December 30, 2012
Subway Pusher Charged With A Hate Crime
A woman who confessed to pushing a man off a subway platform has been charged with a hate crime. Erika Menendez has been quoted claiming to hate Muslims and Hindus. Even though most liberal news outlets are labeling her a "Muslim-hating woman" and others are exploiting the crime as "anti-Muslim bigotry," the victim was, in fact, a Hindu.
I really have no problem with this woman being charged with a hate crime, whether the victim is a Hindu, a Muslim, or any other religion. It is a vile, premeditated act which only deserves the harshest punishment.
But I really don't see how this case is much different from the crime committed by Naeem Davis. Davis also pushed a man in front of a subway train. The gruesome crime was captured in a now infamous photograph. He hasn't been charged with a hate crime.
But there is one major difference between the two cases - Naeem Davis is a devoted Muslim and Erika Menendez isn't. Two identical crimes, two different charges and two different sentences. Erika Menendez is facing more severe penalties for essentially committing the same vicious act.
Again, I have no problem with both these accused murderers facing trial and, if found guilty, facing the most extreme punishment. But I do have a problem with the possibility of one receiving a lighter sentence simply because prosecutors fail to recognize the irrational hatred in both these individuals. That's the problem with "hate crime" charges - they rely on a subjective measure which is sometimes evident but other times not so evident. Any violent act against a stranger, except in self-defense, is a hate crime. It must be because, not knowing the victim, there must first be some biased motivation, whether actual or imagined, by the perpetrator.
The United States current recognizes the following bias criteria for a "hate crime": race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, creed, gender, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, marital status, membership in the armed forces, and membership in civil rights organizations. One might also be able to argue prosperity and financial status.
So, other than self-defense and crimes of passion, pretty much any violent crime is a hate crime. And all should be prosecuted as such.