I’m on record as being somewhat uncomfortable with hate crimes legislation. I’m just not wild about the government punishing people for what’s in their thoughts. But I do see why society might want to make racial animus an aggravating factor in crimes.
It’s complicated, and that makes me think that prosecutors should show some flex when it comes to slapping a hate crime designation on top of a crime. But reasonable people will disagree, and I get that.
What I don’t get is how any rational human being could legitimately think that a small child is guilty of a “hate crime.” I don’t even see how a 6th grader — an 11-year-old kid — has the mens rea to commit a hate crime. Eleven-year-olds don’t commit hate crimes, they throw temper tantrums.
But New York City is going to try to stick a hate crime on a little kid from Staten Island…