In the wake of the Orlando shooting and the Dallas police shooting, lawmakers have proposed “feel good” hate crime laws that really change nothing. They do this to get votes and make the public feel like they are doing something. Do you really think a deranged shooter really cares what his crime is called? Obviously if he is shooting dozens of people, he is filled with rage and hate and in all likelihood evil to the bone.
Does adding a label make any difference at all?
As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, I deal with people who have committed violent crimes all the time. To the person who has been shot, does it make a difference what you call the shooter? Do you think the person committing the violent act, even if it is based on race, religion or sexual preference, really gives a damn what you call it.
We already have laws that deal with murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
What we, as a society, need to do is deal with the underlying causes. The lack of mental health funding needs to be addressed. The total lack of any attempt to rehabilitate men and women in prison needs to be addressed. Racial profiling needs to be addressed. People of color really are treated differently by the police and the Courts. We can deny it, but in my thirty years of handling criminal cases, I can tell you, it is absolutely true. Are the police more likely to stop a black man on a pretext? Absolutely yes. Is a black man more likely to be searched? Absolutely yes. What we need is more diversity in law enforcement, in the prosecutor’s office and in the Courts.
If the racial divide is to be bridged in America, there have to be real steps taken to even the playing field. Men and women in prison come out, as convicted felons, with no chance of succeeding. They cannot get a job and many return to crime. How about spending some money training them in prison and providing opportunity for them when they get out? People will do whatever they have to do to survive.
The real answer to reducing crime is to increase education and opportunity. Inequality breeds hatred.
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