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Hate is in fact moving the modern society away from freedom and democracy, and it is imperative that remedial measures are taken immediately to combat this. (Shulman, 1997)
Some of the tools, other than legal options, can be education, and the promotion of social interaction between different groups. However, there are frequent criticisms of the law, stating that it is more 'reactive' than 'proactive', meaning that legal remedies are more often than not applied to actions that have already taken place, rather than preventing them, like for example, when a hate crime has already taken place, then the law can be applied. However, the law is far above being just a punitive measure to be taken whenever necessary; law, in the form of legal sanctions, or human rights laws, or laws meant for immigration, or the law made by a judge, also known as 'common law', is primarily meant to convey the important message to society about the inherent values of society, including decency, honesty, integrity, and tolerance.
In addition, the very fact that legal remedies do exist, and that these can be utilized when the need may arise, act as a deterrent against hate and bias activity, and although it is impossible to show through statistics exactly how many people were prevented form carrying out their hate crimes on account of the existing legislation on these crimes, it is indeed possible to quote certain anecdotes that may prove that legislation was a deterrent to the criminal. One of the best examples of this fact is the evidence provided by the 'hate telephone lines' in Toronto, and the activities related to them. For example, the most important provisions in the Criminal Code that addresses hate activities and crimes are the sections 318, 319, and 320. These deals with the imposition of a criminal sanction against promoting genocide, and also against promoting hatred against any particular group of people, and till today, not even one person has been charged with these crimes under this section, in Ontario. (Shulman, 1997)
Therefore, it can be stated that although laws and sanctions cannot 'protect' citizens from hate crimes, their very existence may prove to preventing these crimes form taking place, and there are, indeed, enough of sanctions and legislations to deal with these hate and bias crimes, and there is an option of creating more as and whenever necessary, when the specific need arises. There are certain specific guidelines to be followed while investigating hate crimes and these are specified under the various legislations related to them. The first one is to teach and guide the law enforcement officials who work on such cases, all about the various ethnic and minority groups that are in existence today, both within their organizations and outside, and this is because of the cross cultural and cross racial contacts that these officials would have with people, including suspects, victims, co-workers, and so on. (Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice)
The ADL, or the 'Ant-Defamation League', has long been one of the foremost and most important organizations that exist today, that are committed to fighting and averting and preventing hate and bias crimes, and this organization has developed certain guidelines in order to train the officers who work on these crimes, in such a way that they would be better prepared to do their jobs, since this particular job entails a cross mingling with multiple ethnic groups. The ADL has also successfully published a series of reports, on various hate crimes that date back to about twenty years, and it also has a website that would deal with any queries that officers may have on issues regarding hate crimes.
In addition, the ADL runs the 'World of Difference', a training program, which has successfully trained officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and from the Houston, Los Angeles, and the Yale University areas, in the ways and means to handle hate and bias crime issues. Besides, the ADL provides videos, it reports of hate crime statutes, and it also offers sample guidelines on how to deal with these crimes. (About ADL, Hate Crimes) There are a number of difficulties and pitfalls that may arise during the investigation of a hate crime, but the fact is that these problems may occur in any law enforcement national agency across the entire nation, and all that can be done is to remember a few basic guidelines, so that the problems may be overcome easily.
Therefore, if every law officer were to be trained to recognize a hate crime, and to respond appropriately, if a separate multi-agency task force were to be created, and if every available source of the state and of federal law assistance available were to be utilized for fighting hate crimes, then it would be infinitely easier to fight crimes of hate and bias. One example is the strong commitment that was made by the Sacramento Police Department, wherein the local, the state, and the federal law enforcement agencies all put their hands together to prevent and fight hate crimes, and this has also resulted in an awareness in the community, and this in fact, has been the most important development; when the community is involved, and the people can see that it is wrong to be biased and prejudiced against an individual just because of their color, or their sex, or their creed, or their religion, or their ethnicity, then it would be a matter of ease to prevent such heinous crimes from taking place. (Stopping Hate Crime, a Case History from the Sacramento Police Department)
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Prevention Act of 1998. United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Retrieved at http://hatemonitor.csusb.edu/Research_articles/levin02.html. Accessed on 22 July, 2005
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