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Friday, February 19, 2021

Opportunities for Hate Crime Reform Michigan-Better Coding and Better Solutions

When a society suffers from certain ailments it should consider tackling those issues in a way that leads to solutions. The things we were doing in the past no longer function as well as we thought they did. We have growing hate crimes and radicalism in society but were shocked when people are protesting in the streets for justice while other people are sacking the capital. People are out there protesting and no matter which side they are protesting there seems to be a fundamental need for change. 

We were caught off guard but at the same time we knew for a long time that hate and racism are not sustainable ways of behaving if we want our country to maintain its standing as a beacon of economic and civil liberties. 

Hate and extremism are bad all the way around. They do no good for victims, extremists, or the general community. Despite its detracting nature there are some who continue to perpetuate certain beliefs that lack universal applicability to all of society.

We know its a problem and we may also intuitively know that if it continues to be swept under the carpet there may be a cataclysmic shift in our society and at some point in the future (probably a bumpy ride). 

Education is changing minds and the Internet has given people information at their finger tips; Millennials just don't want hate anymore! They want a more equal society (Yes parents can be wrong sometimes).

Why? I could go on to discuss and show research upon research on the cost of lost human capital, the plight of victims, lost international investments, social erosion, damage to communities, etc.., etc.., etc... Anyone with a library card probably could. 

🙈🙉🙊

We do have what is called an ethnic intimidation law but it doesn't seem (subjectively at least) that its working. While the intent is good, the application is off. The problem is that it doesn't go far enough to obtain the full scope of these behaviors. Most hate behaviors are likely coded under other crimes (instead tagging as a hate crime) and thus we have no idea the monster under the bed. 

We can change the law to provide more flexibility in prosecuting hate based behaviors (Just because we don't label it doesn't mean its not happening.) Whether there is a deal cut or not with prosecutors it would be helpful to have some type of tagging of the behavior occurs. Perhaps allowing for lower level level hate prosecution (where intervention and redirecting behavior would be helpful) and uploaded properly so that other options can be explored (I say counseling, misdemeanor, felony).

It is entirely possible that with proper coding and macro research on hate solutions we could end this archaic social stratification (big data...here we come!). I would also suspect that it would save us money in solving these problems on a state level before they commit Federal crimes and morph into violent hate groups. Unless we have a reason not to? Whether it be an official or unofficial reason.

I'm not an attorney so I'm thinking more along the lines of "what if?" 

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931



750.147b Ethnic intimidation.

Sec. 147b.

  (1) A person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, does any of the following:
  (a) Causes physical contact with another person.
  (b) Damages, destroys, or defaces any real or personal property of another person.
  (c) Threatens, by word or act, to do an act described in subdivision (a) or (b), if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in subdivision (a) or (b) will occur.
  (2) Ethnic intimidation is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
  (3) Regardless of the existence or outcome of any criminal prosecution, a person who suffers injury to his or her person or damage to his or her property as a result of ethnic intimidation may bring a civil cause of action against the person who commits the offense to secure an injunction, actual damages, including damages for emotional distress, or other appropriate relief. A plaintiff who prevails in a civil action brought pursuant to this section may recover both of the following:
  (a) Damages in the amount of 3 times the actual damages described in this subsection or $2,000.00, whichever is greater.
  (b) Reasonable attorney fees and costs.

You can see the law HERE.


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