The authorities won't be able to stop every "lone wolf" with a gun and a gripe. But we, as a society, can do a much better job of creating an environment where hateful beliefs are never ignored and suspicious behavior never goes unreported.
In 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in a letter from a Birmingham jail, "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." That's still true. Hateful people are loud — to disguise their cowardice and shame. But good, decent people are by far the majority, and we dare not be silent. There can be no family too close and no friend too dear for hatred to go unchecked. Allowing it to do so diminishes the better, more noble parts of ourselves. These confrontations won't be easy, but doing the right thing rarely is. There is someone reading this column who knows someone who could be the next shooter. What will that reader do?
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Cocoon of Silence
A fascinating and challenging read about the impact we all can have in diminishing the impact of hateful beliefs.