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Another Viewpoint: Hate Crimes

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In a recent editorial, KSL encouraged Utah lawmakers to pass a hate crimes law with teeth. “Anything less than listing specific groups,” we said, “would prove difficult to prosecute and essentially eviscerate the law.”

Forest A. Hansen of Salt Lake City disagreed with KSL’s view:

“Any crime committed against anyone should result in the same punishment; these laws already exist and perhaps all punishment should be made more severe and prompt to deter crime.

“’Equal punishment under the law’ should be our goal. To select any group and give them special protection for whatever reason (with the possible exception of children and physically or mentally handicapped) is constitutionally and morally wrong.”

M. Dale Bowers of Clinton shared a similar concern:

“’To punish more severely those criminals who perpetrate their hateful deeds’ is contrary to any sense of uniform justice. What this is calling for is punishment for their motives more than their actual acts and moves the burden of proof from the authority of constitutional law into the arena of psychological authority where opinions are very judgmental.”

We appreciate the contributions of Mr. Hansen and Mr. Bowers to the discussion of this vital issue. As always, a more complete text of their replies can be found on our website at

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