Who cares what the shooter’s motive was? What matters in society, the reason we call it a hate crime, is because of what it communicates to society. In other words, it encourages ethnic hatred and engenders terror, simply if it’s perceived as ethnically motivated.

Said another way, I don’t care what his motive was; I care about how society regards it.

Really, this is a guy who got massages and was conflicted with his religion, and so shot up three Asian spas. In other words, he was nuts. Why parse it all, much less to his advantage? Eight Americans were deprived of their Constitutional right to life, and in the most brutal and unexpected way. They had no time to prepare. They went to work one morning, and that was that.

A random shooting is a shooting. It’s awful, but that doesn’t make it an ethnically-motivated hate crime. It’s still hate, though. So, it’s not like we’re being unfair to the shooter if we prosecute it as a hate crime. This is what I can’t get my head around. Oh, we’re not going to prosecute you as much as we would have, because, although it looks like a hate crime, we just can’t prove it?

Let’s feel sorry for mass shooters, I guess, now.

Yes, a hate crime is worse, because it suggests that the concentration of the shooting, or hate crime, is intentional. Terrifying an ethnic group. As opposed to all society, which reasonably assumes a far greater distribution of risk.

But, if a shooting looks like a hate crime, who cares if it wasn’t meant as a hate crime? Call it a hate crime, because it achieves the same damage, societally.

Racists won’t believe it was a hate crime anyway. It’s not like racists are sitting around saying, “oh yeah, that prosecution for a hate crime was fair, but that one wasn’t.”

What, you say? That might send a message to would-be shooters that if you shoot people and it looks like it might have been racial, we don’t have to actually prove it, we can just find you guilty of it, even if it turns out it wasn’t? Like, without hoping that you actually come out and admit it, if it turns out that it was, to you?

Yup!

Why is this even in debate? Is his punishment possibly going to be harsher if it was a hate crime? If not, then prosecute it as a hate crime, particularly. I don’t think this guy is going anywhere for the rest of his life, other than a jail cell, anyway.