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See Why We Need Tougher Hate Crimes Legislaion? 
3rd-Jul-2007 04:20 pm
Because it JUST MIGHT help offer a sense of real justice for it's victims.

Survivor of hate crime attack jumps from ship, dies

He was only 18 years old. He suffered horribly from the attack on him and the trauma it brought afterwards, but a year later he was brave enough to testify before Congress in support of a hate crimes bill.

This is what we let happen to them. We create those that do these horrible things, and we don't take good enough care of those they wreck along the way.

Every part of this story was preventable.
3rd-Jul-2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
It would be nice if his parents could at least sue the pants off the perpetrators for wrongful death.
(Deleted comment)
4th-Jul-2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Wouldn't work, and if such charges were ever filed it would be a shock.

The *only* time suicide is even remotely actionable criminally is when a person who should be responsible is aware of the situation and acts in a neglectful manner. Then they could face criminal charges. An example would be someone who had a child who had attempted suicide in the past, the parent was aware of the serious nature of the *medical* problem, failed to provide common sense basic medical care, and the child dies as a result of their neglect to prevent or seek help. That could result in a very low level homicide charge. However I'm not even aware of any such cases.
4th-Jul-2007 01:46 am (UTC)
I'm going to offer an alternative opinion. However I want to make it clear that what happened to this guy was horrific, and nothing mitigates that.

He refused counseling. I think it's understandable why any crime victim might refuse counseling, but it makes things worse.

While he was the victim of a hate crime, this sad outcome is no different than what can occur for *any* victim of a serious crime which involves physical or psychological trauma. I'm sure there are rape victims who commit suicide too. There are people who are the victims of robbery who suffer PSTD, and there might be some who also commit suicide as a result.

The man who rescued Baby Jessica out of the well...he committed suicide as well. And the reasons for it were rather similar to the reasons given in this situation. Yet that man (Robert O'Donnell) wasn't the victim of a hate crime. In fact he was hailed a hero for his role in the rescue. Yet he also suffered PSTD and that's the reason believed for his suicide.

The sad reality is David Ritcheson suffered PSTD as well. He refused to get treatment for it. Having PSTD wasn't his fault clearly. I'm not saying choosing to do nothing is his "fault" in terms of blame, but unfortunately it was his choice. No one could force him into counseling, despite urging from many that he seek treatment, he made a choice not to.

He also made a choice to end his life.

I have tremendous sympathy and empathy for him. What happened to him shouldn't ever happen to anyone. And I wholeheartedly agree that he wouldn't have been in that situation but for the attack. But I also think that in placing the accountability where it's due on his attackers, we also have to honestly look at what else played a role here, and what realistically could have been done to prevent this outcome.

And sad to say, I can't think of anything that could have. He was aware of the problem, many made him aware of the solutions, and no one can force someone to seek treatment. I'm not sure what anyone else besides David Ritcheson could have done differently to have a different outcome here once you're looking at the PSTD. I think saying 'well don't have PSTD in the first place' avoids the real problem there.
4th-Jul-2007 04:09 am (UTC)
I have a hard time separating "hate" crimes with crimes. If you beat someone to a pulp or murder them for whatever reason, isn't it a hate crime? People are usually beat up and/or killed because someone does not like them. I think the distinguishing factor here is a crime like robbery is done to rob you, whereas a hate crime is a crime against you for who you are, like a gay person or a Mexican or an ex-wife or a boss or a pain-in-the-ass landlord or something. WOuld not all those be considered a hate crime? If not, why not?

But I digress. I concur; people involved in all sorts of crimes suffer post traumatic stress disorder, and it is debilitating. It is sad he did not go for help. But you're right: you cannot force someone to get the help they need.

It's a sad account all around
4th-Jul-2007 07:52 am (UTC)
Here's the rational on hate crimes, and you ask a REALLY good question.

If I assault you to rob you, there are in fact two crimes. The physical assault, and the robbery. Even if I don't succeed, the attempt is, in and of itself, a crime.

If I assault you to rape you, there are at least two crimes. The physical assault, and the rape (or sodomy, etc.). Even if I don't succeed the attempt is, in and of itself, a crime.

If I assault you because I dislike the group you're a part of (voluntarily or unvoluntarily) there is only *one* crime without "hate crime laws". Which is the assault.

See the big difference?

Now, there are problems with this. First is proving motivation. If (for example) there's a fight between two people of differing groups, and one uses a slur directed at that group during the fight...is that evidence of a hate crime? Not necessarily. People engage in fighting for stupid reasons. Two people can look at each other funny and it escalates from there. One of them using a *specific* ephitate (rather than a more generic 'asshole') could result in that person being charged with a 'hate crime', which is an additional charge.

Plus the reason for the assault makes the crime more serious. You and I get in a fight over something stupid, and I hit you...it's a much less serious crime than if I attack you in a robbery attempt. My charges could be lowered, I could get a plea deal. Those things can happen in other assaults but the motivation for the assault is always a consideration.

The motives in those other assaults I mentioned, are generally more obvious. It's easier to prove what someone's intentions were if they attack you, drag you to the bushes and start stipping off your clothing. If they attempt to grab you in a parking garage and nothing takes place of a sexual nature...well it's much harder to prove what their intentions were, but one can make a pretty good argument as to the serious nature of it and the intent being sinister. Even if they have the means to murder you, they're not going to be charged with even attempted murder, unless you can prove that's the intent.

Proving the intent of a hate crime is difficult. It's even difficult in this case. One must ask with knowledge of the case, would the crime have taken place if the victim had been the same race (but not part of their crowd of friends and someone not especially liked). We simply can't know for sure...but it's certainly possible. The motivation given for the crime was that the victim had made sexual advances towards a 12 year old sister of one of the men. Both the victim and the perps were on drugs. NONE of this makes what they did even remotely 'justified', of course. It is however factors in what occurred, and was a consideration at trial.

A hate crime is when the motivation of the crime is 'hate' towards the person due to race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, group affiliation , etc.

If you threw something at a guy in a white sheet at a KKK rally, it is by definition a 'hate' crime. Though perhaps one that people would have far more sympathy towards than someone who beats up someone because they're gay, or black.

Anyway hope that clarifies it some for you, and why many feel the need to have a seperate criminal charge in attacks where the motivation is demonstratably due to those factors.
4th-Jul-2007 02:43 pm (UTC) - Is there a lawyer in the house???

You have clarified some things for me. It sure can bring up a lot of cloudiness in certain situations, and, as you pointed out, it's going to be difficult to prove in some cases. But I now see where intent is an important factor.

Thanks again.
4th-Jul-2007 03:58 am (UTC)
Shocking. I heard about this today...

How can we stop kids abusing drugs at parties and turning against one another? Even if this bill had been passed at the time, I don't think it would have mattered. Fucked up teens give two shits about laws when they are in that state. I think parole should be denied, although what good does it do anyone now to have those assholes in prison? It keeps two idiots off the streets - that is good.

I cannot believe he went through this alone - Poor kid...I mean without therapy, without some kind of guidance. It's heartbreaking...

I sure hope that bill is passed and that it spearheads some changes.
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