A Climate of Hate: Who’s to Blame?

By Jim Glennon  |   Aug 8, 2019

Another couple of maniacs murder innocents.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” It’s a quote often attributed to Rahm Emmanuel that generally means ‘exploit a crisis to advance a political agenda or gain a personal advantage.’

As soon as I heard about the carnage in El Paso, I asked my wife how long it would take before politicians started casting blame and using this incident for political benefit.

Well, needless to say, they started before I even asked the question.

They shouted almost in unison, and I’m paraphrasing: “It’s the climate of hate that the president has created! This is what inspires these killers to pick up guns!”

I’m not here to defend the president, he is who he is and says some outlandish and divisive things to be sure, but he certainly doesn’t come close to cornering the market on division and hate.

The language coming out of the mouths of politicians—especially those running for president—is abhorrent. These people routinely use words (Nazi for instance) which, if spoken even five years ago, would have sent them packing from the campaign trail or their elected offices in shame.

These people, equipped with microphones and a sympathetic media, passionately and powerfully condemn anyone using “hate speech” and “divisive rhetoric.”

Problem is, they condemn the speech of others while sanctimoniously spewing hate and using vile, divisive language themselves. These same people literally encourage their followers to disrupt, follow, and attack. They dox or encourage their followers to dox their opponents and show up to their private residences. They boycott, fire, or refuse to hire anyone who doesn’t agree with their belief systems.

Rather than focusing on the miscreants who picked up guns and murdered innocents, countless politicians pointed a finger at not only the president but anyone who supports him or the second amendment, labeling all of them racists and/or white supremacists. Keep in mind they are talking about virtually half the population of the United States.

The Truth on the Ground

In the meantime, real people are forced to deal with the real horror of real incidents.

Who responded to the mass shootings over the weekend?

Who immediately, without hesitation, put their lives on the line to save others?

Obviously, it was the cops who also, regularly find themselves maliciously targeted by these same politicians.

In Dayton, one officer ran towards the gunfire, shot and killed the murderer before he could inflict more damage, and saved an immeasurable amount of lives. How many of those disparaging politicians stated, publicly, something akin to “God bless the officers who responded—and always respond—to such tragedies”?

Sure, some mentioned law enforcement briefly, but it’s hard to make an abrupt philosophical U-turn from disparaging the police when scoring points with the usual condemnation of our country’s peace officers. Without a hint of shame, they viciously malign officers of every gender, race, age, and sexual orientation in every organization with “facts” that often turn out to be complete lies.

So, why do events such as these over the weekend keep happening?

A Climate of Hate

Let’s start with the climate of hate argument. If a “climate of hate” is the contributing factor, then these politicians would stop using hateful language. They wouldn’t demonize half the population of the United States by calling them all racists and bigots. They wouldn’t want to criminalize people who support the Bill of Rights. They wouldn’t label people who hold contrary views as subhuman and despicable.

This absurdity is apparently lost on them. As apparently, they believe they hold the moral high ground; therefore, spewing hate about those they believe to be the real haters is perfectly acceptable. Necessary perhaps. For the greater good. So, they need to be excused from their own contribution to the climate of hate. Which is of course, ludicrous!

Backasswards Rhetoric

During my lifetime, I’ve never seen both the current political class and media so quickly and shamelessly drop their moral compasses.

For example, they:

  • Denounce law enforcement wholesale while glorifying or excusing criminals
  • Blame laws, lack of laws and/or third parties rather than the people who blatantly violate our laws and commit heinous crimes
  • Vilify immigration officials, border officers, and ICE agents while supporting, condoning, celebrating, or even abetting people violating our country’s immigration laws
  • Refuse to cooperate with law enforcement while at the same time they attempt to criminalize honest citizens who exercise their constitutional rights
  • Condemn a police officer’s use of force even when it is proven justifiable, while refusing to condemn unlawful ANTIFA protests and criminal violence

This is simple logic: Taking an active part in condemning the good and excusing evil, labeling police officers as “terrorists”, and encouraging people to break and/or ignore our laws creates a climate of lawlessness.

And for those disturbed people who live somewhere between reality and fantasy, this can have dangerous consequences.

Conclusion: Solving Problems or Creating Them?

I’m asked by many—including my own relatives—why these mass shootings happen and what can be done to prevent them. I can’t answer those question the way they want them answered, which is short and easy.

But I will say this:

We are not one magical law away from stopping the deranged from murdering en masse. No law will stop mass shootings!

There is no single reason which explains why anyone would pick up a gun and attempt to kill scores of innocents.

Virtually every study proves that it is not caused by the availability of guns or the existence of the second amendment. Criminalizing or placing weighty restrictions on the 99% of responsible gun owners won’t prevent these tragedies from happening.

It isn’t entirely a mental health issue, though mental health is obviously a component. But what percentage of people with which type and level of mental health problems ever become dangerous? And how involved should the government get at intervention? Which ones should be monitored or have their rights or freedom restricted by the government? This is both a complicated and dangerous arena as it involves taking away a person’s rights before and without due process.

Seeking simple explanations and easy answers is a waste of time. It’s counterproductive. It solves nothing.

Very few politicians understand even the most rudimentary aspects related to the realities of mass shooting events; they certainly don’t know how to stop them.

The climate of this country—the culture that has created a world of online anonymity, where people with social inadequacies can easily avoid society and create a fantasy world where the lives of others are cheap—a culture which feeds the thoughts telling them that they are victims who deserve redemption—grows larger every day.

Those who strive for, or hold political office, and overseers of media platforms are all responsible for the hate and division that permeates today’s society.

Those who shout the loudest, condemn the most, and are given the largest stages that allow for personal pontification, all too often create problems instead of solving them; and in turn, they feed off of those problems for personal, financial, and political gain.

Few if any in the political world will admit to that. So, the problem continues. Lives continue to be lost. And the division continues.

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Jim Glennon
Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is the owner and lead instructor for Calibre Press. He is a third-generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Law Enforcement Justice Administration, is the author of the book Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.