Thursday, June 15, 2017

National Pasttime

Hate crimes. Stealing gum from the local five and dime. Running a stop sign. They don't seem like hate. Taking money from someone else. Running a stop sign and causing an accident. Holding up the local five and dime with a gun. Getting into a car and racing away from the scene of the crime and running a stop sign an accident. An accident the killed innocent victims.
We don't hear a lot about "guilty victims," do we?
Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot, along with four others were wounded when James T. Hodgkinson openend fire at a Washington D.C. baseball field. Innocent victims of a hate crime. It only takes a moment to look down the path to link Mister Hodgkinson to the hate cloud that swirls around not just our capitol, but our country and  our world. His presence on social media made it easy to link him to, Bernie Sanders, and any number of left-leaning causes.
Here is an American who was radicalized. Not by Islam, but by the anger, fear, and hate that has become part of our daily reckoning. And there was a gun. The fistfights and riots that have plagued our recent political discourse have made more commonplace the threat of violence. And hate. Left and right are coming together not to seek out common ground, but to beat one another to a pulp.
Or shoot to kill. 
Reports from the scene early on wanted to establish that the shooter acted alone. Leftist nutjob was the conclusion. Alone, but not alone. The rhetoric has ramped up on both sides to a point where this unthinkable thing has become reality. Well, not really unthinkable: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Gabby Giffords. That list is sadly far from complete. Damaris Alexandra Reyes Rivas was killed in Farifax, Virginia back in February. She died because of gang affiliations and turf conflicts that are easily identified as hate. Innocent victim? Probably. Like Gabby Giffords, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time: in front of the bullet that was fired fractions of a second before it went into her. 
Will there be more discussion about toning down the rhetoric on both sides? Of course. Will that make the hate go away? Words are powerful things. Be careful how we use them. 

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