Shut ’em up. Shut ’em down. Behavior, intent, and perception

“Hate crime legislation is a child of the modern political correctness movement. It is a movement that has been wildly successful in marginalizing First-Amendment free speech, infecting every facet of social interaction. Pastors in historically conservative Protestant churches are scaling back their time-honored messages of original sin and redemption. Military chaplains are receiving politicized orders to alter their choices of words used in invocations. Public schools have virtually eradicated all mention of God during school hours or at sporting or extracurricular events.

“We as a society must not allow notions of bigotry or any thought processes by criminal perpetrators to cloud our judgment on the disposition of these matters. To do so is to deny intellectual honesty. For this is a first step toward a time when the wrong political, cultural, or religious thought will land us in a cold, dark cell block — even if no real crime has been committed.

“Do not think it cannot happen. The gulags of Soviet Russia, the millions of dead in Communist China’s Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields of Pol Pot’s Cambodia will beg to differ.”[‘Hate Crimes’ and ‘Occupy’ Protests]

Means, motive, and method used to be the guide for solving crimes. The crime itself was an observable event. Enforcement and prosecution occurred after th event. That has been changing. Hate crimes are inferred. Enforcement anticipates an event. It is not behavior that is the problem but rather the state of mind. The two are always connected which is why motivation is always an issue in crime. What is happening is that the focus is changing from behavior supported and explained by motivation to motivation creating crime to the motivation itself being the crime. Since motivation is much more subject to interpretation, the enforcement and prosecution also become a matter of interpretation. That leads to police and prosecutor abuse.

Since speech is often the first expression of motivation, it is speech that becomes the ‘observable behavior’ in determining if one has illegal motivation, such as hate. That is not so simple as one can see in how the meaning of speech is distorted with so many recent examples.

You don’t like the message? Instead of changing the channel, the modern view seems to be to shut them up. Then, if that isn’t enough, shut them down. Put them in a gulag … or worse. There is a story this morning of a number of kids stoned to death in the mideast for what they were wearing [Daily Mail]. That shut them down, sure enough.

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