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Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle

Sam Riddle

Hate killing is ugly TV

By Sam Riddle
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Mind snacking on what is the difference between Columbine, Oklahoma City, an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre, Newtown or 9/11 (two numbers that have become a worldwide lexicon for terrorist killings), USA Middle East drone strikes with “collateral damage” and now, the really not so unthinkable, “Boston Marathon?”  I reached a 313 conclusion.

There is not much difference.

For the victims of those that problem solve using the methodologically suspect tool of violence; the killing of loved ones is an incomprehensible damn near unforgiveable act.

Whether Boston was an act carried out by domestic or foreign terrorists is a form of anger channeling. We demand to know upon whom we should focus our anger so we can get the SOBs.

CNN let us know in a media nano blast that our “get ‘em” focus should be on a suspicious acting dark skinned maybe black guy wearing a hoodie that he pulled over his head as he snuck away in a suspicious manner with a suspect accent. Well that guy is in the Usual Suspects Hall of Fame. We know him well. But he doesn’t do autographs.

We really need someone or something foreign as we recycle old fears and get the lynch mob riled up. George W. convinced us that Saddam of Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That turned out to be a lie — but what the hell — our thirst for blood was satiated.  USA! USA!  It’s us against the world as we embrace hate cavorting in a deadly tryst on a bed of fear.

Fear only motivates more killing and justifies the diminishment of freedoms. Say Patriot Act.

We know that bombs kill. Bombs also maim causing horrific wounds too ugly for TV. Maybe we ought to begin showing the horror of hate killing no matter in whose name or what cause drives the killing or ruining of human life. Whether it’s the Boston Marathon or an errant American drone strike with collateral damage (that means innocent civilians had their heads, legs and other body parts blown away). In an age of social media we must not channel surf away from, delete or block the ugly reality of hate.

In May of 1999, in my role as family spokesman, I was with Reverend Michael Shoels and his wife Vonda when we met with President Clinton and the First Lady in Colorado one month after the Shoels’ son Isaiah had been killed during the Columbine High School Massacre. I wrote a letter for the Shoels that I read aloud to the Clintons during our meeting. The following excerpts are from that letter which may be read in its entirety online at ‘The Denver Post’ Columbine archive.

“Until we challenge the hatred that is the foundation of violent acts, we will be in a holding pattern for more Columbines. America and the world deserves better.

We must take back our parenthood responsibilities. We must not let TV, video games, violence-laden movies and Internet-techno-hate mongers baby-sit our children. We must teach our children the difference between right and wrong. Parents must know what their children are doing. Parents must know who their children are hanging out with. School administrators, teachers, parents and law-enforcement authorities must be sensitized to the language of hate, which is often followed with acts of violence.

Mr. President, it was not too long ago that you asked the American people to forgive you. We forgave you. We have high expectations of you. We must demonstrate by our actions that violence is not America’s bottom line problem-solving solution. Our children are always watching us. Those who made pipe bombs may well have cheered your bombs dropping over Kosovo and Yugoslavia. There is a connection. We do not seek to embarrass you, but violence must not be America’s ultimate problem solving solution. For our children’s sake, we must lead by example.”

Rescuers aid woman wounded in Boston Marathon bombing. COURTESY PHOTO

Rescuers aid woman wounded in Boston Marathon bombing. COURTESY PHOTO

When our faith is weak, we want to just strike back in an auto-pilot-like manner when we are impacted by events like the Boston Marathon. Be it Columbine/Newtown/Oklahoma City/9-11/Middle East/Boston Marathon, hate kills.  Love heals.  We are in a war of hate vs. love/right vs. wrong.  Fear and hate must not win. Prayer works.

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle can be reached at  or


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