I understand the law. Hate crimes are very narrowly defined. Multiple lawyers on various cable news outlets and many newspapers explained why the below letter, though offensive, is not a hate crime. Read the below:
To the lady living at this address:
I also live in this neighbourhood and have a problem!!!! You have a kid that is mentally handicapped and you consciously decided that it would be a good idea to live in a close proximity neighbourhood like this???? You selfishly put your kid outside everyday and let him be a nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else with that noise polluting whaling he constantly makes!!! That noise he makes when he is outside isDREADFUL!!!!!!!!!!! It scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!!! When you feel your idiot kid needs air, take him to our park you dope!!! We have a nature trail!!! Let him run around those places and make noise!!!!!! Crying babies , music, and even barking dogs are normal sounds in a residential neighbourhood!!!!!! He is NOT!!!!!!!!!!!
He is a nuisance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally they should take whatever non retarded body parts he possesses and donate it to science. What the hell else good is he to anyone!!! You had a retarded kid, deal with it...properly!!!!!! What right do you have to do this to hard working people!!!!!!! I HATE people like you who believe, just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!!!! GOD!!!!!!!
Do everyone in our community huge a [sic] favour and MOVE!!!!! VAMOSE!!!!! SCRAM!!!!! Move away and get out of this type of neighbourhood setting!!! Go live in a trailer or something with your wild kid!!! Nobody wants you living here and they don't have the guts to tell you!!!!!!
Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!! Either way, we are ALL better off!!!
One pissed off mother!!!!!
I am one pissed off cripple thanks to my son. I am angry because this is not a hate crime. This is a classic example of how disability is always somehow different. Disability in terms of civil rights raises a level of complexity people are ill equipped to analyze. No powerful symbols associated with disability rights are known to the general public. There is no Martin Luther King of disability rights that touched the hearts and minds of the nation. Bra burning women put feminism on the national news. Equal work for equal pay and gender equality became part of the national conscious. We as a people accepted women have the right to control their reproduction. We people with a disability need comparable singular moment in time. Those in disability rights are well aware such events have taken place. But this has not resonated--not even the ADA. Most people have a hazy idea a law was passed a long time ago and it solved all the problems disabled people like me encounter.
I try to put myself in the mind set of a lawyer. The letter above, a lawyer would maintain, is directed at a single individual. It is not hate speech inciting violence against a group or class of people. The letter is not a burning cross on the lawn of a black family in an all white neighborhood. While the letter is vile, it does not meet the letter of the law as a hate crime is currently defined. Canadian authorities are investigating the matter and trying to determine if it falls under a different criminal code. I get this sort of legal thinking and do not like it. I think it is very reasonable to assume the letter was directed at one person with Autism. What the law fails to do is take the next step--specifically the letter could have been directed at any person with Autism or other disability. In my estimation we people with a disability are a distinct an insular minority group. One of the members of my class of people was subjected to a hateful act. The next step, violence, I think is a real concern had the letter not gone viral. I consider this letter to be a threat to me and all people with a disability. It is without question an effort to undermine the civil rights of all people with a disability. Few get this. My thinking may lack the rigor of the law, a separate language I do not speak, but it is at minimum the sign of a much larger problem. The sooner we address the problem, violations of the civil rights of people with a disability, the better off all people will be.