The Horrors of Hate—A Tribute to Those Who Died Too Young

Violence is addictive. It feeds on itself until, one day, the horror becomes overwhelming. Like an alcoholic who wakes up in an alley, steeped in urine, vomit and disgust, it sometimes takes a shock to the system to wake people up.

Graveyard tombstone
Photo by Vyasphoto/

The murder of six million Jews in World War II woke the world up to the horrors of antisemitism. The slaughter of 82 men, women and children in 1993 at the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, woke people up to the evils of the “anti-cult” movement.

Now, names like Uvalde, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Nigeria enter our lexicon of tragedy.

How many tears will it take to wash the blood from our eyes?

How do we stop it?

Groups do not bleed. Generalities do not bleed. People do.

In the eyes of perpetrators, attacks are made not against individuals but against amorphous groups. “Children,” “Blacks,” “Jews” and “Catholics” died; not Maranda, Heyward, Rose and others—each of whom has a name.

Groups do not bleed. Generalities do not bleed. People do.

Every time someone uses the word “cult” to vilify a new religion, you see the tendrils of hate scratching to find a foothold. Every time someone uses a racial slur to denigrate another human being, you see the corrosive effect of ignorance on the human soul.

Every time violence takes the place of reason, civility loses. Every time innocent blood is spilled “for the cause,” humanity loses. And every time anything stands between one human being and another, we all lose.

It is man’s oldest fight—the fight for dignity, respect and life. It is a fight for freedom.

Uvalde memorial
The memorial at Robb Elementary School dedicated to the victims of the Uvalde shooting (Photo by Jinitzail Hernandez/

Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard said it well. “Constant and continual alertness is the price of freedom. Constant willingness to fight back is the price of freedom. There is no other price, actually.”

We are too late for the victims in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Uvalde, Nigeria and elsewhere. But somewhere, undoubtedly, there is a child dreaming of a better world and determined to do something about it. Maybe that child is a Jew. Maybe she is a Muslim. Maybe she is a Scientologist.

And maybe, if we are unrelenting now, that child can grow up to realize her dream.

That would be a fitting tribute for all those who have been sacrificed on the altar of hate.

Leland Thoburn
Leland has been a Scientologist for 45 years. His writings have been published in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Foliate Oak Review, Writers’ Journal, Feathertale Review, Calliope, Vocabula Review and others. Formerly an executive at EarthLink Inc., he works as a business consultant.