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Hate Crime Legislation Demands Further Debate

November 19, 2000

I find it incredible that The Times published Fred Dickey's article on hate crimes ("The Perversion of Hate," Oct. 22) in the most diverse county in the nation. Hate crime laws are necessary to ensure that all people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, are protected from others who hate them. The article is an amazing effort to convince someone that hate crime laws are unnecessary. Should Dickey or his loved ones ever become victims of hate, which I hope never happens, he will wonder why he wasted his valuable and considerable talent in writing this article.

Lee Baca

Los Angeles County Sheriff

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My 5-year-old son was critically injured in the North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting on Aug. 10, 1999. Subsequent investigations and evidence have substantiated gunman Buford O. Furrow Jr.'s strong hatred of Jews and other minorities. After reading Dickey's article, I find it incomprehensible to compare Billy McCall's assault to actual hate crime attacks. While McCall's crime is troubling, he did not have an agenda to target a certain sect of people. Rather, he was an equal-opportunity hater.

You mention that hate crime legislation has been "an easy sell to legislatures" because [the laws were intended to] "punish synagogue bombers and Klan murderers." Lawmakers have been working tirelessly to assist in the passage of these laws. Media attention on hate crimes, focusing on such cases as that of James Byrd, Matthew Shepard and Joseph Ileto, has led to more awareness and education of our ever-changing society.

Eleanor Kadish

Via the Internet

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How refreshing to read a story that does not adhere to the usual politically correct party line. It dares to tell the truth about yet another well-meaning experiment gone wrong. With legislators and media looking for "feel-good" ideas to get behind, the chance of poorly thought-out legislation grows greater every day.

What I find amazing is the quiet acceptance by the ACLU and other professed civil libertarians. The civil rights violations by the hate crime statutes across the country are not even thinly veiled.

Tom G. Moore

Big Bear Lake

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