Focus Point - Hate Crimes

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The senate has passed a so-called hate crimes law. I know those who voted for it had their hearts in the right place. But i could never have joined them.

Edward Kennedy, one of the bills major backers, said, "equal protection of the laws must apply to all Americans. That's what this is all about."

But that's exactly, perfectly wrong. Hate crime laws are about un-equal protection. Such laws say that if a racist shoots a black man, a gay-basher shoots a homosexual or an Anti-Semite shoots a Jew, it's by definition worse than a plain old killer shooting one of them -- or shooting you, for that matter. It means the full power of the federal government comes on line to prosecute the accused, because the crime is so terrible that its prosecution can't be left to mere state or local authorities. It means, at heart, that some lives are worth more than others.

But that is neither right, nor equal protection of the law.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, gas prices.