Those who sell hatred also sell death

Yesterday, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin:

At least seven people, including a gunman, have died in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in the US.

The attacker “ambushed” a policeman at the scene, shooting him multiple times, before a second officer returned fire, killing the gunman, said authorities.

The shot officer was among three men critically injured in the attack in Oak Creek, suburban Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has been providing excellent local coverage. Start here: “Victims called loving, dedicated, deeply religious.”

* * * * * * * * *

Families gathered on a Sunday morning for worship and fellowship. And then a man arrived with a gun and an overflow of hate and he killed six people.

Six people he did not know. Six people who were doing nothing other than gathering with their families and their community for worship and fellowship on a Sunday morning.

A few more details about the murderer have begun trickling out. He — mass killings like this are, almost exclusively, a thing done by men — was killed at the scene by a local police officer, so we will not hear him attempt to explain his motive for this crime during his trial. But the crime itself tells us something about that motive.

This man did not kill for money, or for jealousy or personal revenge. So why, then, did he choose to kill? And, more urgently, why did he choose to kill these particular people — these friendly, faithful people whom he had never met?

Somehow, it seems, he had become convinced that these people, these peaceful families, were his enemies. He had no basis for deciding this because it was, in fact, not true. These people were not his enemies. Nor were they the enemies of anyone else. And yet, somehow, this man got it in his head that they were — he somehow came to believe that they were an enemy, a threat, a menace to be countered with sudden, lethal violence.

And we all know that “somehow” is not a mystery.

That somehow is a multi-billion dollar industry. The leading figures of that industry are respected, powerful, wealthy people who have grown rich and famous through an infotainment empire that pours gasoline with one hand while shooting sparks with the other — all while denying responsibility or culpability or any association at all with the fires that “somehow” keep erupting.

This warped, cruel shooter was a customer of theirs. He bought what they were selling. He believed what they were preaching. He pointed his gun exactly where they were pointing, pointed it at the people they are always pointing at — at immigrants, at religious minorities, at people with darker skin.

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