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MLK and hate crime laws
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Philip here, guest blogging again.

This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. came up in my Google Reader "Quotes of the Day" stream today:

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."

It made me wonder what Dr. King would have thought of hate crime legislation. On one hand, it sounds like he's arguing that he doesn't want the law to make someone else stop hating him, he just wants the law to protect him from harm. On the other hand, if he specifically chose the term "lynching" (as opposed to "killing"), one could argue that the term implies a motivation of hatred directed at specific group.

Personally I think it's unnecessary and dangerous to legislate thoughts instead of actions. It would be interesting to know what some of the early civil rights leaders would have though of it.

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