The victim of the depraved crime captured in a Facebook Live video last week, a mentally disabled 18-year-old bound and gagged by tape, seemed confused and terrified as his assailants, at least one of whom he regarded as a friend, gleefully humiliated and tortured him. They cut off part of his scalp with a knife, punched and kicked him in the head, and forced him to drink toilet water, laughing all the while. According to Chicago police, the ordeal went on for hours.
Responding to an incident that was appalling in many ways, conservative commentators focused on skin color: The white victim’s black attackers could be heard cursing white people, prompting demands that they be charged with a hate crime. But that reaction, writes Jacob Sullum, illustrates how hate crime laws politicize criminal justice and foment social discord.