Friday, 17 June 2016

Hatred unleashed

As someone virtually hate-free, I find it impossible to understand the sort of extreme hatred and violence that led to 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

22 comments:

kylie said...

Nick,
No politician will think of themselves as even a little bit connected to this event. it's much easier to just point at the perpetrator than to examine the society we create.

I'm so sorry for such a pointless loss

Wisewebwoman said...

Violence. So much of it lately so much publicity of it too. It doesn't take much to incite these dregs. Pols are Teflon. Nothing sticks. Look at trump et al.

XO
WWW

Rummuser said...

Such a tragedy. We are creating societies and cultures that breed hatred. This is just one of the many such meaningless killings. Just think of Orlando. In my country, the less said the better.

Nick said...

Kylie: Some politicians do that, especially if their own hate-mongering might be responsible. "It was a lunatic loner with a grudge" etc. But I think other politicians see the connection between hate-mongering and hate-fuelled personal attacks like this one.

www: That's what's dangerous - not just the provocative drivel from politicians but as you say the fact that nothing sticks and quite often their popularity actually increases.

Nick said...

Ramana: Absolutely, cultures that breed hatred and intolerance, and meaningless killings everywhere. Quite a few female MPs have received death threats, rape threats and other forms of harassment. It's scary that such extreme behaviour has now become normal.

John Gray said...

Mental illness has it's own logic
Unfortunately

Nick said...

John: Very true. It can also be hidden so well that nobody is aware the person is dangerous. One of Tommy Mair's neighbours, a very experienced nurse, had no idea he had mental problems.

Secret Agent Woman said...

We're reelling here from yet another case of unleashed hatred, this time taking out 49 innocent people and injuring another 50 or so more. Where does it end?

Dave Martin said...

Can't help thinking that someone as fucked up as this would have carried out such action at some point anyway, and unfortunately Jo Cox was an available target when that time came.
Scary that such people are out there among us.
RIP Jo - such a senseless and tragic waste of a life.

Anonymous said...

Something is rotten in our societies. All Western democraties are driving to a dangerous extreme right wing and our politicians do nothing to calm down this tendancy. A young woman paid the price and suddenly the hypocrites come to mourn. It's just to get desperate.
Mia More

Nick said...

Agent: The massacre at the Pulse Nightclub has had huge publicity here as possibly the worst mass shooting in US history. And of course an act of homophobic hatred. The violence will increase unless public figures stop stoking it up.

Dave: I think we still don't know if Jo was specifically targeted or just attacked at random. But yes, people are often randomly targeted by deranged individuals who are simply acting like automatons.

Nick said...

Mia: As you say, there's a continuing movement towards extreme right-wing views which the politicians are exploiting and intensifying. And then, indeed, the hypocrites weep their crocodile tears over the grave. It's getting very desperate and at this rate there can only be further shocking tragedies.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Desperately sad ... her poor family .
Hatred feeds on publicity and you end up with Trump & Co. But we must believe there's still a silent majority who want peace and happiness for us all .

Nick said...

Smitonius: Yes, hatred feeds on publicity. It also feeds on hatred. I sincerely hope there's a silent majority that wants a peaceful and civilised society, but there seem to be an awful lot of caustic loudmouths.

Jenny Woolf said...

There is a petition going at present to cancel the referendum - I have signed it myself as it seems very wrong to me that our democratically elected Parliament wanted to keep us in the EU but we have been plunged into this nightmare nonetheless. To be honest I think it is a bit quixotic, but worth a try. If you are interested the url is https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/123450 . (If you don't like posting links feel free not to approve this post - I won't be offended)

Nick said...

Jenny: I won't sign the petition myself, as I feel if the referendum's got this far it should be completed. It's far from certain that a Leave vote would take us out of the EU anyway. I understand the referendum is actually "advisory" and doesn't necessarily have to be acted on. And if the government tries to push through the appropriate Act of Parliament, it will probably be blocked by parliament's huge pro-EU majority. So watch this space!

Helen Devries said...

The man was in a desperate state of mind from what I read, having been refused help the day before: perhaps proper funding for mental health would be the best memorial for this young woman.

Nick said...

Helen: I read that he told the local well-being centre he was suffering from "depression". I suppose because depression is a fairly minor problem on the mental-health scale, they advised him to make an appointment for the next day. We now know of course that his problems were a great deal more serious. But you're right, mental health funding is totally inadequate and has been for decades. Mental health is still seen as less important than physical health.

Shawn Maeder said...

This was the act of a mentally unstable person. It was not politically motivated even if the murderer did blurt out a political message. I do not understand why it has inspired calls to halt the referendum. I don't understand why it is so hard for the public to see the real significance of acts such as this.

Nick said...

Shawn: Certainly Tommy Mair is very mentally disturbed. However the police believe Jo was specifically targeted, though if that's the case, the exact motive is not yet clarified. But we know he had strong right-wing interests while Jo was left-wing and very supportive of immigrants. So there does seem to be a clear political element there. I do agree there is no good reason for halting the referendum. People have had plenty of time to make up their minds on the issue and they should go ahead and vote.

tammy j said...

hi nick
have just caught up with the posts here that I've missed.
I'm also an anxious person.
especially when having to go meet with a group of people. whether I know them or not.
I usually enjoy myself just fine. it's the beforehand that makes for my angst.
and this last post... so tragic.
I think of her first and foremost as a mother to those little ones.
now without her.
I am getting weary of the constant tag "mental illness."
I think there are just SOME people who are mean. and as you say... find it easy to hate.

Nick said...

Tammy: He was certainly mean, but I think definitely mentally ill as well. He had sought treatment for mental health problems many times, including the evening before the murder. He seems to be one of these split personalities who appear quite normal in everyday life but also have a violent, murderous streak that nobody is aware of.