My Arkansas News Bureau column is about hate crimes legislation. Is it a slippery slope?
Last week, two men, Frankie Maybee and Sean Popejoy from Green Forest, became the first in Arkansas to be convicted of hate crimes under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The two men used their pickup truck to run five Hispanic men off the road, injuring all of them and putting one into a coma, after taunting and threatening them because of their ethnicity.
Of course Maybee and Popejoy should go to jail, but not for “hating.” They should go to jail for aggravated assault and battery. How they feel about a particular group is irrelevant.
Hate crimes legislation punishes not only actions but thought. I think it’s a dangerous path – one on which European countries and Canada already have traveled farther. America shouldn’t follow.