Hate on Trial Again, As It Should Be

Kevin A. Thompson
May 3, 2023

Hate is on trial again, as it should be. This time it’s the individual accused of murdering eleven people at a Tree of Life Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018.  My question is why this trial has taken so long to begin?  The perpetrator was brought down by the police that same day.  The Federal Hate Crime trial is to begin this week in April 2023. Why should it take so long to prosecute a mass murder in which the guilt of the suspect was known within minutes of the crime? I guess the delays provide some protection for the wrongfully accused, so that’s some consolation.

Similarly to the massacre at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Zion church in Charleston, South Carolina, the perpetrator was a male American who had read and/or written a number of racist documents online. Hate thrives on a number of online platforms, and users can comment and argue about their racial theories.

It’s possible to land in one of these conversations by accident, just by doing a search on  a racially sensitive question.  The more astute racial extremists are careful to avoid using ethnic slurs and calls for extermination of other races.  Yet I recall one, presumably a White nationalist, who dismissed concerns for the relatively declining White US population, saying “we’ve changed the demographics before when we needed to.” 

Since people don’t usually disappear voluntarily, “changing the demographics” has a sinister feel.  

Though not all mass shootings are  deemed hate crimes, if no racial or religious motive is obvious, a great many of them are.  To “remove” people from their homes is a violent act. But those who traffic in on-line hate often make the leap into real-world violence.  Racial supremacist ideologies seem to attract the homicidal individuals among us.  To advocate the “removal” of whole populations, the separation of families and the destruction of their cultures feels like violence when one is experiencing it in the real world. 

Just to be clear, not all mass shootings are hate crimes in the racial/religious/ethnic sense.  Many hate crimes are verbal, or forms of vandalism, and do not employ weaponry; but the overlap of mass shootings and ideological hate is common enough to expect to find one when the other is around.  

                                                                   STOP THE HATE