'Puter really can't improve much on Czar's rant on the drunk-liberal-New-York-film-student-stabs-anti-mosque-Muslim-cabbie-and-the-liberal-media-reflexively-blames-conservatives story. Instead, 'Puter wanted to focus on a legal aspect of the story.
New York has charged Michael Enright, the aforementioned liberal idiot, with "attempted [second degree] murder as a hate crime" for his drunken acts. See, New York Penal Code § 485.05, for those of you playing along at home.
'Puter's got no beef with the attempted murder part of the charge. After all, slitting someone's neck with a Leatherman seems to hit pretty much all the prima facie case requirements for attempted second degree murder. See, New York Penal Code §§ 110.00, 125.25. It's the hate crime portion that bugs 'Puter.
You're putting a man in jail for a longer time based on what he thinks, rather than what he does. See, New York Penal Code §485.10. Do a bigoted murderer's thoughts make a person more dead? Is a regular, non-hatey murderer's victim somehow less dead? If not, then there is no legitimate reason for the state to discriminate between the two.
New Yorkers are free to be bigots. There's no legitimate state interest in punishing bigotry. Once your bigotry crosses into criminal action, of course you should be punished. But for, and only for, your criminal acts, not for your inane bigotry. Of course society is free to, and often does, make bigots social pariahs on its own, which is exactly as it should be. There's no need for state-enforced thought police.
Then there's the problem of proof. How do you prove what was going through the murderer's head? Even New York's Forever Mayor, Mighty Mike Bloomberg, recognizes the fundamental problem:
Asked if he thought the attack was related to controversy over plans to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, Bloomberg said he didn't know. "I wasn't in the cab," said Bloomberg, "I don't know what was going through anybody's mind. Whether it was related to anything or not it was disgraceful."
In other words, the act itself is so heinous, motivation should not be an issue. Mr. Enright intended to slash a Muslim cabbie's throat, and did so, endangering the cabbie's life. Why Mr. Enright did so matters not.
Once we give the state the power to criminalize thought at all, it's a short trip to criminalizing other thought objectionable to our elected betters. And that's just not a world in which 'Puter wants to live.