The Awful Hatred Within

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?

181027-synagogue-shooting-al-1443_70ba0bef22a8f1ea38102491713be93c-fit-760wIf 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.

Obscure Bands And Great Songs: Red Rider And Lunatic Fringe

Who was Red Rider, and how did they come up with a great song like Lunatic Fringe?

The greatness of the song starts, of course, with its title.  The phrase Lunatic Fringe absolutely reeks of fear, paranoia, and danger.  And then the song reinforces that feel with a lonely, ominous intro that conjures up images of a deserted street corner on a dark night where you hope you don’t encounter a gang of skinheads carrying truncheons.  The song’s slow pace is like a watchful walk down that dark street, past darkened store entrances and alleyways, as you hear footsteps behind you and a police siren in the distance.  And the lyrics, which are all about secret societies and their efforts to undermine civilization as we know it, apparently were motivated by the Holocaust and the murder of John Lennon.

The band that created the song with such a creepy feel turns out to be Canadian.  Red Rider released a series of albums in the 1980s.  They never had a song that made it to the top 40 charts in America.  Lunatic Fringe was first released in 1981, but became popular only after it was featured in the 1985 movie Vision Quest.  It is one of those songs that defines the ’80s, but it’s message has continuing resonance whenever some nut acts out their own private troubles — something that unfortunately happens far too often.

Lunatic Fringe

Russell’s post made me think of this song, so I thought I would post it.

This song is a terrific song — in fact, you could argue that it is one of those songs that helps to change the direction of popular music, by being so different from the run-of-the-mill songs being made at the time — but the video is hilariously bad. It looks like they spent about $4.98 to make it.