The May 28 Frederick News-Post carried an article about the shooting in San Jose, California that took the lives of nine individuals and the assailant, Samuel Cassidy. The headline of another mass killing in the United States, used the word "hated."
As a child, my beloved father regularly told me that using the word hate was unacceptable, and he did not want to hear it in my vocabulary. Yet in 2021, television, newspapers, and other sources of information seem to use this word regularly. My father was right; hate is a terrible word. It implies that one is not in control of their emotions, that the individual has a disposition so intense and strong that he would never consider a reconciliation with the person(s) or object that he encounters. Unfortunately, we have witnessed this emotion too many times in the past months. The random shootings by unstable people who are equipped with weapons, the despicable groups who rally to demonstrate their feelings about people of color or those whose religious beliefs are an anathema to them. Many of us remember when our society was calmer and demonstrations were considered rare, not every day occurrences. Yes, we acknowledge that "hate" has always existed.
In the musical "South Pacific," one of the characters sings a song, "You've got to be carefully taught." The lyrics are as pertinent today as they were many years ago. "You've got to be taught to hate and fear ... to hate all the people your relatives hate ... to hate all the people of a different shade ... you've got to be carefully taught."
The current wave of this emotion has intensified because individuals who are given a bully pulpit are so vocal that they incite others to believe the falsehoods and innuendos they deliver. People are slow to discern the truth from the fiction that people they admire shout from stages, sidewalks, rallies, and even small gatherings. The mind is vulnerable, and hate mongers realize the power they have to spread their venom.
Who will step forward to not only disparage but reeducate the people like Samuel Cassidy? And who will once and for all recognize that it is dangerous to allow individuals to amass guns and ammunition that kill innocent people?
How many rampages have to occur until we realize that we need not only remediation but laws that will stop the violence and yes, the hatred which is contagious and dangerous. It starts first in the home, and then in schools, in the workplace, in religious institutions, the media, and in our leaders. Please, if you can, help to annihilate that word that my father told me never to use!