Did Shia LaBeouf commit a love crime?

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

As you have probably heard, this is the name of the 24/7 live stream launched by actor/performance artist Shia LaBeouf and co. on the day of President Trump’s inauguration, with the purpose of inviting the public to deliver the words HWNDU as a means of sending a message to the new administration. Unsurprisingly, he was arrested on Wednesday evening following an altercation with a guy who said ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’ on camera, and the incident fired up my neurons.

Should this criminal act be categorised as a love crime?

hwndu
Shia LaBeouf at the scene of the He Will Not Divide Us art project

There was a flurry of such crimes during and following the inauguration. A limousine was torched in downtown Washington, which, hilariously enough, belonged to the company of a muslim immigrant. You’ve all seen or read what happened to Richard Spencer. All of these crimes were committed as a backlash against the sometimes divisive, sometimes outright hateful rhetoric or actions of Trump or his supporters. One could argue that LaBeouf et al. committed these crimes as an act of love and solidarity towards americans of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people, or anyone who might feel threatened by the hate some Trump supporters have shown them. And the antithesis of hate is, of course, love.

Since hate is usually an aggravating factor in sentencing (whether consciously or unconsciously by the judge or the jury), why shouldn’t love factor in as well? While doing some research for this post, I’ve found Smart Ass Cripple’s excellent blog, and he tackled the subject of love crimes (admittedly, in a different approach), and there were some instances where defendants claimed the love defense. Who knows, maybe this will become the new Chewbacca defense in the age of Trump?

chewbacca
South Park Season 2, Episode 14: “Chef Aid”

I’m not advocating that LaBeouf or various violent protesters should get milder punishment, and I don’t want more crimes of this type. This is merely some food for thought for hungry readers.

Bon appétit!

As always, any and all feedback is much appreciated. Don’t be gentle, I like my criticism raw and wild!

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