Colorado’s Hate Crimes Laws, Explained
In the wake of the violent attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, there has been a lot of criticism about hate crimes laws that have allowed for such attacks to occur without being prosecuted.
The attack in New York City on a gay nightclub called Pulse was not a hate crime and was not allowed to be labeled as such under Colorado’s laws.
However, in the case of the Florida shooting, the attack was classified by officials as a “hate crime,” and law enforcement was allowed to respond forcefully, even though it was not a hate crime. The New York attacker, Anders Behring Breivik, was let off, after his actions were deemed such a danger to society that he should be subject to a mental evaluation and psychiatric care.
The laws in these two cases have a lot in common, and you may have noticed yourself thinking, we need more of this in Colorado and more of it.
Both the Orlando and New York attacks were perpetrated by a white man with a history of having been bullied.
But before we go ahead and declare that white men are the absolute only people that hate, I would like to first explain the hate crime laws that exist in our state and to explain why, as a society, we need to protect ourselves from harm.
These laws were put in place in the mid-1990s. They are the result of the work of the Violence Prevention Research Center led by Dr. Michael Gove as part of the “Colorado’s Hate Crimes” initiative, which was created to ensure that Colorado’s hate crimes laws were being utilized in a way that would best combat bias, harassment, and violence, as well as to improve the mental health of the state’s residents.
In a sense, the Colorado’s Hate Crimes laws were intended to curb violence against LGBTQ2+ people. It’s an area where bias and hate are rampant and our law enforcement and legislators, including the governor and the attorney general, have recognized that. In the case of the New York attack, the laws were intended to curb violent behavior that has been historically linked to white supremacist groups.
We can all agree that such violence is never acceptable or to be condoned, yet how do we deal with the violence that we have seen in the last two years?
As our legislators try to figure that out, I’d