Some people want to label the shooting at Kroger last week as a hate crime because the white shooter targeted black people.

Others want to call the Pittsburgh shooting a hate crime because the shooter killed Jewish people in a synagogue.

Labeling these horrific events as "hate crimes" could seem to be redundant or obvious. After all, why would anyone murder innocent people if they didn't have hate in their heart?

So why have some leaders called for these killings to be labeled "hate crimes?"

Hate crime prosecution can be seen as the highest form of intolerance toward hateful acts. We cannot outlaw hate, but laws shape attitudes, and attitudes influence behavior.

A killer can face more severe penalties if the prosecutor can demonstrate that the victims were intentionally targeted on the basis of their personal characteristics. For example, if a state convicts but doesn't impose the death sentence, the feds can try the killer again for a hate crime.

I favor capital punishment, not as much as a deterrent, but as a way to eradicate irredeemable people from the face of the earth if two conditions are met. One, the crime must be so heinous that we would never consider allowing the criminal back into society. And two, he or she must be guilty beyond any doubt.

I think both criteria are met in the Louisville and Pittsburgh shootings.

What are your thoughts?

I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.

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