Your Opinion: Hateful speech, action linked

Dear Editor:

Hatred is a debilitating, contagious disease. It is spread both through hate speech and by the actions of those who were infected sometime after birth. It is not inherited. It is taught and can be cured only by the unceasing application of love. When love is allowed to lapse, hate re-infects us. Thus constant vigilance is required.

Horrible examples of the results of run-away hatred are reported on a daily basis. The one that prompted this letter happened in the United States just a short time ago. (There is no need to name the state since it could have happened anywhere.) In this case several teenage men set out in their trucks to find a black man to assault.

They drove down the highway until they spotted a man who qualified standing alone outside a motel. They parked their trucks nearby and the seven men took turns brutally beating the man. When they had satisfied their hatred they returned to their trucks and prepared to leave.

Unfortunately, the driver of one of the trucks saw the man stagger to his feet and decided that all of his hatred had not yet been requited. He accelerated his truck and jumping over a curb deliberately ran over and killed his victim. The event was captured on a security camera on the corner of the building. I heard (and saw) this report on CNN. I assume it is factual.

The question that comes to my mind is: “who taught these young men to hate?” Why did they focus on a man’s race? Why did they choose violence to express their hatred? Did they really feel proud of what they did? Did they see themselves as righteous?

As a society we have a lot to ponder. This event is not an isolated story. In my opinion, because no one is without some degree of guilt, everyone who displays hatred could be said to be an accessory to the consequences of hateful behavior. All we need to do in keep reminding ourselves that there is a cure if only we were determined to use it.

How about asking our elected officials and those who aspire to become one to remove hate speech from their public (as well as private) speeches? That would be a start. After all it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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