Last night on NBC news they were discussing the mass murder in South Carolina. The network interviewed some guy (sorry, missed his name) who lamented that -- can you believe it -- South Carolina doesn't even have a hate crime law!
And my response was: So what? I imagine that there may be circumstances where a hate crime law somehow might provide for a more appropriate punishment or better deterrence for some sort of crime. Maybe for ordinary assaults? But how in the world is it relevant to the punishment of some asshole who just got caught red-handed killing 9 people. The guy could not possible be more legally f*cked. What, is there some possibility of confusion that without the hate crime law, someone might think it was OK to kill 9 people?
I get exhausted with this kind of stupid symbolism. In this case, the call for hate crime laws is not aimed at criminals, but are being used by politicians to signal to certain groups of voters that they "care." This is the kind of zero-cost, zero-benefit "caring" that politicians specialize in.