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June 16, 2009

AG Eric Holder presses for expansion of thought crimes laws

Using recent attacks on George Tiller, the National Holocaust Museum and an Army recruiting station as his justification, U.S. Attorney General has called for tougher penalties for crimes motivated by -------- (I’ll pause as you go back and review the incidents which prompted this call) -------- gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The Associated Press reports:
The attorney general's call for Congress to act came as a civil rights coalition said there has been a surge in white supremacist activity since the election of the first African-American president and the economic downturn.
"Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed brazen acts of violence committed in places that many would have considered unthinkable," Holder told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
He cited separate attacks over a two-week period that killed a young soldier in Little Rock, an abortion provider in Wichita and a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Federal agents and prosecutors already are involved in the local investigations of each attack.
The violence, Holder said, "reminds us of the potential threat posed by violent extremists and the tragedy that ensues when reasoned discourse is replaced by armed confrontation."
"We will not tolerate murder, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism," he said. "So let me be clear. The Justice Department will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights ensured under our Constitution."
Holder said that to stop such violence, Congress should pass an updated version of hate crimes legislation in order to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent attacks based on gender, disability or sexual orientation.
The growing number of hate crimes against Latinos also shows the need for tougher laws, Holder said.
For better or worse, everything Holder mentioned is already covered under existing “hate” crime laws. Perhaps he wants to go for mandatory life imprisonment. Or maybe this is the one situation where the left will support the death penalty.
Regardless, the very notion of “hate” crimes is uncomfortably akin to Orwellian “thought” crimes. To the untrained observer, there is no difference in outcome between “hate” crimes and the more ordinary, garden-variety crimes. To the left, however, what the criminal was thinking at the time he or she committed the crime makes all the difference in the world in determining the sentence.
As if the family of the victim would be consoled by the knowledge that the criminal’s act against their loved one was nothing personal.

6/17 UPDATE: The House passed the bill in April, but, LifeSite News reports, the Senate is trying to smuggle it through as an amendment to a tourism bill.

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