Nationwide, we mourn the victims of the Lafayette Theater shooting. It is a particularly sad time for people in West Georgia and East Alabama who knew the shooter, and have to come to grips with someone they know perpetrating such a deed.
Yet some want to keep the hate that helped fuel Rusty Houser going.
I received an email from a person that came from a nationwide source today. The nationwide sender, obviously, hasn't received the memo yet that words are being used to fuel lone wolf terrorism actions. He wrote:
Many consider government bureaucrats the most serious issue confronting us because they make regulations that are tantamount to laws, they're like a cancer that grows and consumes to exist, they're almost impossible to "kill" (thanks to public service unions which makes it almost impossible to fire one of them), and a host of other reasons.
Bureaucrats may be a lot of things, positive and negative, but never a "cancer" that needs to be "killed." If you disagree, it's time to examine your rhetoric.
Hate led Dylann Roof to the Confederate flag, posing with it (as well as South African and Rhodesian apartheid regimes) before announcing he was trying to start a race war by killing a pastor and state legislator, as well as a bible study group.
The killer of the Chattanooga military recruiters was fueled by online Islamic hate groups, who are no more representative of Islam as a whole than Roof is of most groups that support keeping the flag at Civil War memorials and battle sites.
And hatred drove Houser, with many antigovernment rantings, a charge of arson involved with trying to stop pornography theater, and a loathing of liberals, to kill two females at a Hollywood comedy aimed at women, after calling America a "filth farm."
Now most of you are thinking this is an anti-conservative rant. It isn't. Sure Houser tried to associate himself with local conservative groups. But that's nothing like how local conservatives have acted toward me; they treat me with respect. I was even invited to moderate a TEA Party debate for an open state legislator seat, which I did. It's the way things should be.
Houser clearly didn't find a lot of local sympathy for his extreme message of hate. But there's plenty out there nationwide. A leading Jade Helm 15 protester announced he can't wait to "kill thousands of liberals. An extremist pastor (better described as an "Internet personality") called for Christians to use guns to fight gay marriage, a decidedly un-Christian sentiment. Ted Cruz said of the Iran deal "If this deal goes through, the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world." Mike Huckabee said Obama was leading Jews to concentration camp ovens, according to Igor Bobic with the Huffington Post.
When someone, liberal or conservative, uses language that directly calls for killing someone, or makes an inappropriate analogy, that could be used by someone to justify a terror attack, we need to say "sorry, but that's not who we are."
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.