There were people who tried to blame whole ethnic and social groups for the actions of the perpetrators. There were people who tried to excuse the terrible crimes by focusing on how the perps’ groups had been oppressed or attacked by the victims’ groups. In both cases, the actions of individuals were obscured by hateful talk about groups.
Government did what it could to prevent, to protect, to punish. To some people, it never did enough. To others, it was doing too much. Political leaders made what hay they could out of the madness, tailoring their responses to their constituencies.
Not much has changed. We just took a breather.
* * *
A healthy society will experience the occasional spasm of violence. Disaffected and deluded people are always around, and sometimes they get enough poison or explosives or firepower to commit a major crime. An unhealthy society will experience continual waves of violence. The angry rhetoric from all sides masks the muttering of weirdos – in clubs, internet sites, other hangouts. In such an atmosphere, the weirdos feed off each other, and the angry, distracted society is always surprised when the weirdos do the same thing – again. And instead of blaming the weirdos, the various factions in society blame each other for the rhetoric that “caused” or “incited” or “made possible” the poisonous bilge that has now seeped to the top of the pond.
The violent lefties of my youth and the violent righties of my age are both alike despicable. Meanwhile, the calculating lefties and righties who try to prove something about the other in their long, zero-sum game both care more about beating the other than about making a society for everybody to live in.
Yes, some folks need to be more careful in how they talk about immigrants. Others need to be more careful in how they talk about Muslims – or Jews – or white people – or . . . name your group. The more supposedly responsible people give themselves license to talk trash about this group or that group, the more the weirdos’ cant in their subterranean gatherings just sounds – normal. Not just to them, but in comparison to everybody else. Until the time that they decide to act out their sick fantasies.
If you don’t think I’m going far enough to condemn what “they” say, maybe it’s because I’m also including what “you” say. I’ve heard you say it, just like I’ve heard them say it.