Another Silly Hate Crimes Bill

06/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed the laughably named Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The purported prevention is what amuses me. Who are the bigots who refrain from killing only because they face harsher punishment than murderers who don't care what their victim's race or religion is?

In the video below, Rep. Barbara Lee condemns "hate-motivated violence." But isn't almost all violence motivated by hate? Lee and a majority of her colleagues apparently believe an emotion that obviously could apply to anything, applies only to "race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."

Even if crimes spawned by anti-cop bias, greed or revenge were less reprehensible than crimes motivated by special hate, it's not exactly easy to get inside someone's head and determine why they did whatever they did. Sociopaths tend to be unstable in more than one way. Can we really trust prosecutors, judges and jurors to know which of a perpetrator's demons caused a dirty deed to be done? Should we really burden our justice system with such a costly and time-consuming exercise when the end result is so pointless and unreliable?

Jeff Norman blogs at