Hate: What Can We Do About It?

We can talk about it, write about it, pray about it.

But what can we do about it?


A mentally imbalanced and violent man bought a semiautomatic assault rifle (as you do here in the United States) and brutally massacred scores of happy, innocent young people.

How do we make sense of this? We do not.

We can study the facts, analyze the sequence of events, interview scores of witnesses, research the motive…

In the end, it’s hate. Call it what we will, blame who we want, it all boils down to hate. Hate arises from ignorance, insecurity, and fear. Hate is not logical. Hate is not helpful. And hate, despite being at the root of violence, is weak. The alleged Orlando Pulse killer was exploding with seething hate: for gays, for Latinos, for Americans. But his targets could have been anyone, anywhere. Remember the Newtown massacre. To target a classroom of helpless little children… hate is weak.

But what can we do about it?

Love. We can create love. We can foster and support learning, acceptance, and trust. We must do what we can to educate those around us, most especially our children, and teach them that despite our differences in race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, et cetera, we are all human and we are all in this life together. We should model acceptance of others, always. We can share our faith in God and humankind. From all of this arises love.

One of my favorite quotes is: All of the darkness in the universe cannot extinguish the light from even a single candle (credit to good old St. Francis of Assisi). It means that love is stronger than hate, that love always wins.

In the face of yet another horrific hate crime/ act of violence/ terrorist attack, above and beyond everything else, we can love one another. (Gee, I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…)

Of course, instituting some rudimentary weapons legislation, like, oh, for example, banning semiautomatic weapons for civilians and restricting gun sales to at least those people on suspected terrorist no-fly lists or who have been investigated by the FBI for extremist connections may be helpful as well, IMHO, but hey, I’m only an M.D at Harvard Medical School with an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins who’s published several research papers in peer-reviewed journals and been in clinical practice for over ten years, so what the hell do I know about public health? I better go watch some Fox News and get myself really educated.

Whew! Sorry. I’ll go back to feeling the love now…


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