We now have to ask ourselves two more of those questions that can’t ever be adequately answered, not really. Why would someone arm themselves with an arsenal of weapons and go into a synagogue to murder complete strangers during a bris? Why would someone conclude that the best course of action under the circumstances was to create crude pipe bombs and send them to political and cultural figures? Why? Why?
If you read about Robert Bowers, the despicable anti-Semitic murderer who shot up the Tree of Life Congregation in a Pittsburgh suburb, and Cesar Sayoc, the lunatic who allegedly sent bombs to the likes of former President Barack Obama, you quickly realize that they had at least one hugely significant thing in common: they were haters. They hated their targets with a terrible, venomous passion, they expressed their hatred on social media and in their interactions with others, and finally they acted on their hatred in the most horrible ways imaginable.
What would it be like to live your life consumed with hatred for some target group, so filled with loathing and anger that you would reach the point where you would act out your hatred on complete strangers? And more to the point, how many more Robert Bowers and Cesar Sayocs are out there, lurking in the shadows and on the fringes of society, simmering in their hatred and disturbed world views, on the verge of wreaking havoc? How many more disturbed ranters might be ready to take action? And, perhaps even more disturbing, how many people noticed the evil directions that Robert Bowers and Cesar Sayoc were taking, could have done something about it, but didn’t?
We all need to stand with the Tree of Life Congregation and the targets of the mad bombing scheme, and also recognize that this kind of ugly, violent hatred can be, and has been, directed at any group that can be defined by religious, political, or personal differences. But more proactively, we need to keep an eye on those people who appear to be veering off into a place where they might do something so abominable. We Americans, as a community, need to start doing a better job of watching out for each other and protecting our way of life from the depredations of the lunatic fringes.