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Earth Walker
June 8th, 2001, 12:32 PM
Oregon Legislator Seeks Sweeping Hate Crime Laws.

The Oregon state government has recently introduced a bill to
make it a hate crime to smash a Starbucks window or sabotage
a timber company. The Bill proposes and additional five years in
prison for an offender whose crime is motivated by "a hatred of
people who subscribe to a set of political beliefs that support
capitalism...."
Although the bill would expand hate crimes to include eco-
terrorists, Senator Gary George, (Republikan) Newberg, says his
real target is political correctness. "Even the scriptures tells you
not to judge a person's thoughts but their actions," George said,
"and that's what's always bothered me about this crime....It seems to be the ultimate in political correctness."
The proposed legislation calls for an additional five years in
prison for those whose crime is motivated by "a hatred of people
who subscribe to a set of political beliefs that support capitalism
and the needs of people with respect to their balance with nature."
The bill came from an idea of Eric Winters, a Portland lawyer
active with a group of Libertarians called the Mainstream Liberty
Caucus. He took his proposal to Richard Burke, the 1998
Libertarian candidate for governor who is now on Senator
George's staff.
"You should be punished for the harm you cause, and you shouldn't be punished extra just because you don't like someone's racial background," Burke said. "We shouldn't put
people in jail for being bigots or for being environmentally
conscious or for not liking the WTO."
Randy Blazak, a Portland State University sociology professor
who will speak at the Oregon Hate Crimes Conference, counters
that society routinely takes into account an accused criminal's
intent. "The fact is, we punish people for what they are thinking,"
he said. "We do that already. We say, 'Did you plot to kill this
person or were you drunk?"
Copies of George's bill were circulated through the Capitol two
days before a statewide conference on hate crimes is scheduled
in Eugene. The keynote speaker will be Judy Shepard, the mother
of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student beaten
to death in 1998. Two young men received life sentences in 1999
for Shepard's death, which led to demands for tougher state and
federal hate-crime laws.
Oregon has a series of laws covering hate crimes. People
accused of crimes such as vandalism and assault can face tougher
penalties if the crimes were based on a person's perceived
"race, colour, religion, national origin or sexual orientation."
George, a hazelnut farmer, says if criminals can be singled out
for crimes motivated by racism or anti-religious sentiment, he
sees no reason not to include crimes against capitalism.
"i think this is a growing problem, and we thought there needed
to be a vehicle to discuss the issue of eco-terrorism."


To believe what you see is to be deceived.
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Reject all illusions of social harmony.

Greenthumb
June 8th, 2001, 07:21 PM
Wow,,,what a can of worms this is..
If a crime is committed & punishment is warranted, than I think that should stand on its own, period.(at least as far as our legal system is concerned) I don't think that we need to use someone's alleged feelings about the victim(person/place/thing etc..) to add stiffer penalties.
If assault warrants 6 months, and a supposed hatecrime assault warrants 2 years- why not just have any sort of assault warrant the maximum 2year sentence & not plague our judicial systems further by the litigation(?) it would take to prove the "hate-crime" aspect of the situation?

Greenthumb