If there were a theme to this week, it would be hate. On Tuesday, two Baton Rouge police officers shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man at close range. On Wednesday, Philando Castile, a 34-year-old black man, was pulled over by police in Minnesota and shot dead. On Thursday, five Dallas police officers, patrolling a peaceful protest, were shot dead and seven were wounded by sniper fire. On Friday, at least nine people were killed and sixteen injured at a shooting rampage in Munich. Even if we're not saying it out loud, many of us, especially people of color, believe the world we live in has increasingly become unsafe, unfriendly, and intolerant.
To further fan the flames of fear, Donald Trump's "Apocalypse Now" speech, aptly titled by CNBC, blamed mass violence and terrorism on...immigrants? In a breathtaking feat of fiction, Trump blamed the death of Sarah Root on "criminal" Eswin Mejia who "Just arrived in America." Edwin Majia did kill Root in a drunk driving accident, but he had no criminal record and had been in America since at least 2013. By further isolating his fan base with racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments, not only is he ignoring a substantial part of our economy that is supported by minorities, he encourages disillusioned citizens to pursue extremist actions.
If Donald's hateful rhetoric weren't enough, an army of Twitter trolls led by Milo Yiannopoulos, tech editor of the conservative site Breitbart, attacked actress Leslie Jones with a fury of hate speech and threats. Possibly just as aggravating was Twitter's lack of action. As a private company Twitter has the power to kick out whoever they want, and instead they did nothing.
As the latest Invisibilia podcast noted, most of us participate in complementary behavior. If we are treated like terrorists, we are more likely to pursue acts of violence. Non-Complementary behavior is often scoffed at in the United States as "soft on crime" but there has been evidence of reducing violence through understanding, rather than immediate accusation and punishment.
It's been a hateful week. Hearing about and witnessing violence, finger-pointing, and cruelty makes us mad, and we should be. But anger doesn't have to lead to hatred. In fact, more than ever empathy, kindness, and love is necessary to keep our world together.