If I assault you intentionally and maliciously, is that a crime? Yes. Should I be punished for such an action? Yes. Should it matter at all if you or I are or any particular group or category, chosen or not? No.
The whole concept of Hate Crimes is a lie based on a falsehood and the result is the devaluation of humanity in general. The concept of justice is based on the principle that all people are inherently equal. If it wasn’t than any arbiter of justice could decide arbitrarily to favor some and denigrate another, and that is obviously not justice. There should be no gradations in how justice is meted out besides those based on the type and severity of the crime and the intent of the guilty. The purpose of justice is to punish the criminal, not make the victim feel better. There are many institutions who work to help the victims, whose purpose it is to help the helpless, it is not the responsibility of justice. Justice is blind, and one must see to help.
The agenda behind the concept of Hate Crimes is to make some classes of people special in the administration of justice. Look north to Canada and see how it is now illegal to even speak anything which might be construed to be negative towards the homosexual lifestyle. Why is it not wrong to speak negatively of everybody? What you have now in Canada is injustice and inequality, in short you have a travesty. Even speaking established truth and fact plainly and without guile can get you jail time in Canada. Truth like the fact that AIDS is almost exclusively found in the homosexual/bisexual/pansexual/alternate-lifestyle community. The claims that everybody should fear AIDS because everybody gets it are lies. You contract AIDS primarily by engaging in promiscuous levels or and/or risky forms of sexual activity with members of the same gender or with people of the opposite gender who engaged in these behaviors. If I were a citizen of Canada, for those words above I would be violating federal Hate Crime law and would be subject to punishment, completely removed from the fact that the words I just wrote are confirmed, proven truth.
I am all for punishing criminals, but several points must be defined before I can call a person a criminal and deserving of or rightfully subject to punishment. Words are rarely crimes: unless accompanied by actions or following a life of suspect or criminal behavior in which the words are catalysts or statements of reasonably provable intent, or words whose specific intent is to incite wrongful violence. Facts and statements that are true and accurate do not incite violence within reasonable people. What happened to Matthew Shephard and the many other victims of violence against people who were homosexual was, is, and will always be wrong and criminal. Just as much as if the victims were any other person. Any variance in penalty assumes the superiority of certain people over others and is immoral and wrong.
Those who participated in those crimes have been punished. What more is needed?