Conn. lawmakers are on the verge of making it a hate crime to ‘intimidate or harass’ the homeless. Let me be clear up front. It’s obviously wrong to intimidate or harass anyone, more so the more vulnerable among us. I have stated previously that I oppose the idea of hate crimes in the first place. It elevates some people to a plane higher than others. It effectively makes some people more equal than others. Classifying harassment of the homeless as a hate crime is a leap too far, even for the thought police.
(WTNH) — Connecticut lawmakers are proposing to add intimidation or harassment of homeless people to the category of hate crimes.
The state House of Representatives passed the bill Thursday by a 112-32 vote. It now moves to the Senate.
The crime would be considered a class C felony, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Categorizing a crime as a hate crime enhances penalties for repeat offenders, permits courts to order offenders to participate in anti-bias programs, and gives alleged victims a civil action for triple damages.
The state currently considers hate crimes to be those committed on the basis of a victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
I wonder, would refusing the request for spare change or responding with the clichéd ‘Get a job!’ qualify as harassment or intimidation? After all, that’s all in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?
Am I wrong about this, am I missing something? Are hate crime laws just? If so, is ‘homeless’ a class worthy to be on the list?