Jacob Sullum’s op-ed, “Hate-crime Laws Pervert Justice,” [Oct. 16] brings up a valid point: Everyone has a right to their own beliefs. And, whether we like or not, this point applies to racists and homophobes as well. But what Sullum doesn’t realize is that a hate crime isn’t just a crime against one human being, it is a crime against every person in the victim’s ethic/religious/cultural group.
If a white man spray paints the N-word on the door of a black family’s house, that person isn’t just attacking the family. The man is intentionally creating pain and fear within every black person. Hate crimes are designed to hurt an entire group of people and therefore should receive extra attention.
Nicholas Short, intern, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Chicago