I Have To Ask: Is This Really A Hate Crime?

Jose L. Gomez, 19,  is accused of stabbing three members of a family of four, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old child,  that he encountered in a Texas store. The family was Asian -American, and the FBI’s report states “The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus.”

Gomez has been charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Federal prosecutors are considering adding federal hate crime charges.

Obviously these are serious crimes, but why are they hate crimes? As I read the facts, no hate was necessarily involved, just fear and stupidity.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, enacted in 28 U.S.C. § 994 note Sec. 280003, requires the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person.

That’s not the basis of Gomez’s attack, though, if his statement is to be believed.  It was a genuine, ignorant belief that the family was infected with the virus, and posed a health danger to the public, including him. How do we know that he “hates” Chinese people? In other reported attacks based on the disease’s origin, the motive has been anger and revenge—hate. In this case? Is a genuine belief that an individual poses a danger because he or she is carrying a deadly disease based on race, or circumstance? If a mother were told that an Asian hit man was coming after her children, and she attacked an Asian because she thought he was the hired killer, would that be a hate crime too?

In Gomez’s case, if he had attacked a white family under the mistaken belief that they carried the infection, would that be charged as a “hate crime”? Presumably not.

Once again, I believe that the bombing of Hiroshima was based on the desire to win the  war, not hatred of the Japanese.

The hate crime laws have never made any legal or ethical sense, criminalizing prejudice and thought, neither of which can be made illegal under our Constitution.  They were virtue-signaling and pandering to certain minority group political agendas  from the beginning. Killing a white person because you hate her is bad enough, but killing her because the reasons you hate her are considered particularly contrary to social norms is really bad.

In this case, the charge makes even less sense than usual, because no hate may be involved at all.

48 thoughts on “I Have To Ask: Is This Really A Hate Crime?

  1. I’d have to look up the history of Federal hate crimes legislation which at present I’m too lazy to do. I imagine LBJ and Jimmy Carter had something to do with it. It seems to me that three counts of attempted capital murder and one count and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon will be enough to put this moron in prison for a long time. His only hope is to convince the jury that his dog convinced him that the family were spreading the Coronavirus.

    • Much later! On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.

      • In both your statements, you just said the crime had to be motivated by the person’s race, etc. No mention of having to prove that they ‘hate’ them. Plus, fear is hate, isn’t it. That is why the left always screams Islamophobia, homophobia, etc. Phobia doesn’t mean ‘hate’.

      • There was also the Hate Crimes Statistics Act in 1990, which required local law enforcement to report hate crimes to the FBI.

      • To be fair, Pres. Obama wasn’t the first to do it, only the first US President to sign federal legislation codifying hate as a crime. George Bush the Younger, while Governor of Texas, did it, too. He signed hate crime legislation into law in Texas as a response to the horrific killing of James Byrd in Vidor, Texas. Two of the fuckers who killed him have been execute with nary a peep from the anti-death penalty people, who decided that their resources were better spent on capital cases with questionable evidentiary records (I wonder why?). The third waste of human flesh is living the remainder of his life in prison, escaping death by testifying against the other monsters.

        jvb

  2. We might wish that the concept and the application of hate crimes didn’t exist. But, it does.
    The Texas Hate Crimes Act defines hate crimes as crimes that are motivated by prejudice, hatred, or advocacy of violence. If Gomez attacked because he thought the family was Chinese and that they were infecting others, then that is a clear indication of prejudice, and thus, a hate crime in Texas. And, apparently, that is why the case was referred to the FBI.
    The U.S. code so far as I can tell does not use the term ‘prejudice’ but includes the phrasing “because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin”. To a layman such as myself, the attack by Gomez does not appear to be a hate crime under this definition, given that the reason for his attack was to prevent the spread of the virus.
    Prosecution for actions, given the actions in this case, for example, is proper. Prosecution for thoughts or beliefs is not.

  3. It’s terrorism against a particular group.

    Knowing that there are people who go around killing red haired Latvians because they are red haired Latvians – and everyone in that group know red haired Latvians are in league with the pod people from planet Arous to pollute their precious bodily fluids – that, in addition to the physical crime, is an assault (in the common law legal sense, the instillation of a justified fear) on all red haired Latvians.

    Now, if it’s a single loony, and no one else or very very few others share their views about red haired Latvians, then the fear is not justified, and probably isn’t felt. The additional crime of assault/terrorism does not happen. If however there has been a history of lynching of red haired Latvians, of restriction of entry into the country specifically of red haired Latvians, of explicitly legal or de facto confinement of them into ghettos… then even if the Teutonic Fylfot Knights (TFK) no longer are a murderous power in the land, just a bunch of kooks wearing funny white blankets… then even a handful of homicidal nutters can be enough.

    Conversely, if such a group exists, then there is a distinction between a bias crime – when the intent of the killer is to kill rather than scare all red headed Latvians into submission or flight – or an intent to terrorise by killing a few. Proving such a mens rea of terrorism might be very difficult, and as the effect on the victims is the same, in the name of deterrence perhaps they should be treated the same.

    It’s trivial to prove that this guy is not exactly Robinson Crusoe in his views, not when at least one mainstream candidate for the Senate openly states that all Chinese are Enemies as part of their election campaign.

    Did he kill? Yes.
    Were the victims killed for who they were? Yes.
    Has this victim group been historically persecuted? Yes.
    Are there a significant number of people who openly share the killer’s views? Yes.

    Hence unless there is clear and compelling evidence that the victim group is not fearful because of these actions, an assault can be assumed, regardless of intent. A separate crime from the murders, with different victims.

    Throwing the book – even if only a 20% increase in sentence – at such miscreants would tend to sooth the hurt, and remove some of the fear the victim group feels because it signals specific societal disapproval of such a crime, over and above the homicides.

    • “Throwing the book – even if only a 20% increase in sentence – at such miscreants would tend to sooth the hurt, and remove some of the fear the victim group feels because it signals specific societal disapproval of such a crime, over and above the homicides.”

      I think this is incorrect, although that might not be unsurprising.

      The system already had built in differentiation for types of homicide; manslaughter in the xth degree, murder in the xth degree, negligent homicide, ect, and the difference for almost all of these is a matter of intent; Did the killer intend to kill the deceased?, What was the intent of the killing?, Was it premeditated? As examples. So while there’s precedent for having an intent-based differentiation, “Hate” or even “Terrorism” doesn’t really work.

      “Did the killer hate the deceased” is a poor differentiation, because in any non-accidental killing, it’s probably rare to find cases of killings where hate wasn’t involved, and even for those that didn’t, it’s still answered by the intent questions. “Did the motive for the killing sow fear in the victim group” is an even worse differentiation, because it relies on the mindset of third parties to the crime. There are very few crimes (I can’t think of any) where we apply that kind of logic. The place that would seem to be ripe for that kind of legislation if it was scaleable would be rape. Progressives make great hay about male on female rape being significantly worse than female on male rape, or even female on female or male on male rape, because of the power dynamics involved, and yet there is no great cry for certain types of rape to have legislative ink spilled and a 20% levy to be enforced on men who violate women, regardless of intent.

      Worse, it fails to do what you say it should. The people carrying out these crimes are not dissuaded by a 20% multiplier, the family is not less dead, and the community is not less scared. Having a portion of law designed to be an ineffective fluffer on the fragile psyche of the easily mollified seems like a waste of legislative ink.

    • Just did a search of “all Chinese are Enemies” adding Texas and Senate also in my search and don’t find any quotes from Texas or political ads from Texas races saying this. Are you paraphrasing what is being said?

      I don’t live in Texas and can only see the Google results from my searches; perhaps you can point out the instance.

      I did find Democrat investment advisor Jim Cramer saying “China is the enemy” on CNBC in November 2019.

    • “Did he kill? Yes.
      Were the victims killed for who they were? Yes.
      Has this victim group been historically persecuted? Yes.
      Are there a significant number of people who openly share the killer’s views? Yes. ”

      I don’t think historical persecution is a determinative basis for establishing hate.
      For example: Christians have been historically persecuted, especially Catholics in the US.

      I could change this slightly and you would come to a far different conclusion because of bias not reason.

      “Did he assault the person? Yes.
      Was the victim assaulted for who he was? Yes.
      Has this victim group been historically persecuted? Yes.
      Are there a significant number of people who openly share the defendant’s views? Yes. ”

      The victim is a Catholic white kid in a black neighborhood in Baltimore in August 1968.

      All acts of violence are precipitated by hate. You cannot say that it was the color of the skin, the religion practiced, the choice of partner, etc. If you do not infer animus against the “historically non-persecuted” group by the “historically preferred persecuted group”, logic would say that the failure to infer animus against the unprotected group at the hands of a protected group is itself a form of modern day persecution.

      Many groups have been shunned and persecuted throughout history. Mel Brooks did not add the line in Blazing Saddles when the town folk said “we’ll take the niggers and the chinks but we will draw the line on the Irish because he wanted to attack the Irish. He was making satirical commentary on the attitudes of many toward the Irish during that period.

      Hate crime laws in my view persecute one sector of society. “Throwing the book – even if only a 20% increase in sentence – at such miscreants would tend to sooth the hurt, and remove some of the fear the victim group feels because it signals specific societal disapproval of such a crime.” That statement justified the persecution of many and the xenophobia exhibited by the preferred group.

      • ” I could change this slightly and you would come to a far different conclusion because of bias not reason.

        “Did he assault the person? Yes.
        Was the victim assaulted for who he was? Yes.
        Has this victim group been historically persecuted? Yes.
        Are there a significant number of people who openly share the defendant’s views? Yes. ”

        The victim is a Catholic white kid in a black neighborhood in Baltimore in August 1968. ”

        Of course that’s a hate crime.

        Anti Catholic violence isn’t nearly as common as it was a century ago, but there are still parts of the US where the local populace is distinctly unfriendly to Popism, and ChickTracts are in every church.

    • A “victim group” (whatever the hell that means) is not a monolith. In FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Reports the assertion is made that “the effects can reverberate beyond a single person or group into an entire community, city, or society as a whole.” What this assumes is that all people who have been designated as a minority, whether they want to be put in a such category or not, is somehow magically effected by an act committed on another person who fits the same category. Where is the evidence of this? Pandering identity politics politicians along with their media misery merchants do a great job of taking a story and using it to attempt to instill fear in “victim groups” and moral grandstanding in those who love to self flagellate with guilt, but that doesn’t mean all people of said group cares or is effected.

      There will always be those searching to be victims. Someone is always hurting them, it’s always personal, and it’s always epic in scope. Those who love to see themselves and the special groups they wish to identify with, as downtrodden and on the edge of death at the hands of supposed bigots, will always search for and always find someone who is “literally killing” them.

      There will also always be bad actors doing bad things to people based on erroneous and stupid excuses. You can’t legislate and cancel culture people out of being shitty ignorant fools. Throwing the so-called book at them because of their thinking (or lack thereof) is not really about repairing the wrong, it’s about vengeance and virtue signaling. Which as someone who fits into at least 3 minority groups, does nothing for me or anyone else.

      How many of those who commit hate crimes are themselves members of “victim” groups? How many had shitty childhoods, have mental illness, or other issues that contributed to such “hate”? When one minority or member of a “victim group” commits hate against another, who wins the Most Downtrodden award? Hate crime legislation assumes discrimination is less amorphous than it usually is. However to quantify hate, one has to assume a lot in a given situation is static and linear, which cannot be done when we’re dealing with human emotions and thoughts. Can we really say a murderer or abuser has a better version of hate because he or she targeted someone for non-discriminatory reasons?

      No. Murder is murder and no amount of extra time thrown onto a prison sentence for politics and power will assuage the pain their loved ones experience in the aftermath. No minority has a better life because our government attempts to legislate thought. Instead we just get more bleating and screaming at the sky from those who get off on being upset, and more money to leaders of organizations who claim to represent certain social networks. Let’s not forget there’s decent money to be made off making sure political mascots are crying on cue for the camera and their “equality allies” cough up their guilt laden dough.

      How anyone could get “evidence” regarding how an entire group of people feels about something is impossible. You’d have to survey a lot of people, decide who they are and who is and isn’t a part of such a group, and give an accurate representation of the event(s) they’re supposed to be offended by. Obviously no one can be bothered to stop pearl clutching and actually ask these large swaths of people what they think. So instead it’s easier (and lazier) to just assume all people of a designated group think the same, in the name of “justice.”

      Last I checked, assuming all people of a certain category thinks the same, is called prejudice. Now, I ask, who is the one who hates?

  4. Maybe we stop calling them hate crimes, but he literally killed these people because they were Asian. “Would it be a hate crime if he had killed a white family?” No, because he wouldn’t have done that, because he has not been conditioned somewhere, somehow, for some reason, to hate white people (you notice that I didn’t blame Trump). But he does, for some reason, think that Asians have caused whatever is going on, and he has arrived at this conclusion either hatefully or stupidly, but he arrived there. So this is indeed, in my layman’s (though potential juror’s) opinion, a crime of special circumstances. (Also, zoebrain made the point far better than I did.)

    • But he didn’t kill them because they were Asian. He killed them because he thought they were infected. If they held up a certificate showing they had been cleared of infection, presumably he would have left them alone. Forced to choose between attacking a white, infected family walking around and an Asian family he knew were not infected, which would he have attacked? Unlike the other attacks, he wasn’t attacking them because he blamed their country and race for the contagion that is already underway, but to protect society from future infection.

        • ? If the public is warned that Ted Bundy is on the loose, and he is described as “handsome,” and some hysteric attacks a male model at a store because he thinks he’s Ted Bundy, would you say that he was generally afraid of handsome people, or serial killers? If the nut were informed of his mistake, would he say, “Oops! I was just trying to protect everyone from a killer in their midst!” or “What mistake? He ‘s handsome, just like Ted Bundy, so I hate him!”?

          • No… This is the kind of logic that gets people on the right mocked, and I can’t say as I disagree.

            By this logic, a man shooting a black person on the street could point out that murders were more disproportionately committed by black people, and he was afraid of being murdered. I’m sure that everyone who has some kind of discriminatory bias thinks they have reasons for their bias, and sure, some of them might be more reasonable than others, but a racial bias doesn’t become something completely different when coupled with excessive stupidity. There is no reason to think that anyone in your neighborhood is more or less likely to have the Wuhan Flu that anyone else. There have been no public warnings about Asian people on the street… And yet, this idiot happened to pick out the Asian family at his grocery store for knifing. Absent a racial bias, how do you explain that? Do you actually think the choice of Asian family was a random coincidence?

            • What?? No, the whole concept of “hate crime” is based on the flawed logic that gets progressives mocked. The guy (says) he attacked them because he believed they carried a virus. That’s based on bad logic and bad information, but it’s not based on hate, which the law says is based on ethnicity as in “I hate Chinese people.” There isn’t the slightest hint that he hates Chinese people, until we know he would have attacked them whether there was a contagion or not. It is not like attacking blacks based on the statistical proportion of crimes in the population, because that is a steady state characteristic (in your hypothetical) that only applies to that demographic, and thus a characteristic (in your hypothetical) of the group being attacked. Nobody, even this guy, is saying that Chinese people are by nature walking contagions. He is assuming that at this moment, they are dangerous. If it was Italians, or New Yorkers, he might behave the same. Is Rhode Island protecting itself against New Yorkers, or the virus? Do they hate New Yorkers, or are they afraid of the virus? Is Rhode Island committing a state-based hate crime?

              • That’s *extremely* shallow thinking though; He killed the Asian family because he thought they had the virus? If that was as far as we went, then sure, the argument could be made….. But why did he think the Asian family had the virus?

                This is functionally identical to the slew of people who beat up and killed Pakistani truckers in parking lots following 9-11 because “the damned Muslims were at war with America”.

                • Why? Because he’s a shallow thinker, because the virus originated in China, because Chinese workers spread the virus in Italy. (He didn’t kill them, he “just” slashed them with a knife.)

                  People are punching citizens who cough in public. Is that a hate crime if they are Asian?

                  “This is functionally identical to the slew of people who beat up and killed Pakistani truckers in parking lots following 9-11 because “the damned Muslims were at war with America”.

                  But it’s not! That’s a shallow comparison—one is after the fact–Revenge! Hate!—the other is dealing with a perceieved specific and immediate threat. Self Defense. Public defense One is clearly based on hate. The other is not. Is it too much to require a hate crime, if we’re going to have such a stupid designation, include the element of hate?

                  • I think you’re getting hung up on the word “Hate”, but you have to remember that we’re talking about this in the context of what is called a hate crime, which doesn’t actually require the person hate a group, fear is often more than enough. Do you remember the case where the old, white man shot the young, black teen through his screen door because she showed up to his front door bloody and screaming at 4AM and he spooked? He was convicted of a hate crime. there’s no evidence he actually hated her. And to be fair, I don’t particularly like that outcome, but we’re dealing with what is.

                    “But it’s not! That’s a shallow comparison—one is after the fact–Revenge! Hate!—the other is dealing with a perceived specific and immediate threat. ”

                    No. Absolutely not. The parallels between the Chinese Government’s actions surrounding the suppression of information, their disinformation campaign, and how that fostered the spread of the virus might not be perfect because the virus isn’t as deliberate an attack on America as 9-11, But there are some meaningful comparisons to be had there, particularly when it comes to the on the ground American response. I also think you’re seriously airbrushing history in saying that the motivation of American mistreatment of American Middle-Easterners was a retaliation for 9-11 and not even in part due to fear of further attacks. Hell… The entirety of the Iraq war was explicitly a premeditated strike, because while everyone was pretty sure Hussein had WMDs, no one was pretending he had used them.

                    Those Pakistani truckers were not Al’Qaeda insurgents, they might not have been even Muslim. They were picked out because they wore turbans and people were scared, stupid, and angry. Just like they are now. Thinking that they were terrorists just because of their turbans was ethnically discriminatory.

                    Most Chinese Americans were born in America, will never travel to China, don’t even speak Mandarin, they are no more or less likely to have the coronavirus than any other Tom, Dick or Harry. Thinking that they are plague bearers because of their race is per se racially discriminatory.

                    And let’s be real… This is the most serious attack we’ve heard of so far, but it’s not an isolated case.

                    People are afraid of people and attacking them based on the color of their skin. I don’t understand how the distinction between hate and fear matters. It’s still bigotry.

                    • The case you cited is also not a hate crime, but I like that analogy a lot better. The guy would have shot such a late night intruder whether she was black or not. I hate ALL people who bang on my door at night, regardless of race, creed or color.

                    • One minor (?) point — Hussein actually had used WMDs. He used them in the Iran war and against his own people after the Gulf War. I don’t recall if Iran did the same, but it surely wouldn’t surprise me.

                      He was also doing his best to convince us that he had them and he planned to use them if we invaded.

        • Couldn’t it be considered a hate crime against people infected with the Corona virus?

          Did he acutally say that he killed them to “prevent” the spreading of the virus or because he was angry that they were out and about in public when they could obviously be infected as they appeared to be Chinese (in his twisted logic)?

  5. “Obviously these are serious crimes, but why are they hate crimes? As I read the facts, no hate was necessarily involved, just fear and stupidity.”

    “In this case, the charge makes even less sense than usual, because no hate may be involved at all.”

    Based on what I’ve read about this case, I completely agree.

    But maybe they were caught spitting on the food…

    Someone had to go there, it might as well be me. 😉

  6. Maybe the political right should weaponize the hate crime laws and use them against those in the political left that obviously HATE President Trump and anyone they think supports him; after all…

  7. What I find stupid about hate crimes, it makes me think, well, if there can be a hate crime, then there must be a love crime. So if you commit your crime with love, does that lessen the sentencing? Who cares what you thought when you committed your crime. I think the South Park episode on hate crimes succinctly summed up how this is dumb.

  8. The concept of hate crime codifies inequality. By placing a greater penalty on someone because of the race (for example) of the victim says that some races are more valuable than others, or conversely, that some races are less able to defend themselves, thus less equal.

    Does the current concept of hate crime include the scenario where a black man who believes that the black dope dealers on the corner cause the general public to consider that all black people are dope dealers and criminals, and decides to rid the neighborhood of black dope dealers and kills several? Will he be charged as a hate crime because he apparently did not care if white or Asian dope dealers plied their trade in the area? I do not recall seeing the hate crime penalty applied when white folk are assaulted by non-whites in spite the drum-beat that white people are the source of all problems experienced by non-white people; one term I have heard is “polar bear hunting”.

    My point is that the concept of hate crime is contrary to our Constitution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.