The link between hate speech and violence

Many are attacking Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and others for pointing out the problem of a climate of hate resulting in violence.

“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital,” Dupnik said Saturday January 8th at a press conference about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabriell Giffords and 18 others.

“We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik added. “The fiery rhetoric that has taken hold in politics may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.”

“To try to inflame the public on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with,”  Dupnik said.

Dupnik is hitting on something with a long history to back up the need to call out the flamethrowers of hate and pour cold water on them.

There is something everyone who doubts the connection between a climate of hate and violence needs to experience.

Visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

The journey through the Holocaust Museum is one through time….starting with the earliest expressions of anti-Semitism and then into Germany in the 1930’s.

Politicians were demonizing Jews and others and blaming them for the economic problems Germany faced then.

A bunch of arguably crazy people dressed up in uniforms and acted out their delusions. Millions died as a result.

When I visited the Holocaust Museum about 10 years ago, I was with an official from the Mexican Embassy. Every so often I’d hear a voice behind me say “substitute the words “illegal alien” or Mexican” for Jew and ask where is your country going?”

Ten years later we know where the hate mongering about undocumented aliens has taken us.

The border is violent and many don’t believe undocumented aliens have human rights. People deny there are such things as rape trees.

There are proposals being taken seriously to load up 12 million people and haul them off…in railroad cars?

There are serious attempts to amend or constitution to deny birthright citizenship and a state legislature trying to create an Arizona citizenship. Take note the same sort of thing happened in Germany in the 1930s.

We have armed militias running around the countryside “enforcing the law”. Where do you think the SS came from?

We have Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio “sweeping” the parking lots of Home Depots.

And let us not forget our own history after the Civil War and espcially in the 20th century regarding the climate of violence that was created about Black people and all that happened as a result of that.

The issue is not whether Jared Loughner was directly inspired to take his Glock 19 and massacre a bunch of people who were simply trying to participate in the American right and tradition of free speech and public assembly.

The real issue is that if we do not stop the growing climate of hate and demonization of others…the path is into the pit of darkness.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said it like it is. And if you doubt for a second the warning he is giving us….take a trip through Germany in the 1930’s and notice how similar the build-up is now to what happened then. The difference, I hope, is that we can do what the people of Germany did not do…stop this nonsense before it gets totally out of control.


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
This entry was posted in culture and lifestyle, gun control, guns, national politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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