Prepare for the howls of outrage and righteous indignation swirling around Louisiana in the weeks and months to come. In the tense environment surrounding law enforcement and the Ferguson Effect these days there’s been all manner of talk about hate crimes and injustice, but not all that much about the police who wind up being the victims as part of the backlash. Down in the Pelican State, legislators have begun the process of adding a new wrinkle to the legal code by recognizing and punishing “hate crimes” within their borders, but this time it’s for crimes against the police. (Washington Post)
For many, “hate crime” means an act of violence perpetrated against a member of a minority group. But what about targeting someone because they serve and protect?
Now, in the era of the “blue lives matter” response to the “black lives matter” movement, some legislators in Louisiana are trying to answer that question. A committee in the state’s house of representatives has advanced a bill that classifies offenses committed against cops and firefighters as hate crimes.
“We have a pretty extensive hate crime law right now, but I believe we should add firefighters and policemen,” Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), who supports the bill, said, as the Advocate noted.
The proposed language of HB 953 intended to protect police and firefighters would be added to existing hate-crime legislation, which lets those convicted of felonies against protected groups be sentenced to up to five extra years in prison.
Though I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve covered it here, no article on this subject would be complete without starting with the caveat that I neither support nor believe in the concept of “hate crimes” for any “class” of citizen. We already have a protected class of citizens and it includes human beings. All of them. And when people commit crimes through actions which harm others in violation of the law, it is their actions for which they are responsible and accountable. What they were thinking (or even saying) at the time of the offense is free speech, no matter how detestable, and is not cause for adding on a new law or administering additional punishment.
Sadly, that’s not the world we live in since all three branches of the government (up to and including the Supreme Court) have bought into this politically correct and plainly unconstitutional nonsense, so we’re left dealing with the system as it exists today. And under that system we have certain pigeonhole groups of citizens whose lives are deemed more valuable than everyone else’s and to whom special protections and considerations are granted. And if we’re stuck having these groups anyway, then… why not? Let’s add in the police because Blue Lives Matter is surely as valid a sentiment as any other. In fact, the argument can be made (and has been made by me before) that crimes against police officers are deserving of harsher punishment. Not because police officers as individual people are entitled to any more rights than the rest of us. They are not, and I’ve yet to meet a cop who thinks they are. But when you attack the police – particularly when you do it simply because they are police rather than part of some violent fight or flight reaction to escape capture – you aren’t just attacking the person. You are attacking the uniform. You are fomenting chaos and attacking the entire society by attempting to strike down the thin blue line between civilization and anarchy.
So yes, Louisiana. If we must burden the legal system with so called “hate crime” laws, then by all means put this one into place. I’ve long felt that the murder of a uniformed officer in the line of duty should be a federal crime which is immediately eligible for the death penalty, but this might be the next best thing. Put this law through, see if anyone challenges it and then get started making it standard in all fifty states.