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Thought Crimes

I am writing in response to the letter submitted by Carlos M. Covarrubias ["Hate-Crime Laws as Special Treatment", Oct. 20]. Covarrubias brings up an interesting but flawed argument in favor of the proposed new federal hate crime laws. The crux of the argument is that since a murder accompanied by another crime, like rape or robbery, is punished more severely than the crime of murder alone would be, there exists a precedent for punishing the murderer of a homosexual person more severely than the murderer of a heterosexual.

The problem with this argument is that in the former case a second criminal action has occurred, robbery, rape, etc., while in the latter case no such second criminal action has taken place. The proposed new laws would add a sort of second crime to the murder or assault of a homosexual thought crime. The second crime committed in these cases could only be the motivations of the accused. I believe it is very undesirable to encourage the government to establish and prosecute thought crimes and that is why I am against the hate crimes bill and will vote against representatives that are for it.

Donald F. Green G