THESE CRIMES ARE NOT ABOUT HATE. THEY ARE ABOUT POWER.
Love is not a precursor to justice or dignity. No matter how much you hate someone, in this country they are supposed to have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If everyone killed the people they dislike, even hate, there would be few of us left.
When you make these crimes about an emotion, you put the onus of changing that emotion on the victim. "If only they had been more lovable." You force the victimized to fight to be seen as worthy of life. But in a truly just society, people are treated with dignity whether or not they are lovable. Hated or loved, people have the right to live. We all have a right to justice. THAT'S THE ENTIRE ASPIRATIONAL PURPOSE OF THIS COUNTRY and what's supposed to make it great. It's also where it continues to fall short.
These acts of violence are not fueled by hate. They are deeply seeded in a hunger for power. The conflation of hate and the lust for power robs our society of the ability to effectively deal with these crimes. The white boy/man who killed 8 people didn't do it because he had any feelings about them individually. He simply believed he had a right to take out his feeling of powerlessness on them, and gain power to bring the world gaze to his face. He didn't randomly seek out any woman who happened to be around. He specifically targeted Asian women he perceived had no power to defend themselves and he believed his white compatriots would not defend. His "hatred" is not toward the women and their characteristics. It is his sense of powerlessness he hates and power he is attempting to reclaim.
His sense of a right to feel superior and hunger for supremacy coupled with his inability to achieve it is the core of this horrible act; his need to bring these women into submission. It is the same fuel driving police murders of unarmed Black men and women. It is the inner drive telling a police officer he must prove his supremacy by kneeling on a man's neck. It is the arrogance enabling white women to publicly taunt Black and brown men and women without consequences (I'm looking at you Renton).
Without dire, public consequences, these acts will continue. As long as the perceived benefits outweigh the risks, these acts will continue. Until people lose their jobs, are imprisoned, are shunned, they will continue. Most important of all: until power is redefined in this country and white people, especially white men, see themselves as part of the overall fabric rather than as the defining thread, these acts will continue.
Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND
Welcome! I am an essayist, poet, and facilitator, passionate about social justice and integrity, who lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. These observations are based on a lifetime working in the private and non-profit sectors, in a variety of organizational development capacities.