Should Attacks Against the Homeless be Classified as Hate Crimes?
That's what Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, is trying to do today.
The OC resident is in Washington, D.C. today because he just testified before a Senate committee to argue that attacks against the homeless be labeled a hate crime. He testified at the invitation of Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), who is trying to pass such a bill, currently titled the Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act.
Such a bill has long been a goal for Levin, who spends most of his time tracking skinheads, anti-Semites and anyone who's a hater, whethergabacho
or brown. "Access to objective, official data is crucial for our society to assess the scope of criminality, implement policies and allocate resources" to help the homeless from being victims of crime, an protect people who are living homeless, Levin saidaccording to a news account
Though homelessness is obviously not an ethnicity, a gender, a sexual orientation, or any of the other groups currently protected under hate-crime legislation, Levin has shown in the past stats showing most homeless people are targeted and ridiculed because of their status, in a way different and distinct from other social classes.