Before taking out his AK-47 and using it to murder 22 innocent people in El Paso, Texas, alleged shooter Patrick Crusius published his “reasoning” for the crime in a place where he knew his words would be well-received--by others who shared his sentiments of hate.
In one of his many letters stressing the importance of education, Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “as long as we may think as we will, & speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement.
I agree that hate speech has no place in civil discourse, but when people are afraid to communicate at all about entire subjects because they’re afraid of being labeled as something they aren’t, that climate of fear has its own far-reaching consequences on civil discourse that also tear at the fabric of what it means to live in an open, free society.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” has fallen on hard times in American campuses of late, abandoned amid partisan firefights and outright violence sparked by self-righteous outrage at “offensive” points of view.
In an experiment designed to combat hate, Reddit shut down some of their more hateful “subreddits,” or forums dedicated to certain topics. They had no idea what would happen.
It is then up to the rest of us, the majority of people, the decent folk who choose to live in harmony with our fellow human beings, regardless of their creed, to stop the rhetoric from going any further.