Hate, the book: 212

Hello Curious Friend.  Welcome to my book about Hate.  The number tells you where you are in the sequence.  I look forward to your comments.

Part Five
Chapter Thirty
Offense     (Continued)

Lots of famous people have already suggested this.

That they hadn’t forgiven Rodney King for “harming” them after his arrest should not be a surprise.  They reacted with emotion.  They reacted with adrenalin.  And they acted in a way that, in their eyes, allowed them to protect and serve the public.

So in a very real sense, the first source of hate in this particular play is Rodney King.

We could analyze this more deeply by considering his upbringing and driving training, but in this case it would be mostly irrelevant.

We could also try to re-evaluate society’s attitudes towards late-night drinking and speeding, but that is also mostly irrelevant.

What is relevant here is that the true source of hate had been overshadowed by what happened afterwards.  As a result, rapidly escalating events caused every party in this play to become both source and target, depending on the perception of the observer.

All from a simple traffic stop.

Now let’s look at a far more complicated issue where hate often rears its ugly head: abortion in the USA.  One of the more infamous actors in this area is Eric Rudolph.  From 1996 to 1998 in Atlanta, George, he bombed the Olympic Park, two abortion clinics, and a lesbian bar.

Result: two people dead, 120 injured.  ((Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Rudolph))

No doubt he is mentally troubled and may fit the same mold as our Bible study group killer.  However, for our purposes here, he is also a good example of how direct confrontation becomes very complex and is not a good response to hate.

Consider his background.  He lost his father at a young age.  His mother moved the family shortly afterward.  He struggled in school, but eventually earned a high school equivalency certificate.  Afterward, he joined the army but was discharged for marijuana use.

The most noteworthy part of his past, the one that sheds the most light on the ultimate source of hate here, occurred when he was 18.  That’s when he and his mother spent time at a Christian identity compound, the Church of Israel, which the Anti-Defamation League includes in its list of extremist groups. ((Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Israel))

Eleven years later, at 29, he began his career as a bomber.

It’s possible his time at Church of Israel influenced his ideas about right and wrong, especially with respect to abortion and homosexuality.

After living on the run for six years as a prime suspect in the bombings, he was finally arrested in 2003 and later convicted.  Now, he writes from prison, justifying his actions.

As soldiers in the war on hate, it’s instructive for us to look at his deeds and their impact more closely.

First, he continues to foment hate through his writings.  He firmly believes that abortions are wrong, and that violence is an acceptable way to try to stop them.

Society has put him away for four consecutive life sentences for the bombings.  Yet he continues propagating hate, and through his writings may well be influencing other radical people to continue his work.

Should we take away his right to free speech to prevent him from influencing others to kill innocent people?  Should he be allowed to spew hate from prison?

To be continued …

 

Hate, the book: 211

Hello Curious Friend.  Welcome to my book about Hate.  The number tells you where you are in the sequence.  I look forward to your comments.

Part Five
Chapter Thirty
Offense     (Continued)

Lots of famous people have already suggested this.

Blood tests five hours after arrest showed his alcohol level at 0.19%, double the legal limit.  Afterwards, the troopers were indicted for assault charges.  None of the charges were upheld, and the troopers were free by April 1992.  Also in April of 1992, the Los Angeles riots begin in response to the acquittal of the officers.

Those riots claimed 53 lives.

Where is the hate in each of these instances?  If we work backwards, we can see that the riots revealed a great divide between the people who were rioting and the forces of government trying to restore order.  Many of those who died perished at the hands of other rioters, but that is not the point.

The point is that hate appeared in the form of what was perceived by many to be denied justice, and a small but potent form of anarchy ensued.  What was the true source of that hate?

Could it have been the fact that the officers were declared innocent?  In this strange sense, to those people who rioted, acquitting the officers was a hateful act.  The court became the source, and the people the target.  Their rioting was a reaction to that court’s hate.

But was that the true source?  Those officers ended up in court because they were accused of doing something beyond the proper execution of their jobs.

They were also filmed by someone.  Could that video have been considered a hateful act?  Could their lack of proper police training have been considered a hateful act?  To the officers accused of excessive force, the answer to both questions is yes.  These points may have played a part in their defense, as without the video it is unlikely that they would have been accused of using excessive force in the first place.  With better training they would have used the proper amount of force, and no more.

But why did they resort to excessive force in the first place?

Let’s review what happened.

Rodney King was driving recklessly, which put himself in danger, as well as his passengers, other drivers and the police officers who were trying to stop him.  The troopers routinely put their own safety on the line in order to protect the public.  It is not a “stress-free” occupation.

Despite repeated attempts to get him to pull over, Rodney King refused.  In fact, he drove even more recklessly, which prompted police to again order him to pull over.  Finally, after many more police cars joined the chase, Rodney King relented.

As we analyze this event to determine the source of hate here, it’s paramount we remain mindful of our definition of hate: intent to harm.  It’s clear that Rodney King acted in a hateful manner towards society, towards his passengers, and towards all those officers who gave chase.

Should they have let their emotions influence their actions when they finally pinned him to the ground?  Should they have gotten “in his face?”

Most certainly not.

Should they be forgiven for roughing him up once they had him safely secured?  If we had, the people killed in the subsequent riots may still be alive if we had.

To be continued …

 

Hate, the book: 210

Hello Curious Friend.  Welcome to my book about Hate.  The number tells you where you are in the sequence.  I look forward to your comments.

Part Five
Chapter Thirty
Offense     (Continued)

Lots of famous people have already suggested this.

There’s another reason.  Again, if you are the target, the source might be a lot trickier than you.

If your hater, the source, is pretty smart, they might be able to make it look like you were the true source of hate.

If the public then perceives you are the source, that means they believe the true source is the target.  That gives them sympathy and protection.

Meanwhile, you get doubly punished.  First, and secretly, you were a target of hate.  Then the source turns the tables on you, and you become publicly perceived as a hater.  What do you do?

That’s why you have to be careful if you attempt direct confrontation in response to hate.  Anyone who can turn your own words and actions against you should be respected, if not feared.

If there is so much that doesn’t work regarding direct confrontation, why do so many people keep doing it?

Because it feels good; it’s how most of us are conditioned to respond.

It plays on our emotions.  It’s physical, instantaneous, and everyone can see the results.  We instantly defend, and possibly preserve our honor in the process.

A million years ago the biggest thing our ancestors had to worry about was getting eaten.  The immediate threat of becoming a meal triggered a surge of adrenalin, and that gave us a burst of super energy allowing us to survive for another day.

Our body rewarded us with euphoria.  We had another chance to raise a family.  That’s why we still get “in your face.” Everything about our biology is designed to encourage this.

And that’s why it’s so hard to find another way to respond to hate.

What other ways are there?  Can there always be a more intellectual approach?

Unfortunately, most of the time the challenge of fighting hate can’t be intellectual.  Most of the time, our response to hate is emotionally based.  And emotions don’t like intellectual arguments.

Finally, there are those who do understand enough about hate to treat it intellectually.

But many are also smart enough to manipulate the thoughts of their followers in order to get them to behave the way they want.  Radical religious leaders come to mind.  Nationalist politicians are another.

Does all this seem a bit too general?  Let’s use some real world examples as to how a single, obvious event quickly becomes confusing.

Let’s start in the USA with a traffic violation that happened in March of 1991 in Los Angeles.

A car driven by Rodney King was speeding down the highway.  A state trooper tried to pull it over, but the driver refused and drove even faster.  The troopers called for help, protecting innocent drivers also on the highway, while asking the driver to pull over.  As the situation escalated, other troopers joined in the chase.

The car eventually pulled over.  The troopers removed him from the car and put him on the ground.

Then they beat him, repeatedly.  Their actions were filmed.

The driver was arrested and taken to jail.

To be continued …

 

Hate, the book: 209

Hello Curious Friend.  Welcome to my book about Hate.  The number tells you where you are in the sequence.  I look forward to your comments.

Part Five
Chapter Thirty
Offense     (Continued)

Lots of famous people have already suggested this.

Each succeeding generation has been more tolerant of skin color than the previous one, and that’s wonderful for a fundamental reason.

The color of your skin has nothing to do with your quality as a person.  It doesn’t have to do with the underlying quality of anyone.  Judging a person by skin color is a terrible way to measure that person’s worth.  Yet it’s what many people do unthinkingly.

So, offense means teaching kids.  It’s NOT being aggressively in a hater’s face.  It’s NOT fighting back against a hater.  It’s NOT even about attending sit-ins, protests or other public displays.

Direct Confrontation

I mentioned this briefly a while ago, but it deserves a bit more attention now.

In the USA, we say we should “get in your face” when we have a disagreement with you.  This is American slang for direct confrontation.

A big part of Western culture, especially in the USA, has always been a tendency to impose our “righteous” values on others.  “Frontier Justice,” we used to call it in the days of the Old West.

We are taught from a young age to put up an instant wall between ourselves and the forces of hate that threaten us, our loved ones, and our way of life.  Whether you meet bullies at school, bureaucrats, or terrorists, it makes no difference to us as Americans.  If you get in our face, we’ll get in yours.

How does that work out?

Not well.  Lots of innocent people get hurt succumbing to this kind of thinking.  Many wrong decisions result.  It may feel good emotionally to let out aggression, but the results generally are not good.

Violence begets violence.

In the USA in recent years, we have tempered this attitude a little.  We found it’s best to rely more on our slow and archaic legal justice system.  It doesn’t always work right, and it certainly isn’t fast, and it has lots of problems, but it’s the best option we have right now.

If nothing else, leaning more on our courts significantly curtails the urge of many to commit violence.

What about hate incidents that aren’t in front of the courts?

Again, direct confrontation is the first thing that comes to mind when most people consider an offensive against hate.  It doesn’t matter if you are in the USA getting pulled over by the police, or if you are in Paris still shaking from the terrorists who shot late-night innocent concert-goers in a crowded hall.

Why else isn’t direct confrontation a good idea?  Because the source might be a lot stronger than you realize.

Look at what happened to those poor people in Tiananmen Square in 1989.  They didn’t stand a chance against those tanks, and the true source of hate was easily seen by the outside world.

Getting badly hurt is a big downside of direct confrontation.

To be continued …

 

Hate, the book: 208

Hello Curious Friend.  Welcome to my book about Hate.  The number tells you where you are in the sequence.  I look forward to your comments.

Part Five
Chapter Thirty
Offense     (Continued)

Lots of famous people have already suggested this.

You will do them injury because you seek to push back their boundaries.  You seek to take power away from them, and you seek to put them on more equal footing with everyone else.

How can we accomplish this in our daily lives?

We must first work on getting our own news and forming our own opinions based on that news.  We also have to learn to differentiate what we’re are doing at the defensive level.  For defense is not the same as offense.

This is a point of confusion that we will tackle next.

It’s all Defense

How can there ever be an “offense” in the sense that we are making an “unprovoked” attack on someone who hates?

First off, we are hardly unprovoked.  We are all so provoked that it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who hasn’t hatefully injured someone.

Offense in this context means we are taking the initiative to the haters.  We’re moving the line back towards them.  We get more breathing room.  They lose room.

That’s a successful offense.

Even though we have justification for our attack, and even if we believe our actions are inherently defensive, it’s still a strategy of offense.

The trick to playing good offense is for us to make the most with what little we’ve got.  In this case, it’s ourselves.  And the object of our attack is typically old men who are more often than not Western, wealthy, and light-skinned.

Have you ever tried changing the opinions of an old man?  How long did it take before you gave up?

Consider this, too: How many young idealistic women marry the man they love thinking they’re going to change him?  Know of any who have succeeded?  I don’t.  Few do.

With these sad facts in mind, here’s my idea.  We focus on children.

Our best hope in creating an offense that will eventually defeat hate is to teach those who know nothing of this scourge of society.

Think of it. Like today’s sex education, hate education would introduce children to what we’ve already discussed here.

Like those children who were taught about the evils of smoking decades ago, kids could be prepared for a world of hate, learning how to understand its place, how to deal with it, and ultimately, how to reduce its effects on their own children.

This is our best hope of success in the long run.  It may take centuries before we succeed, but we have to start somewhere.

Teaching our children about hate is our most powerful offensive weapon.  This is what will eventually allow us to push the line all the way into the end zone.

Make no mistake, it’s going to take work.  It’s going to take time.  But we have to do it.  Our very survival as a species is at stake.

Look how many people in the USA now are more tolerant of skin color.  Doesn’t always seem like it, but amazing progress has been made on this issue since the time of Rosa Parks and King.  In the 60 years since King made his mark on racial inequality, we have had nearly three generations.

To be continued …