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Old 06-21-2010, 03:28 PM
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Default Episode 17: Which BOMBINGS Are Really HATE CRIMES? [Discussion]

A firebombed Jacksonville mosque causes Penn to explain why individual beliefs should stay out of bombings and attacks.

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Old 06-21-2010, 09:01 PM
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This is one of the rare times I disagree with Penn. Generally, it seems to me that the severity of a crime should depend on the degree of harm done to the victim. Bombing a mosque does harm beyond the financial. The fact that the bomber may place only material value on the mosque is not relevant. The non-material value of the mosque to those who own it is relevant. Bombing a warehouse is not the same thing as bombing a mosque.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:05 AM
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I'm also inclined to disagree with Penn but for a totally different reason. I agree with him that there should be no special attention paid to the fact that is was a place of worship, he bombed a building.
However I believe it should be a hate crime if it can be shown that he was attacking more then a building but rather a people as a whole. In my opinion it would require more evidence then just him bombing the building. If they can show this is a pattern of hate against muslims or other Semitic peoples that escalated into a bombing then I believe it should qualify as a hate crime.
Just as we give a harsher sentence for premeditated murder vs. man slaughter. If it can be proven that this was a result of more then a hatred for the building or random vandalism, but rather a hatred of the culture or religion then it deserves a harsher sentence. It should however be just as hard to prove as premeditated murder vs the other levels of murder.
There should be a difference between just vandalism vs attacks on a people or on a culture. just as there is a difference between murder, mass murder and genocide or between man slaughter vs premeditated murder.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:19 PM
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I partly disagree with this one as well. The target of damage was wider than the physical property. I agree totally that religion is beside the point. If someone burns down a strip club because they don't want tits in their town that should be a hate crime too.

I doubt I would approve of how the hate crime laws are currently implemented, but I believe that forceful intimidation of anyone should be a crime in and of itself.

This comes down to judging intent, which is tricky to say the least, but ignoring intent altogether would be worse.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:31 PM
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Default c'mon Penn

I love you man, but I gotta disagree with you here. The only reason that the mosque was a target wasn't because it was a building with a bad paint job, it's because of what it represents. I agree that bombing a building is wrong is ALL cases, but motivation absolutely plays a part here. The Jacksonville nut job didn't just bomb a building, he bombed a place of worship for a religion he doesn't agree with. Dislike of a religion was the motivation, not gosh that's an ugly building I better blow it up. To forget about motivation is missing the point of the stupidity of the person and the act. Not covering this stupidity is a mistake in this case, and thank you Penn for bringing this to the attention of us dolt's (namely me) who just can't stomach the news anymore.

I would like to make another point though. In my head I have a hard time with the term hate crime in general. To me any crime against another person, or building, or pretty much whatever, seems to have a little hate involved. I can't remember the last time I've heard of a "gosh I really like you crime".
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:44 PM
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I don't really think it should carry a 'hate element' because it's a religious building but there's definitely more than one thing going on when you bomb a building:
* You cause damage, money/work can fix it.
* You might hurt or kill people.
* You're trying to cause fear/terror, maybe you're trying to get people to stop going to the building, maybe you're trying to get people to listen to you.

I'm not sure what I believe in this matter, but it doesn't seem right that 'safer' vandalism like smashing up a building with a baseball bat might carry the same sentence as setting off a bomb or lighting a fire and then leaving the site, which is more likely to kill people.

I guess it comes down to: Does intent matter - do you guys believe in 'attempted murder' as a law?
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebrooklinema View Post
This is one of the rare times I disagree with Penn. Generally, it seems to me that the severity of a crime should depend on the degree of harm done to the victim. Bombing a mosque does harm beyond the financial. The fact that the bomber may place only material value on the mosque is not relevant. The non-material value of the mosque to those who own it is relevant. Bombing a warehouse is not the same thing as bombing a mosque.

Not sure what you mean by material value, and non-material value (specifically I would be curious if non-material value is objectively defined or not).

But that aside, it isn't really true that the penalty for a crime is proportional to the value of the damages caused, but is rather based on what the nature of the crime is, how that type of abstractly defined crime affects its victims (meaning how for instance the crime of grand theft, in general, affects victims, not how one specific grand theft affected or hasn't affected its specific victim), and what the nature of the criminal is (hardened criminal, first offender, etc.).

If the bombing of a mosque can be shown to be an act of terrorism (in other words, it can be proven that not only did the attacker aim to destroy someone's property, bu wished to intimidate people into renouncing their faith, or change their actions, etc. ), then that is a more severe crime than simple destruction of property. Not because of the value of the damage, but because of the nature of the crime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by praus View Post
I'm also inclined to disagree with Penn but for a totally different reason. I agree with him that there should be no special attention paid to the fact that is was a place of worship, he bombed a building.
However I believe it should be a hate crime if it can be shown that he was attacking more then a building but rather a people as a whole. In my opinion it would require more evidence then just him bombing the building. If they can show this is a pattern of hate against muslims or other Semitic peoples that escalated into a bombing then I believe it should qualify as a hate crime.
Just as we give a harsher sentence for premeditated murder vs. man slaughter. If it can be proven that this was a result of more then a hatred for the building or random vandalism, but rather a hatred of the culture or religion then it deserves a harsher sentence. It should however be just as hard to prove as premeditated murder vs the other levels of murder.
There should be a difference between just vandalism vs attacks on a people or on a culture. just as there is a difference between murder, mass murder and genocide or between man slaughter vs premeditated murder.
One's general views , or even motive for committing a crime, should not be the determining factor in establishing a penalty. The nature of the crime should determine that. Terrorism is not the act of attacking what you hate, it is the act of attacking to intimidate someone out of exercising a right (whether you hate them or not).

I don't believe Penn (disclaimer, that's just a guess based on things he said in the past) would dismiss intent to terrorize as an aggravating circumstance in a crime, only motive (such as hatred, or greed, or "need" etc) and of course the subjective value of an object (which is what he dismissed explicitly in the vid).

Last edited by normstansfield : 06-22-2010 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:11 PM
normstansfield
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vorticose View Post
I guess it comes down to: Does intent matter - do you guys believe in 'attempted murder' as a law?
The goal of the criminal does matter, his failure to achieve it should not exonerate him. Yes, attempted murder, the attempt to terrorize someone, etc should be more severe crimes than simple assault or destruction of property.

However, the motive of a criminal (money, hatred, racism etc.) should not matter, one way or the other. This means that:

1. "I really needed the money so I assaulted a guy and robbed him" is not an excuse for assault, just as:

2. "I needed some money, and I really hate his race, so I assaulted and robbed him instead of the white guy next to him" is not an aggravating circumstance.

However:

3. " I really wanted to terrorize black people (or people named Larry, or one specific guy named Larry, whatever), so I went around assaulting them" is an aggravating circumstance, even if I terrorized them because someone paid me to do it, not because I really hate them).

The third option is not a hate crime, it is an act of terror. In the US, a hate crime is defined as any racially motivated crime, not a crime meant to terrorize the victim. It is entirely wrong.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:06 PM
stevebrooklinema
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Default reply to normstansfield

The question of objectivity is a very good one. It would be difficult to objectively define the non-material value I am talking about. I see the weighing of the various factors as the job of the judge. Suppose BadGuy smashes Victim's $10 watch because BadGuy knows it has great sentimental value to Victim. Intended harm and actual harm to Victim are then more than the $10 destruction of property, and I think it would be appropriate for a judge to sentence BadGuy accordingly. Penn's position seems to be that this is wrong because the watch was only worth $10 to BadGuy.

I do agree with you that the motive of BadGuy for wanting to harm Victim should be irrelevant.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:14 AM
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Totally agree with Penn on this one.
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