Maybe the most-recent outward symbol of hate will bolster our inner resolve to make a change. Maybe.

Nazi graffiti found spray painted at a Jewish synagogue last weekend in Carmel has been met by calls for passage of hate crime legislation in Indiana.

For too long Hoosier lawmakers have been content with giving only lip service to acts of hate. Their failure to act has left us self-righteous — we’re “shocked” and “saddened” at these “senseless” acts — but impotent.

No more, if Gov. Holcomb has his way. He responded to the hate vandalism with determined eloquence.

“No law can stop evil, but we should be clear that our state stands with the victims and their voices will not be silenced,” Holcomb said. “For that reason it is my intent that we get something done this next legislative session, so Indiana can be 1 of 46 states with hate crimes legislation—and not 1 of 5 states without it.”

The other four states void of hate crimes laws are Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Past efforts found Hoosier legislators stumbling over wording that would seem to protect some victims and not others.

That’s a copout.

Many imperfect laws serve as deterrents to criminal activity.

And hate crimes can happen anywhere in the state. We’ve had our own examples in Southern Indiana, where gravestones have been defiled by anti-Semitic vandalism and people have been targets of intolerance and hate simply because of their ethnicity or their relationships.

Encourage the lawmakers who represent you in the Indiana General Assembly to support passage of a hate crimes bill in the next legislative session.

If they can’t figure out the wording on their own — they have 45 examples to emulate.

It’s time we stand with the many rather than sit on our hands with the few.

— The News and Tribune editorial board is comprised of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editor Chris Morris, Assistant Editor Jason Thomas and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.

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