Okay, so a student at Pace University has been arrested because he apparently threw some books in toilets back in the fall. As far as I know, he was not charged with stealing the books, and he has not been punished by the university for obstructing the septic system. (I don’t know if there is a rule against this at Pace, but there might be, and it would be, one would think, an internal issue in that case.) But rather he has been charged with a ‘hate crime,’ as the article I read put it.
So, let me figure something out here. If you put a book in a toilet, you are guilty of a hate crime, because the book happens to be a religious one? What if it were another book? A non-religious one? If I went to the US and threw Letter to a Christian Nation in a public toilet, would I be charged with a hate crime? I doubt it somehow. But regardless of that particular double standard, what is the crime? What exactly did the guy do? He threw a book (books?) into a toilet (toilets?). If the book was someone else’s property, and he didn’t have their permission to flush their book, then he stole it and he destroyed it. There is theft and there is destruction of private property. And, like I mentioned earlier, if the University has some ordinance about flushing certain things down toilets, then he may have to pay the University a fine or something, we could assume that. But I don’t know where the ‘hate crime’ thing comes in. Aside from the books themselves, and perhaps the owner of the books, who was harmed? Anyone who gets outraged over this wasn’t actually harmed, they are just acting, they want attention. I read somewhere someone had called Islam the “religion of perpetual outrage.” Well, my own view would tend towards the notion that Christianity could always be labeled that. I digress.
A guy threw books in toilets. He hasn’t done anything else. This is not a “hate crime.” (I am deliberately avoiding getting into whatever the hell a “hate crime” is exactly, because that is sticky shit.) If there is no law that says “you are not allowed to throw religious books in toilets, otherwise you will be convicted of a hate crime” or something to that effect, you cannot be – well, ‘should not be’ but ‘cannot be’ should be the appropriate language – charged with anything because no crime existed.
Supposedly, in our OECD world, a crime must exist before one can be guilty of it. But besides that, there shouldn’t be a law anywhere in the US or here that says “you are not allowed to throw religious books in toilets.” If the toilets are public, then there could be a “don’t obstruct public toilets” regulation. If the toilets are private, then it is obviously the owner’s decision about what he puts in hi s /her toilets. The actual thing being thrown in the toilet is irrelevant. The content of that thing does not determine whether flushing becomes a hate crime or not. If I happened to have religious ideas in my shit, would I be guilty of hate crimes when I flushed them into the sewers?
The world is bonkers.