One argument against hate crimes legislation involves denying that one can ever know about someone’s intent. Kathleen Parker writes:
>WASHINGTON — The fallacy of hate crime laws — the prosecution of which requires a degree of mind-reading not yet available to most Earthlings — has been cast into stark relief the last few weeks after an interracial rape-murder that has bestirred white supremacists and led to death threats against an African-American columnist.
Many crimes involve judgments of intent. Intent is a state of mind. Determining intent therefore involves mind reading. To deny this smacks of some pretty silly lawyering: your honor, how can you really know that my client meant to kill anyone? Can you see inside of his mind? Homework assignment: think of all of the crimes that involve judgments of intent.
Another argument often advanced against the hate crimes legislation is the relative rarity of hate crime:
>In 2005, among about 7,000 hate crimes — mostly characterized by intimidation (48.9 percent) and simple assault (30.2 percent) — just six murders and three forcible rapes were reported as fitting the hate crime definition, according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report. Though we may hate “hate crimes,” those numbers hardly seem sufficient to justify extra laws designating a special category for certain crime victims.
The frequency with which an act occurs has nothing to do–I think–with whether it ought to be a crime or not. High treason is a crime, but almost no one does it (I think). Besides, while designating something a crime necessarily implies designating someone a victim, the crime is defined by the act, not the victim. A crime remains a crime, in fact, whether the victim feels himself a victim or not.