Whether a hate crime at a gay nightclub, or a legislature creating restrictive policies about women’s reproductive health, violence is violence. Whether sexual assault or police brutality against brown and black men and boys, violence is violence.
Combine weapons allowing shooters to mow down scores of people in minutes with hate, fear and anxiety along with alcohol and drug use (or not), and we have a perfect storm. Shooters playing judge and jury against people they do not like, with whom they disagree, or because of some ideological passion.
Violence without physical assault is also pernicious and destructive, like taking rights away from people. We live in Tennessee, a state that is known for some ignorant bills and laws. Proposed and actual legislation wrenches away from people the ability to make thoughtful decisions about healthcare, privacy, and bathrooms.
Violence occurs while locking up people who can’t afford to pay for traffic and other violations accruing large penalties and interest charges, returning us to the days of paupers’ jails and prisons.
As the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy… In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”