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Hate crimes – Violence without a rhyme or reason

Hate crimes – Violence without a rhyme or reason
Photo by The Weeping Eagle

Recent events have made hate crimes the topic of many conversations. A hate crime is a crime with the motive being the gender, race or sexual orientation of the person being attacked. This definition can be expanded, but that is the basic idea.

As a young adult living in 2016, I do believe in freedom of expression, but I also believe that a person partaking in an activity that can be considered a hate crime is taking it way too far.

Everyone has the right to his or her opinion. You can think what you want about what a person does, and you can verbally express your thoughts if that is what you wish to do. The problem is when a person’s thoughts take the form of an act of violence.

One hate crime started with two black men being shot by white police officers in two separate incidents. In recognition of these two incidents, the movement Black Lives Matter came to the forefront following the shootings. The phrase “black lives matter” can be found across social media pages that speak of the victims.

Following the shootings of the two men, police officers were shot and killed in Dallas, Texas sniper-style by a black military veteran. His goal was to kill as many white police officers as he could. Everything that occurred was heinous and inexcusable.

It is safe to assume that the vast majority of people know about the massacre that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The shooter was born and raised in Queens, New York but the crime is being considered an act of terrorism.

The massacre at Pulse is a perfect example of a hate crime. There was absolutely no logical explanation as to why the shooter did what he did. What is difficult to understand about this case is that the shooter himself would go to that very same bar. It has been stated that he had “gay tendencies.”

It is hard to say what his motives were for committing a hate crime. I believe he participated in actions that are considered gay, hated himself for it because he thought it was wrong and then chose to go into a gay bar and end the lives of 49 people. I completely disagree with his actions, but he may have thought that it was the right thing to do.

Everyone that commits a hate crime has a goal in mind that they would like to achieve. If we use the Orlando massacre as an example, there are two possible goals the shooter could have wanted to achieve.

The first possible goal would be to use the massacre as a statement of his pure hatred for the LGBTQ community and what should be done in the future.

The second possible goal would to be to use the massacre as a way to cause a sense of acceptance, unity and peace between all individuals within our society, regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.

Personally, I would say that the first goal embodies the point the shooter was trying to make. He wanted to make an example of how people in the LGBTQ community should be treated by ending 49 members’ lives. This idea infuriates me beyond words.

Hate crimes occur all the time in our society, and I do not think we pay enough attention to them. They occur for many reasons, but I think it all boils down to the opinion of the person committing the crime.

Everyone is allowed to feel and believe what they want about a topic, but if a person’s opinion could lead to violence, that person should not act on it. No one thinks or feels exactly the same way about any issue, so when a person develops an opinion on an issue, they must remember that everyone else has an opinion as well. As a society, we do not all have to agree 100 percent on issues in order to function; however, respecting each other’s opinions is vital to maintaining a civil society.

I think that movements such as Black Lives Matter are important to have, but I think that it should be made clear that all lives matter. The shootings of those two men, the police officers and the people that were killed in the massacre at Pulse all matter. Everyone’s life has the same value as anyone else’s, and I think we should start acting as such. Race, gender or sexual orientation should never play a role in the value of a person’s life. We are all human, and all of our lives count for something.

Hate crimes are hurtful, damaging and unnecessary. The anecdote about thinking before you act suits the topic of hate crimes. My condolences are offered to anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime or is close to an individual who has. The idea that people are injured or killed based on someone else’s opinion on their gender, sexual orientation or race is incomprehensible to me.

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