By Dr David Laing Dawson
There are always men around, men from age 18 to 70, who are capable of committing hate crimes. These are boys and men who always blame others for their failures, infirmities, losses, inadequacies, and perceived slights. They harbour resentments. Their thinking is delusional or just this side of delusional. They may fantasize revenge, the settling of scores, the righting of wrongs. This particular disorder of personality will usually preclude successful intimate relationships, long term employment and even good friends – the very antidotes to distorted and paranoid thinking.
Isolated it festers, grows and deepens. “They are to blame.”
But usually such men don’t act on their convictions, their fantasies. At least they don’t act on them without some kind of encouragement, support, and sanction.
Unfortunately such encouragement is now readily available on internet sites. This was probably the source of encouragement that set the man off to driving his van into pedestrians (women) on Yonge street.
But for the man who sent pipe bombs in the mail last week, his move from anger, conspiracy theory and threats to action, the encouragement undoubtedly came from the President of the United States. In fact the word “sanction” fits in this case because the encouragement came from authority.
The call has been to “tone down the rhetoric”. That is too weak. Men and women in power need to know their words can foster peace and cooperation or they can incite violence. There are always some men who are waiting for just such encouragement, just such permission.
Donald Trump is not personally and specifically responsible for those pipe bombs, but he is culpable.
He needn’t “tone down the rhetoric”, he needs to “stop inciting violence”.
As I was writing this another delusional man committed multiple murders in a synagogue. His encouragement to act on his antisemitic delusion seems to have come from a social media site called Gab and alt-right conspiracy theorists, but the caravan of “invaders” moving through Mexico may have been the final trigger, and we all know how much Trump has hyped that fear, and, for that matter, threatened to send in a platoon of men with guns. “Screw the optics,” wrote this killer, “I’m going in.”
Trump’s remedy for this was more guns, armed security within houses of worship, before he was distracted by a baseball game and tweeting out a criticism of the manager for pulling the successful pitcher in the last innings of the game.
Nero came to mind.