Ignoring their own words

The Herald reports:

Tamara Crowchief may have yelled “I hate white people” as she carried out a violent assault on a white person, but that doesn’t mean her attack was racially motivated, a Canadian judge has ruled.

The attack occurred outside a pub in Calgary, Canada, on Nov. 1, according to the Calgary Herald. Crowchief’s victim, identified as Lydia White, lost a tooth in the assault, the paper reported.

Prosecutor Karuna Ramakrishnan had tried to put Crowchief behind bars for 12 to 15 months by arguing that the indigenous woman’s “unprovoked” actions represented a hate crime, the paper reported. But Judge Harry Van Harten of the provincial court strongly disagreed.

“The offender said, ‘I hate white people’ and threw a punch,” Van Harten told those gathered in the court during his ruling. “There is no evidence either way about what the offender meant or whether .

. . she holds or promotes an ideology which would explain why this assault was aimed at this victim. I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offense was, even in part, motivated by racial bias.”

I don’t actually believe in having hate crimes as a separate criminal category. But if you do have them, they should apply equally.

If someone said “I hate black people” and punched a black person, you would conclude they were motivated by racial bias. If someone said “I hate homosexuals” and punched a gay man, you would conclude they were motiviated by dislike of homosexuality.

But some people seem to go out of their way to ignore someone’s plain spoken words.

The Orlando shooter told Police multiple times he was killing all these people due to his religious beliefs and support for Islamic State. However you then get people saying “Oh no, ignore what he said, it is because ….”

I believe in these situations, you apply Occam’s razor.

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