§ 18.2-57. Assault and battery.
A. Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.
B. However, if a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.
A criminal who randomly targets people is given a less harsh punishment than a criminal who targets people due to their race. A criminal who targets people who wear red clothes somehow does not deserve as harsh a punishment as a criminal who targets people of a certain religion. A criminal who assaults someone for looking at them in the 'wrong way' is no less of a criminal than one who assaults someone for having skin colored the 'wrong way.' Yet the criminals who target people randomly or target people based on some other factor are no kinder or gentler than the criminal who has a politically incorrect motive.
Virginia extends the Class 6 felony classification to a simple assault on someone whom the assailant knew or had reason to know was a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, or rescue squad member, and requires a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months if convicted. Is is any worse for a criminal to assault a police officer than to assault the grandmother down the street? Are the police officer's rights violated more than the grandmother's simply because of his profession?
If we are going to have hate crime laws, why stop at only race, religion, color or national origin? Perhaps some criminals target only people under 5'5" or perhaps they only target people with blonde hair. Perhaps some criminals target people who speak with accents or people who are over 60 years old. Perhaps the criminal targets anyone that he finds annoying. Truth be told, it really doesn't matter much to us why someone's rights were violated. We are only concerned with the fact that the criminal violated someone's rights and the likelihood that the criminal will continue to violate the rights of others.
Hate crime legislation does nothing to decrease hate, and cannot be shown to decrease the amount of crime committed as a result of hate. Its purpose is merely to make a political statement that certain types of intolerant thought should not be tolerated.