I've been thinking about that church shooting of the other day, and the fact that the shooter went there gunning for "liberals" who, so he believes, are ruining this country. Curious, because I'm a twin to him in one respect: I happen to believe that conservatives are ruining this country.
I don't, however, have the slightest desire to kill them. I've been searching my soul to find out whether I "hate" them. I think not. I do stereotype them, which I suppose is a soft expression of prejudice--a form of hate; and I blame them for a lot of the bad things I see happening around me. I get enraged by what I judge to be their stupidity and short-sightedness, but I try not to forget that they judge me for what they see to be mine.
Who's right? I think I am. Bu then, I'm left.
In any event, I don't own a gun. I was taught to use a .22 caliber rifle by one of my father's parishioners, when I was just a lad, and I had fun smashing flower pots. But I don't think there's a single molecule in my body that wants to kill or maim another human being. Luckily, I have never been of an age at the right moment to be called to war, so I have never had to face the question of conscientious objection--at least in other than theoretical ways.
Back to the church, though. Aside from the fact that the poor fellow was clearly insane, I'd have to attribute his action to a mix of rage and hatred. I've had moments in my life when rage has erupted to the surface, so I know it's down there, hiding. I remember one moment, as a boy, then the two came together in a fist-fight with another boy at school, when rage and hate exploded in uncontrollable fury, and the experience is still hotly vivid in my memory. I carry it around with a sense of shame and humiliation (the other boy won! I came away with a bleeding nose.)
Anyway, these random thoughts, these troubling events, this odd memories...