Jail and Amish Haircuts

It’s been in the news lately about a nasty disagreement in an Amish community where a group of people forcibly cut another Amish man’s beard.  To the Amish, beards are somewhat sacred, so the perpetrators were charged with a hate crime and some sentenced to long jail terms (one got 15 years!).  It’s not like he was a gay Amish man.  Can you commit a “hate crime” on someone of your own race/religion/gender identity?  Would a black man who attacked another black man be charged with a hate crime?  What if two gay men have an altercation and one is injured, would that be a hate crime?  What about two white women engaged in a hair pulling battle?

I have a couple of problems with this being labeled a “hate crime.”  First, the obvious, if you attack one of your own can you be charged with a hate crime?  Another is the fact that these otherwise peaceful, self-governing people are now going to jail.  Talk about culture shock!  This Amish man has no chance in prison!  To me 15 years in jail for an otherwise peaceful, law abiding person is a death penalty.  These people who were charged and jailed are probably already experiencing some severe shock and awe.  I imagine very few of the Amish have ever seen a jail, not even on TV, since they don’t have TVs.  How can this Amish man live among rapists and robbers and murderers?  For cutting a man’s beard??

There are people in prison now for rape doing only 7 years.  Manslaughter charges get people less time!  This is truly ridiculous.  I’m not saying the people who attacked the man should go scott free.  But let’s be reasonable here.  Oh, wait, there is nothing reasonable about our justice system.  Pot dealers are considered to be just as bad as the crack dealers.  I recall one marijuana case where a 70+ year old grandmother was sentenced to something like 25 years on (I think) a trafficking charge.  Really?  Exactly how big a threat was a 90 lb old lady to the rest of the public?  She was growing in her yard, true.  She was selling it, true. She wasn’t some Mexican drug lord pushing tons of dope into the US! 

I think the laws in the US are mostly absurd.  Pot smokers go to jail for ten years, a rapist gets sentenced to 7 and does 2 years and gets out early because of good behavior, or because the jail is too crowded,.  ALL the jails in the US are too crowded.  Mostly as a result of the stupid “War on Drugs” over the past 30 years.  In the US marijuana is classed as a dangerous drug, right up there with Heroin.  The only danger you face is being stuck behind a doper in the drive-thru while the one guy orders enough food for a large family.  And do druggies get rehab in jail?  NO.  Do they get out early?  Most times, NO.  (Unless maybe they committed rape also, then maybe they get out early for good behavior.)

Now we are putting Amish people in jail for a bad haircut. I believe laws are too black and white.  There is no common sense involved any more.  To a cop I’m no different than a murderer simply because I smoke a little pot.  (Statistic:  Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans.)  Nothing is bigger news than a big pot bust.  You know why they make bit pot busts?  Because most growers are dopers and being dopey you make mistakes.  Pot smells.  A lot of pot smells a lot.  It’s easy to find.  That’s why they bust the dopers.  It’s easier than catching rapists or your run of the mill murderer.

I’m about ready to resign from the human race until sense becomes common again.

10 thoughts on “Jail and Amish Haircuts

  1. It seems that our laws are so lopsided and I too get angry when the more violent crimes seems to get the lighter sentences or they get probation or out early….It is also obvious to me it depends on how much money you have and so can afford a high price lawyer…… How they can call cutting a beard off a ‘hate crime’ and not call all the other abuse crimes ‘hate’ crimes is beyond me… It always seems so complex to get these laws changed or properly enforced…with wisdom and like you say ‘common sense’….Diane

  2. A little deeper look into the actual definition of a “hate crime” (various online sites) may help to clear up some, but not all, of the problems you have concerning what a hate crime is or is not. One example — You ask, “Can you commit a “hate crime” on someone of your own race/religion/gender identity? The short answer is YES. There is no legal requirement that the perpetrator and the victim be of DIFFERENT social groups.

    It is significant that the defense in the prominent conviction you cite did NOT in any way base his defense on any presumed illegality of an Amish perpetrator being accused of a hate crime against an Amish victim.

    I agree that there is much inequity in sentencing, dubious justice, and outdated legal precepts in our criminal justice system. However, with due respect, I believe justice was served in the case under discussion.



    1. Very interesting. Thanks for commenting. I do realize that by law the verdict is just. I just think in this case it is unnecessarily harsh.

      I have read a bit more about this group and some of the members claim he ruled like a dictator, and operated cult-like, so perhaps there is more to it than what has been reported–which is so often the case.

      Still I feel very badly for an Amish person to go to prison. (Actually, I feel badly for everyone sentenced to prison. A horrible place I never want to visit.) I wonder how it will be for them. Maybe I’ll find out…you never know, “Amish In Prison” could be the next reality show! lol

      Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      1. Linda, I was so glad to see your comment! I feared that the apparent tone in my written reply would be misinterpreted and you would be angry with me. I didn’t mean to be brusque or snotty, which is the way it sounds even to me now on second or third reading. Thanks for your kindness and for still being my friend. 🙂



      2. You’re anything but snotty and brusque. You were honest about your feelings. I will always allow your valued opinion, whether I agree with it or not. I think you and I are entitled to disagree sometimes.

        I hope you will always be my friend.


      3. You’ve been my friend from the beginning of my “Randa…” blog even when you had no reason to be interested in CD. That speaks volumes about the kind of person you are.


        -R- 😛

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