Hate can lead to violence
For several weeks now I’ve been in the process of drafting a response to Mike Azinger’s op-ed article of June 23, and I’ve been agonizing over the approach I should take. Mr. Azinger wrote his op-ed seemingly for the purpose of chastising society for becoming more tolerant, especially toward the LBGTQ community and he advocated for a return to an era of less chaos and more intolerance. I could give more examples of how faulty Mr. Azinger’s logic is, but that would be a re-hash of arguments Jim Wilt, Drew Ramsey and Eric Engle stated in their responses. They did indeed display intolerance toward Mr. Azinger for his ideas. This led Brian Harrell to demonstrate his intolerance for their intolerance in his letter to the editor of June 7. He wondered why it’s okay to judge Mr. Azinger for his advocacy of intolerance when their responses clearly seemed intolerant as well. Point taken, Mr. Harrell.
So where does this lead us? Is it okay to be intolerant of some things some times? After all, even Jesus lost his temper with the money-changers in the Temple. These are not easy questions to answer; however I’d like to relay an account of intolerance experienced by a friend of mine decades ago in the hopes that it might make the fine citizens of Wood County wonder whether they really want to condone this by-gone version of bigotry Mr. Azinger seems to yearn for.
Back in the 70s I attended college with a friend who was later brutally murdered. He was stabbed repeatedly for the “crime” of being a homosexual. He mistakenly made advances to a couple of young men at a bar, and when they went to his home they committed homicide. One murderer was acquitted even after confessing to the crime and the other was handed a fairly light sentence thanks to the influence of his close relative who happened to be a prominent local politician.
So, when one of our prominent local politicians states how he yearns for a return to a less tolerant America, he elicits some very strong, impassioned responses. Mr. Azinger, hate-crimes are particularly despicable and there is no excuse for encouraging an atmosphere that can only lead to more hatred and more violence.