Overcome objections to prosecute hate crimes

November 2, 2017

First, I want to applaud the Cape Gazette for taking a relatively quick and unequivocal position on the recent expressions of hate in the Lewes community. Perhaps, that most Americans would condemn such acts may make it easier to be critical.

The acts reflect the ignorance of history, lack of civility and respect existing in our political environment.

Whether Delaware law is comparatively more specific, and allegedly protective to other states, is not my issue.

What I do take umbrage with is the definition of "victim" under Delaware law that is so narrowly interpreted. Obviously when hateful remarks are written, the perpetrator has in mind their target audience.

In this case, you could argue that the audience is not necessarily directed only to blacks or African-Americans, but to all people who find discrimination immoral and objectionable. My point is, the intent to publish and to disseminate such material means that the perpetrator has in their mind to find a victim(s).

Their hope is that the victim is not just an individual but anyone seeing the school bus or other locations.

Anyone seeing their "hate crime" message should be able to step forward as an individual or as a class. This stance would include not only children who get on the bus, but their parents and the public who see the bus.

While I commend the Cape Gazette for their editorial position, I think the next step forward is to overcome the objections of the Delaware attorney general's reluctance to prosecute,and with other legislators take the steps necessary to criminalize acts of hate.

Alicia Jones

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