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  • The story of a hate crime

    The New Yorker - 06/19/2015

    According to F.B.I. statistics, only a small minority of the people who commit hate crimes are affiliated with an intolerant group. Jack McDevitt, a criminologist at Northeastern University who studies hate crimes, thinks that Hicks’s act should be classified as one. “With hate crimes, it’s not always an either/or,” he said. “You can decide you want to rob someone, for instance, but only someone you perceive to be gay, because maybe you think they’ll be less likely to go to the police, or only an immigrant, because you think the police won’t take it as seriously. In this case, he’s angry about the way people around him live, but he’s chosen these specific people because they also represent a religion he’s intolerant of.” According to McDevitt, one factor that the F.B.I. considers when assessing a possible hate crime is whether “the level of violence is more than what is required to do the crime.” By that light, the fact that Hicks fired a number of shots and pressed his gun to the women’s heads seems relevant.

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