the murder of MP Jo Cox yesterday. I'm baffled as to what on earth went on in the mind of her assailant Tommy Mair.
Instead of seeing her as the rest of us would - a conscientious MP helping her constituents, a mother of two children aged three and five, someone with all sorts of plans for the future - he saw her as simply an object of hatred, a symbol of something detestable, someone to be brutally disposed of. So he shot her and stabbed her and left her for dead like a piece of trash.
As I say, I hardly ever feel hatred, and certainly not such virulent hatred. People can annoy me, puzzle me, frustrate me, offend me, but I don't hate them, I just deal with them as best I can and move on. To my mind, hatred achieves nothing but a poisonous and frightening atmosphere.
But some people delight in stirring up hatred, and the current referendum campaign has prompted a torrent of hatred from one reckless politician after another - hatred of elites, of bureaucrats, of migrants, of foreigners, of Europeans, of welfare claimants. It's hardly surprising that some individuals like Tommy Mair take their cue from these public figures and let rip with the same hatred, so ferociously that other human beings become simply enemies to be eliminated.
Of course the politicians make no reference to the widespread hatred of politicians, but that may also have been a factor in Jo Cox's killing. It seems to me that the hatred of politicians has never been so intense - and so mindless.
Maybe the politicians will now reflect on what their casual vitriol is unleashing. Maybe.
Pic: the late Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire