Burning McCain and Hanging Palin is Not a ‘Hate Crime’

In the West Hollywood area, one home is drawing an extraordinary amount of attention, much of it negative because it depicts two mannequins, one wearing a John McCain mask and engulfed in flames and another dressed down to the glasses and conservative red suit mimicking Palin hanging by a noose.  The LA Times reported on this story.

Speaking for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Steve Whitmore said:

"I’m not defending this; I’m not criticizing it. It doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime."

And, I must agree with Mr. Whitmore 100%.  While I would never put this display in my yard, I applaud law enforcement for recognizing that this is a free speech issue and nothing more.  A hate crime is one directed against a person.  Clearly, there is no victim in this instance, only tacky decorations.

In fact, Texas defines a hate crime as follows:

… crimes that are motivated by prejudice, hatred, or advocacy of violence….

Federally, hate crimes are defined as:

…crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability.

With this display, there is no crime, thus there is nothing to "enhance" with the "hate crime" statute.

Look for yourselves, here are the pictures… love it? hate it? Either way, this is not a crime.