Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. In a recent article in the Commercial Appeal WWW.commercial-appeal.com/news/local-news/crime/actor-James-woods actor James Woods called for Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Kroger incident as a hate crime, because a group of black teens assaulted a white male on video. His tweets have been re-tweeted more than 4,500 times. The problem is that you cannot legislate hate; I agree the teens should be punished in accordance with the law, but to want the laws to change to say this was a hate crime is ridiculous. In the past, we have seen the Stand Your Ground law put a black male under the ground by a white male and called justified not hate. We have seen a white police officer shoot and kill a black male with his hands up and given the excuse of Due Process and not a process of hate. If Amy Weirich folds to political pressure and charges these teens with a hate crime then where would the law stop and start?
This would mean school yard fights between different cultures could go further beyond the principal’s office and into our already crowded criminal court rooms. We always want to send a strong message to criminal offenders, but for James Woods, to want to charge teens for a hate crime when one of the victims was black is egregious. The person recording the video only recorded the white male getting assaulted, can this be interpreted that Mr. Woods would have been satisfied if he saw the black male getting assaulted also? We cannot pick and choose the laws we want to see changed based on personal bias, but in accordance to what is right. We should push legislation to create tougher curfew laws and make parents more responsible for their under 18 year old children.
In accordance with public interest if we create laws that legislate what hate is, we should also create laws that do not justify murder and masquerade it as serving and protecting the public. We cannot make laws on social media sites and try people in the courtrooms of twitter, instagram or Facebook. What is needed is consistency, without an invisible racial boundary called public interest. Innocent people die and get hurt everyday black and white. If the law is in place to protect us, then pass laws that protect and serve everyone’s interest, not just a certain group. In the end we are our own worst enemies, we attack each other with words, post, tweets and pictures, but no one considers this a hate crime.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”. That could be our real problem, not what is or what is not a hate crime, but maybe we have put each other’s eyes out and now we are all blind.