Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
Have you ever wondered why there always is hate in the air? We seem to love to hate things.
The news from around the U.S. and the world is not filled with love; it has a foundation in hate.
From parts of the world where children seem to be weaned on bitter, hate-filled breast milk to countries where genocide is a national pastime to current skirmishes in which my neighbor is my enemy, there reigns a need to simply hate.
As I walked across campus the other day, I contemplated the mysteries surrounding hate, remembering my forays into hating broccoli or spinach or rhubarb, or the kid next door who pelted me with snowballs, or Mr. Brown, my fifth-grade teacher who made fun of my cowlick.
I thought about how we are prone to saying, “I hate you!” long before we have the inclination to say, “I love you!”
When you pass a grade school, you hear across the playground a cacophony of sounds, but the words that cut through the air with a crisp clarity are “I hate you!”
When you pass through the halls of your local high school, the words continue with that same clarity as student after student registers his or her almost inhuman desire to hate others — bullying and being brutal in his or her behavior.
We seem to be prone to blame the actions of children on hormonal issues or growing problems or the many phases of the moon, but when you look at the world in general, the actions of bad children keep playing out as people become adults.
Many murders across the country aren’t done by hormonally deranged children on a playground; they’re done by adults.
So to me, it is more than just kids and the vagaries of the body or mind. And whatever it is, it isn’t getting any better.
As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, I think it is time to lay out a logical plan to erode the climate of hate and see what can be done in some way, shape or form to reeducate everyone from the newly born to the just-about-out-the-door elderly.
There might be continuous troubles on the road fiscally, but if you listen to voices across the land, hate takes a much more formidable and frightening place.
I started to think about the individuals who have walked into grade schools, high schools, universities and theaters in the past wearing the garments of seething hate. They come with weapons in their hands to bring others to the ultimate conclusion: death.
But then I listen to the individuals who, with crazed looks in their eyes, tell me, “If you want my gun, you can pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.”
With the looks in their eyes, I know better than to make any comment about even the strangest of desires: the owning of weapons whose only purpose is to slaughter humans.
I am not an advocate of removing all guns from society. I don’t think it would ever work, anyway.
But what disturbs me is the almost American Civil Liberties Union attitude of gun owners when they say you should never let the government take any of your gun rights away.
I start to fear that “rights” might be the words being used, but downright hatred sits so quietly beneath the surface.
Just listen to the strongest backwoods advocates speaking about the government and how anyone who disagrees with their beliefs will be treated if they come near their strongholds.
And back we return to the prying of guns from cold, dead fingers — not a lot of compassion here and definitely not a forum to conduct any intelligent conversation.
I would guess many people think life is short enough anyway, so we should consider trying to make it as pleasant as possible. But when you think about it, we do just the opposite.
We go out of our way to bicker and bite back, to criticize and demean, to bully and actually physically injure on a monumental scale.
No matter how we try to gloss over things, few people are able to amble through a pleasant countryside being unencumbered with the tentacles of hate licking at their heels.
So, perhaps the moment has arrived for us to take a deep breath and say something nice to each other, to stop hating every other race, to listen to the ideas of others and to simply question those hate-filled comments we hear on a daily basis.
Not everything your elders and friends have told you is true.
Craig Gunn is a guest columnist at The State News and an academic specialist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.