Wednesday, Aug. 25, 1999 | 9:34 a.m.
I grew up near Skokie, Ill., just outside of Chicago. I remember the Nazi protest when I was a young man.
I also remember one of my childhood Jewish friends being persecuted by another childhood friend of Irish/Hispanic Catholic decent. I did not comprehend the hate at that young age, but I sure did feel it.
The last time I checked, I thought I was living in America. The land where we are supposed to be permitted to be of different religions and cultures without the fear of being persecuted.
So, what's the deal? Hate crimes? I don't know of too many love crimes except, maybe, when one pulls the plug on a loved one who would have been hooked up to machines until the insurance runs out.
All crimes must be prosecuted equally and with the full force of the law. The standard procedure of plea bargaining and skirting the law by judges is what encourages perpetuation of such senseless acts.
If you hate some ethnic or religious group, why not just move away? That's what I would do. Why live in an area where people reside that you hate?
Why bother with confrontation. It's a big country we live in, and there is much space available. The diversity of people in cities rule in large numbers, like it or not.
AL DI CICCO