Friday, June 01, 2007

Understanding Hate Crimes

Very interesting article on hate crimes by John Ireland. The starting point for the article is the premise that despite widespread public support, hate crime law across the United States remains inconsistent and the crimes often go unpunished.

A number of issues are explored including the motives underpinning hate crimes. In discussing hate crimes against homosexuals, the article quotes Karen Franklin, a forensic psychology fellow at the Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training, who argues that there are four major motives common to such crimes: ideology, thrill seeking, peer dynamics and panic defense. The common thread, she says, is that “offenders perceive that they have societal permission to engage in violence against homosexuals.”

The article also reports the views of the American Psychological Association (APA), which contends that most hate crimes are committed by “otherwise law-abiding young people who see little wrong with their actions… [and who see] difference as threatening.” The APA further asserts, “There is overwhelming evidence that society can intervene to reduce or prevent… hate-induced violence that threatens and intimidates whole categories of people.”

Click Here to read the article in full.

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