I understand anger. I understand fear. I understand mental and emotional distress that sometimes motivates hateful actions. I even understand suspicion and prejudice.
But I just don’t understand hate.
The kind of hate where a man wraps his entire life around hating a group of people who he does not even know, simply because they are from a culture that he has been taught to despise. The kind of hate that motivates a man like Frazier Glenn Miller.
Frazier Glenn Miller is the alleged shooter who went on a rampage yesterday and killed 3 people in Overland Park, KS in the parking lots of two Jewish facilities. When arrested, Miller proudly yelled anti-Semitic utterances in full view of a near-by TV news camera.
He is considered the “alleged” shooter, as he has not yet been convicted of the crime. But his long history of hate towards Jewish people has been well documented, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Not only has this 73-year old man expressed his hatred in many forms throughout his life, he has mobilized others to do the same. Through “leadership” in the Klu Klux Klan and his creation of militia groups, he has motivated countless others to engage in hate activities towards innocent people.
I am not Jewish myself. But this man’s hate hurts me deeply. My good friend who lives in Leawood, KS is a frequent attendee at the very Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City where his life of hatred culminated in murder yesterday. Thankfully, she was home yesterday. preparing for Passover. But her world is shaken. The place that once represented community and joy and fellowship for her now is shattered by hate.
It also hurts me to know that my friend, who has helped me to understand the beauty of Jewish culture, is hated so violently by people who never have, and never will know her.
I will never understand that kind of hate, and truthfully, I do not want to.
I do, however, want to understand the kind of love and passion that drives people to continue their faith and traditions despite the presence of people who have built their lives around hating them. It is that kind of love that makes our world a compassionate and enriched worldwide community.
We come from different traditions and beliefs, but love is love. I thank my friend for reminding me of that. I pray for her healing, the healing of those who lost loved ones, the healing of the entire Jewish community, and the healing of our worldwide community.
May we all find a way to respond to hate in a way that does not allow it to take us in its grip in the way that it did this man.
Life is an Adventure!