The Amish guys from a splinter sect who were forcibly cutting the beards of more mainstream Amish are on trial for assorted crimes involving assault and also hate crimes. The attackers are being prosecuted for hate crimes.
The 16 defendants could be tried for simple assault without going into the fine points of what those on both sides call the Amish way. But to prove the far more serious hate-crime charges brought here by the United States attorney, Steven M. Dettelbach, prosecutors must show that religious differences drove the attacks. Groups from Mr. Mulletís 18-family settlement near Bergholz, Ohio, are accused of forcibly shearing the beards and hair of perceived enemies.
The Amish Amish population doubling rate is 14 years. They demonstrate a problem with the rosy scenarios about human population growth will eventually stop and reverse. No, we can't count on fertility to continue to drop. Any group that resists modern culture and maintains a high fertility rate will eventually swamp the secularists who delay reproduction and have few kids.
If splinter groups like Mr. Mullet's start popping out kids at a faster rate than the Amish as a whole then we could find ourselves faced with a quite hostile and intolerant Amish sect.
So prosecutors have stressed the religious aspects of Mr. Mulletís bitter feuds with critics and those who dared flee his settlement, and whom he accused of doing the Devilís work. They have heard Amish describe how profoundly their self-worth is tied to their uncut beards ó Mr. Mulletís is a foot long ó and hair. One of the forcibly shorn men, his wife said, sat through dinners holding his napkin over his chin.
To counter the hate-crime charges, defense lawyers have tried to focus instead on the personal grudges and family disputes that affected the choice of victims.
I am bothered by the idea that a criminal who hates their victim is worse than a criminal who does not hate their victim. What if the criminal is entirely indifferent to their victim and just enjoys watching people suffer? Might not be any hate involved. Or suppose a group of criminals wants to scare people out of pursuing some behavior due to a deep and strong belief the behavior is wrong. So the criminals terrorizes anyone who engages in the behavior. The terrorizing criminals need not feel any hatred toward their victims.
The mania to feverishly prosecute hate crimes seems like another madness of the Left. Hate crime prosecutions end up being more heavily weighted against out-of-favor groups while supposedly oppressed groups get off lightly. Hate crime prosecutions can turn too easily into tools to enforce an orthodoxy of beliefs and values. I'd prefer we come up with a different framework for talking about group crimes and organized terrorizing crimes that distinguishes between different kinds of threats in ways that do not run the risk of oppressing dissent or prosecuting some kids who don't have deep and abiding hatred but who expressed some epithets in a fight.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2012 September 02 03:40 PM Cultural Wars Values|