Brian Kotowski: No thought police

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— No thought police

Regarding the June 28 Steamboat Today article “Bias-motivated charge sought”: The gist is that a white perpetrator (who had allegedly been drinking) attacked a Hispanic man, and accompanied the assault with a fusillade of racial epithets.

I find myself bemused at the notion of “bias-motivated crime.” It would have been less egregious if he had punched a white guy? How about if he calls a Caucasian “poor white trash” prior to assaulting him?

Hit someone, go to jail. The law should be unconcerned whether the punch was fueled by racism, larceny or because the perp is a stupid drunk. Behaviors are crimes; thoughts and feelings aren’t. We don’t need thought police. We just need police.

Brian Kotowski

Steamboat Springs

Comments

grundy 3 years, 4 months ago

What's so baffling about this? US criminal code is filled with provisions considering aggravating & mitigating circumstances, which is basically what this boils down to. A defendant's state of mind is a salient aspect of most criminal proceedings. Should we do away with the concepts of premeditation & self-defense, too?

Brian's position strikes me as poorly thought out and extremely over-simplified.

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps Brian was a bit too terse. The reporting and prosecution of "this group" on "that group" crime is hardly even-handed. One group is vilified as committing hate crimes, while another group, if ever prosecuted, is a mere criminal element.

I realize the following link is only anecdotal, but why the delay to alert the general public?

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/21868721/detail.html

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 4 months ago

Mens rea? (criminal intent) has been an adequate test for more than a thousand years now in Anglo-Saxon / American jurisprudence, distinguishing contact intended to cause injury or invasion of privacy from accidents, like bumping into somone. Now in an exreme example, if you bump into someone and he says, "Hey, boy, watch where you're going!" and you hear, "Gay boy, watch....." it could be a criminal charge a comin' with a side order of hate crime.

Only in the past 25 years or so, has the criminal law become politicized to accomplish the grievances of groups who feel marginalized and therefore entitled to extra protection in the eyes of the law. When as a society we started down this path, we followed Communist China, North Korea and Viet Nam in criminalizing thought.

Before this the only thought crime in America was conspiracy, but there was little confusion about a plan ripening into a crime and the extra danger of criminals reinforcing each other's criminal experience and courage. In most jurisdictions, an overt act is required in connection with the conspiracy, just to prove that it wasn't a drunken venting of bravado, for instance. Crimes accompanied with epithets were dealt with in the sentencing phase where a judge had the discretion to impose harsher sentences based on aggravated circumstances. That wasn't good enough for the class of perpetual victimhood. After all, judges can't be expected to do the right thing. Better to have the legislature re-educate their minds to the new cultural sensitivity and eliminate all possibility that those name calling criminals might escape the full force of societal indignation.

I'd like to see some FBI crime statistics on charges for hate crimes and the racial correlation. Even though the vast majority of our prison population is indisputably black or hispanic, I'm willing to bet that when they assault white people they aren't more polite or civil than white criminals assaulting minorities and that statistics will reveal that Americans of European ancestry are disproportionately charged with hate crimes.

Mr. Natural, you're right. Keep on truckin!

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 4 months ago

OMG, a Zap Comix reference. Excellent, MrTaiChi. I bought my brother what was (back then) the complete collection, zero thru seven??. Wonder what they would be worth today.

And speaking of Tai Chi, it has really helped my sister with her Parkinson's.

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cheesehead 3 years, 4 months ago

Tai, While I don't really understand "hate crimes"- after all, a crime is a crime, I do understand the mistrust of judges. Judges often represent the local mentality, which in the past was a mob mentality. Why on earth would there be a need for an anti-lynching law in a country where all men are created equal?

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

If one truly understands the mistrust of judges then why opt to put more elective power in their hands?... They are not trustworthy, no? "Hate crimes" are really THOUGHT crimes. When improper thought is a crime anything is a crime. After all, who says what is "improper"?????

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 4 months ago

Improper? What about impartial? Impartial juries, judges, attorneys and whatnot. That's the ideal, but a complete lack of bias doesn't exist in our universe.

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MrTaiChi 3 years, 4 months ago

@ J_K

Time on my hands and the fact that this thread hasn't caused many responses prompts me to answer your comment above about Tai Chi. The rest of you can stop reading now and go on to something interesting.

A Nationalist Chinese, from what used to be called, "Formosa", was induced to visit the United States in the 1960s and began the Yang Short Form school of Tai Chi. He didn't think that Americans had the resolve to learn nearly a hundred postures and repetitions to learn the traditional Yang form, so 'Professor' Chen Man Ching invented the 37 posture Yang Short Form, now the most popular school of Tai Chi in the world, except China. It takes about a year to learn and about ten minutes to execute. When asked how Tai Chi differed from Yoga, the Professor said that Yoga practitioners were helpless in the face of someone who wanted to take their mat. This comment is consistent with a delusion of Tai Chi practitioners that their balance and reflexes would block any attack and that the attacker would tire himself out picking himself up from repeatedly being tripped and pushed down. Advanced practitioners engage in shadow boxing called "push hands" seeking to block checked blows and to get the opponent off balance. I guess if in China personal combat was charactarized with girlie fighting rather than kung fu, it would be an effective self defense mechanism. My experience lends me to the observation that American brawls follow this pattern: two haymakers, a tackle and ground poundinig.

As far as the medicinal effect of Tai Chi, a lot of the discipline invovles controling breathing and entirely revolves around Taoist concepts of strong and weak forces controling our lives. A corrollary discipline, Chi Gong, invovles static exercises to draw in positive energy from the air and to expell negative energy into the earth through the feet and exhalations. Toaists believe in meridians of energy that run through the body. These form the basis for accupuncture. I'm glad that your sister believes that Tai Chi has helped her, but I can't get my western mind around this eastern faith based system that is older than Christianity. For instance, Taoist science says that everything is made up of these elements, metal, water, wood, fire and maybe a fifth that I've forgotten. Hardly the science that's going to get you to the moon.

I was studying the 'form' when I chose this avatar. Since then I've thought of many more that I would have been comfortable with, but to posters, this is who I am now.

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 4 months ago

TC, It's mostly about maintaining and improving her balance, coordination and flexibility. She's never mentioned any spiritual aspects. Thanks for the info.

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