Actions Speak Hate Crimes and Society Hate crimes also known as Bias crimes are defined as ‘A criminal offense in which the motive is “hatred, bias, or prejudice, base on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of another individual or group of individuals. ” (Criminal Justice Now Online, 2006) The atrocities known as hate crimes or bias crimes are getting all too common within today’s society. Why do people commit such crimes you ask?
Well according to the research studies of Jack McDevitt, Jack Levin, and Susan Bennet there are four causes for these crimes: Thrill-seeking or Sadistic, Reactive or Defensive, Mission or Duty to Act, and Retaliatory. (Siegel, 2008, pp. 245-246) Hate crimes can also rear their ugly heads when the economy is down and there is no quick fix for its rise. Often this happens when a large company pulls out of a neighborhood for whatever reason causing the local workforce to become unemployed putting a tremendous strain on the community when it does not need one.
This is when the competition of what few jobs are still there get fought over causing tension between people within that society. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, pp. 366-367) When hate crimes are committed most of us think that it was against a living thing and that is not always the case. These crimes can and are directed toward houses, places of worship, and even cemeteries. (Siegel, 2008, p. 45) In January 2008, there was a report of a hate crime that involved a Jewish cemetery. The reason for the classification of this being a hate crime was due to the swastika, “Aryan Power” and “White Power” spray painted on some of the grave markers. This act of violence is estimated to cost $100,000. 00 to repair the damage. (Rozek, 2008) This act of hate was done with by those who are cowards in my opinion but I would rather see something that can be replaced or fixed, than a person or persons hurt by a senseless act of violence.
One of the most talked about act of hate is the Texas case of James Byrd, Jr. in 1999 against John William King, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and Shawn Allen Berry all tried separately by the State of Texas for Byrd’s murder. Where on June 7, 1998 Byrd accepted a ride from these three white men and it cost him his life just because he was black. Both King and Brewer were given the death penalty and as for Berry, he was given a life sentence. (Schmalleger, 2007, p. 3) This is a prime example that shows that hate crimes tend to victimize people who are vulnerable, convenient targets, or as a way to tell that person that you are not wanted here, move on. (Siegel, 2008, pp. 245-246) Another form of hate crimes is those that involve the disapproval of the life style of an individual and with this race is hardly the issue. These are known to the law enforcement communities as homophobic homicides. This type of crime is mostly directed toward gays and lesbians but in no way is confined to just gays and lesbians. Schmalleger, 2007, p. 63) Homophobic homicide can also be seen in a predominantly ethnic community when another ethnicity moves in and is not wanted there or when two people from different cultures marry and try to settle down in the ‘wrong community’ according to the unwritten rule of housing guidelines for that area. Laws to protect individuals from hate crimes came into play soon after the Civil War to protect slaves that were freed due to the United States Constitution’s Thirteenth Amendment that Abolished Slavery in 1865. Mount, 2007) The way that the government is dealing with hate crimes is with the Hate Crimes Statistic Act (HCSA) and the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) both help with monitoring and tracking information that help establish guidelines and directives for all involved. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, pp. 404-405) Another way of monitoring hate crimes is keeping tabs on hate groups. Many organizations today are willing to help with this task by publishing their own version of a Uniformed Crime Report.
Example: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Intelligence Project who handles the white supremacist groups nationally and sends a bimonthly report to law enforcement. According to the SPLC there has been a consistence rise in Hate Groups in the United States since 1999. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, pp. 405-407) This is one of many organization that help with this on going up hill battle. Hate crimes have made it into one of the most sacred places for all American people and that is into the ranks of the United States military.
Now as many of us know, the military does not condone the recruitment or retaining of homosexuals among its ranks. However this being true the military does have a policy that was put into place by President Clinton, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy that protects these individuals. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, p. 381) This policy’s protection is all but short lived by these individuals choose to serve in the military and are gays and lesbians.
One case that is was reported on by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was the case of Private First Class Barry Winchell who was beating to death by his fellow soldiers by a baseball bat when sleeping in his rack at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The SLDN also reported that several servicemembers were being harassed and violently attack during this time and that it was not being checked nor corrected by military authorities. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, p. 81) I guess the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy extends all the way up the chain of command in most cases. Yes, all above were committed by adults but there is no age limit when comes to committing hate crimes. It has been documented that even school aged children are committing these types of crimes. Many schools in the United States have implemented the term “Safe Schools” which means that no student shall be subjected to harassment, discrimination, or a hostile learning environment regardless of that student’s life style, race, sex, or sexual orientation. Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, p. 381) These types of crimes have happened right under the noses of the administration staff and have cost the educational system hundreds of thousands of dollars from judgments from local, state, and federal laws violations. One of the most costly in my opinion happened when the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada was ordered to pay $450,000. 00 to one gay student for failing to protect him under the “Safe School” laws.
It was even noted that even the principal told him, “I won’t have you acting like a fag. ” Also two members of the security staff at the school stood by and let this student be punched repeatedly and then tried to talk him out of reporting the incident to authorities. (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, pp. 381-382) One theory that I have chosen to support this paper is the conflict theory, hich is the view that human behavior is shaped by interpersonal conflict and that those who maintain social power will use it to further their own end. (Siegel, 2008, p. 5) The reason for this theory is because I believe that hate crimes are a way for some people to maintain a social power within their community, with friends, just do it for the bragging right, or are just taught that some people are not worth much because of their nationality, color, religious belief, or their sexual orientation.
A psychological trait theory is the only way that I can see why people would commit such acts upon each other. Psychologically people are influenced by what they see, read and hear when it comes to learning about violence, discrimination, and prejudice. (Siegel, 2008, p. 11) Some people have had a negative attitude for anyone who is different than the ‘norm’ for years. But who is to decide what the ‘norm’ is? It is thought that the media is a major influence in the case due to learning ability of certain parts of the brain.
Some of the areas of the brain that are involved are the precuneus, prefrontal, and premotor cortex of the right side of the brain better know as the right hemisphere region. (Siegel, 2008, p. 11) With this information some think that the long-term memory lays in wait and exposes the violent scripts into the short-term memory when needed and it is up to the individual as to what is right and wrong regarding their actions and verbalizations towards others. (Siegel, 2008, p. 11) U. S. Senator Gordon Smith from Oregon stated it the best for me.
Read it and see if he is right or wrong in your eyes. “Hate crimes tear at the very fabric of our nation. These kinds of crimes do more than harm the victims. They terrorize our entire society and send a message of hate and intolerance to millions of Americans. ” (Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris, 2008, p. 384) References Criminal Justice Now Online. (2006, April). Retrieved February 4, 2008, from A Pearson Education Company: http://www. jnowonline. com/cjnowonline9e/glossary/index. html Mount, S. (2007, March 5). The U. S Constitution Online – Thirteenth Amendment. Retrieved February 4, 2008, from The U. S Constitution Online: http://www. usconstitution. net/xconst_Am13. html Robert M. Shusta; Deena R. Levine; Herbert Z. Wong; Aaron T. Olson; Philip R. Harris. (2008). Multicultural Law Enforcement: Strategies for Peacekeeping in a Diverse Society, Fourth Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc. Rozek, D. 2008, January 12). Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved February 4, 2008, from Member of the Sun-Times News Group: http://www. suntimes. com/news/metro/737878,CST-NWS-cemetery12. article Schmalleger, F. (2007). Criminal Justice Today, An Introductory Text for the 21st Century. In F. Schmalleger, Criminal Justice Today, An Introductory Text for the 21st Century (p. 63). Boston: Prentice Hall. Siegel, L. J. (2008). Criminology: The Core, Third Edition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth – Thomson Higher Education.