I read that Matthew Shepard was a meth dealer and because of this his death was not a hate crime but a drug altercation. It has been determined that Treyvon Martin was not killed because he was a black kid in a hoodie but because he attacked a person who was carrying a loaded gun. We know the court decided that Emmit Till was killed not because he was a black boy in a white hegemony, but because he whistled at a white girl.
These and other examples are used as a way to invalidate laws that specially prosecute hate crimes. Many people say that all crimes are hate crimes. Many say that people like McKinney and Henderson are the real victims, victims of a society that would give the real criminals like Shepard, Martin and Till special rights. There are people who think that all crimes are hate crimes.
To the later first, as it is the most scary, most crimes, even homicides, are not hate crimes. When one steals money from you, there is often nothing personal, it is just that they want more stuff. For example, the banker who steals homes using mortgage fraud may prey on people he or she feel are easy victims, but that in no way implies hate. As far as murder, many of these are simply random acts or people who know and seem to like one another, or again, simply about money.
What about giving special rights to special people, and make previously honest people criminals? Well, in a way this is true. There was a time when an honest person, such as the police officers who would rough up gay bar patrons in New York, could do so with the full protection of the law. This was a bad thing. To correct this we not only had to insure that they laws applied to everyone, but also create a situation in which those who continued to feel the law would protect them would get the message that they were in a new world. So yes, rights are being granted and taken away. White people no longer have the right to kill misbehaving black people, and black people now have the right to live. Obviously the people who have rights removed are going to be angry.
That anger has backlash. One is focusing on Shepard as an alleged drug dealer. It makes it seem that hate laws are protecting criminals, rather than creating a situation where traditionally targeted group now receive extra protection so others are encouraged not to target them. Or the shooting on the playground this past weekend in Chicago, where it is made clear it was drug related. Compare that to the shooting at the Navy Yard, where the shooter and the victims were both a result of flawed mental health system.
More backlash can be seen in stand your ground laws. There was a time when one could drive around with loaded gun, or whatever is your torture device of choice, find marginal people, and kill them. Now one needs an excuse. Like the security guard who told a shopkeeper he could be there in a minute if they needed anyone shot. It is almost to the point you can't shoot a stranger in your own home.
Which is where Stand You Ground laws come in. These laws allow people who are looking to murder people the protection they need. As Treyvon Martin showed, an average person can drive around in his truck with a loaded gun, harass innocent bystanders, and why they fight back kill them. The downside of this is that anyone can do this, and kill anyone, even a white man. However, as recent cases have shown, the law can be applied selectively which means that we all know that the protected classes are still protected. And the only hope for everyone else is the hate crime laws.