, etc rather than the greater group. While the media and everyone else are debating this issue, several families are coping with unexpected funeral and medical expenses and very personal disruptions in their lives and that’s the bottom line for me.

  16. > Then you get into the mind reading business.

    I was cleaning my gun and it went off, killing my wife. That’s manslaughter or maybe ‘criminally negligent homicide’. Sure, we were arguing at the time, and the neighbors heard me say, “You’re a dead woman!” just before the bang, but if you charge me with first degree murder, that’s just “mind reading”.

  17. there won’t be a trial. look for a competency hearing, court ordered psych evaluation and a plea bargain coming soon to a news outlet near you.

  18. Interesting question. I suspect that if the shooter had been a Muslim, shooting church members because of their liberal, tolerant views, most of the media would already be calling him a “Muslim terrorist” attacking fundamental American values.

  19. The dominant reason “hate crimes” were originally legislated were to get federal investigators involved. The reasoning was two-fold. First hate crime investigations don’t usually fit the same mold as say, a mugging. With a mugging, motive is clear. In a hate crime, often it’s not so clear and traditional investigations can turn up nothing. Bring in federal investigators specifically trained in hate crime investigation and you have a much better chance of solving the crime. The second reason for bringing in federal investigators is that hate is also known for settling in larger clumps. A black guy is murdered in some conservative small town and the local Sheriff conveniently can’t find any evidence to point the finger at the guy everybody already knows did it. You bring in outside investigators and suddenly there’s a mountain of evidence that the local Sheriff “accidentally overlooked.”

    You want to tack on extra punishment to deter people from committing crimes that are more expensive to the taxpayer to have investigated. I’m all for it.

  20. The reason hate crimes were originally legislated was to give you the feeling that your legislators were actually doing something useful.

    Panaceas don’t solve crimes or mete out justice no matter how warm and fuzzy they make you feel.

  21. You guys should go to knoxnews.com, the News Sentinel website, and look at some of the crazy stuff local fundies are saying. One has warned liberals that a Civil War is coming if we liberals don’t shut up.

    Others are suggesting that we should stop talking about the issue only a three days later. Give them another week and they will be praising this idiot as Patriot.

  22. Fundamentalists. And, no, I’m not anti-Christian. But some of these people are saying that the Unitarians deserved it. Local conservative talk show hosts Hallerin HIll and Lee and Terry Frank are saying that the local media shouldn’t have pointed out that this guy had a hatred of liberals.

    Lee Frank has been in a tizzy all week screeching about how evil homosexuality is and just can’t see that such talk is fueling idiots acting overtly in the Culture War. He even called homosexuality the worst health risk to the U.S., actually saying that it was more dangerious than smoking.

    Another poster on knoxnews, calling himself Combatveteran, has said that liberals deserve it and that the military are elites who are sick of libs and will soon shut us up.

    The Franks are angry that there was a local churches had a common prayer with the Unitrians and has mocked the head of the Unitarian Church for calling for tolerance. That was what I was referencing.

  23. Casey, no need to apologize. If I didn’t use Firefox, with its spellcheck, I’d look like an idiot, believe me.

    But I must pause a moment and ask–for real? Terry Frank and her husband are doing that? It’s not that I doubt you. It’s just that, if that’s true, I will never, ever have a moment’s hesitation in criticizing her ever again.

    She and her husband are really getting on the air and taking that loser’s side?

    What a couple of sick fucks.

  24. No, they aren’t overtly taking his side. They say that they are upset and are praying for the victims. They’ve even called the men who fought back heroes.

    But they then turn to saying that the “liberals drew first blood” on this issue by saying the killer did it because of his hatred of liberals and gays. They are also upset that the books in his libarary were referenced.

    Lee then ends up yelling about how evil liberals are and that gays are vile. They are upset that the Unitarians have asked for donations to causes championed by the Church and want to keept he dialog at a crazy person doing the killing.

    It seems to me that they are trying to deny that their type of hate talk has an impact. And Lee’s invective is getting very shrill about gays and the evils of liberalism.

  25. The Bay of Fundy is kinda cool.

    Wait, if liberals point out that one conservative has killed a bunch of them because he hates liberals, that’s “drawing . . . blood,” but saying that liberals are evil and gays are vile isn’t spewing hatred? I’m confused.

  26. You would have to listen to Lee and Terry to get it. They don’t stream their radio show, but they are on an online tv station on Monday nights between 7-8:30est. You can link to the tv show from terryfrank.net.

    Lee is an idiot.

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