Why I’m leery of “Hate Crime” laws, Chapter n:

Last month, Libby Schaaf, the white mayor of Oakland, California, announced that ropes had been found hanging from trees around a local lake. “These incidents will be investigated as a hate crime,” she said at a press conference. “I want to be clear, regardless of the intentions of whoever put those nooses in our public trees, in our sacred public space here in Oakland, intentions don’t matter.”

An investigation revealed that the five ropes had nothing to do with lynching: They were homemade exercise equipment, used by adults and children, put up months earlier by a black resident, Victor Sengbe. He explained his intent at a press conference: “It was really a fun addition to the park.”

But this happy conclusion was of no interest to Schaaf. The actual purpose of the ropes did not “remove nor excuse their torturous and terrorizing effects,” she said in a statement, and the incident would continue to be investigated as a hate crime …

Emily Yoffe, A Taxonomy of Fear (Persuasion)