Hate crimes have tragically become an all-too-familiar reality. However, the latest incident involving a synagogue shooting, hits close to him. From a recent CNN report:
A 19-year-old man was in custody after a shooting at a California synagogue on the last day of Passover left at least one person dead and several others wounded, the city’s mayor said Saturday.
The shooting occurred at Congregation Chabad in Poway, north of San Diego, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. He described it as a possible hate crime.
President Donald Trump quickly offered his sympathies, acknowledging the possibility of hate being a primary motivator. Indeed, the ongoing investigation may uncover disturbing layers of mental-health problems. San Diego law enforcement agencies are seeking a potential link between the synagogue shooting and recent mosque desecrations.
Sadly, this wasn’t the only such incident in California. On Tuesday, April 23, an Iraq War Army veteran intentionally plowed his car into a group of pedestrians. His motive? He thought that the group were Muslims. This is particularly interesting case as the suspect, who is black, doesn’t fit the “angry white man” narrative.
Yet the hate crimes keep piling up. What on earth is going on?
Something Deeper within these Hate Crimes?
While extraordinarily tragic, a temptation exists to dismiss increasing hate crimes as psychotic episodes. Although we offer our sympathies, we can do nothing more than condemn these senseless acts of violence. But such explanations detract from investigating the true catalysts.
With this action, we lever tragedy upon tragedy. Because if we don’t solve hate-based violence, the problem will only get worse. In fact, we’re witnessing right now the consequences of not taking earlier incidents seriously.
So what’s causing this dramatic spike in hate crimes? I believe that they are tied to the economy. I’m not referring to the artificial, polished economy that you see represented as the Dow Jones or the unemployment rate. At the end of the day, those are numbers and statistics.
I’m talking about the real economy, the one in which you and I work…or increasingly, the one in which we don’t work.
In the richest country in the world, we have a massive homelessness crisis. Along with that, an unprecedented number of people are addicted to opioids, many dying due to this dreaded condition. And several more families are left behind due to record-breaking suicide rates.
No, there’s something very wrong in our country, and that is pervasive economic hopelessness. We are surrounded with messages about wealth and prosperity, but very few of us attain it. From here, several folks direct their “failures” inwardly, contributing to the suicide epidemic.
On the other end of the scale, disenfranchised people lash out at “the others.” This is the root of the hate crime problem. It is, in fact, the most real of economic indicators.