Whittle: What triggers mass murders of strangers?
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 1:51 pm
By DAN WHITTLE
What's the motivation for mass murders in a nation that bills itself as "Land of the Free?"
Crime records reflect individual murders happen for myriads of reasons ... ranging from robberies, to spousal betrayal, to livestock ownership questions, plus we can throw in a heaping portion of religion.
An unusual argument triggered an old Wild West-style shootout/knife fight on my small Missouri farm town's mile-long Main Street back in 1953.
It was in the interest of commerce when our merchants agreed to keep stores open on the Fourth of July. They got more fireworks than anticipated.
The combatants, a black man and a white man, were not arguing over race. Their argument about which area farmer had the first COTTON BLOOM that spring triggered the potential deadly encounter.
Thankfully, both survived multiple wounds and lived to argue another day.
History shows just about every excuse imaginable has triggered murders. Biggest mass murder in modern history involved more than 6 million non-combatant Jew victims in Europe ... SIX MILLION innocent children, women and men were slain because of racial hatred by German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime.
Racial hatred and religion have both contributed to senseless murders down through world history ... throughout American history.
You doubt? Check the records about people being lynched in America. One major present-day denomination was founded in support of slavery.
In Sikeston, Mo., a small Missouri city located 12 miles from my boyhood farm home, a black man named Cleo Wright was taken out of the city's jail in 1941, beaten, wired to an automobile's back bumper, set on fire and dragged while smoldering through city street
The victim had been arrested on a charge of assaulting and raping a white woman in Sikeston. No one was ever charged with a crime in Cleo Wright's death by being torched alive.
There's a historical marker in between Centerville and Hohenwald, Tenn., depicting the spot where multiple members of a religion were rounded up and executed this past century.
So what fuels today's version of mass murders?
A new buzz word - radicalized - has bubbled up in today's news media.
Muslims are taking heat all over the world due to Isis. I don't know the answers, but history shows there have been radical religions here too.
For example, the Klu Klux Klan, partly formed because of cited religion, firmly opposed construction of the first Catholic church in Murfreesboro in the 1920s. I was reminded of this when a new mosque was opposed earlier this decade in Murfreesboro.
Do we have a generation that simply doesn't value life? Previous generations could be asked the same question.
With all the current mass shootings, that knife/gun fight back in 1953 over which farmer had the first cotton bloom doesn't sound any crazier.
I was interviewing talented banjo musician Larry Kernagis when the mass killing was confirmed last week in California by a Moslem couple. Without blinking, the musician responded: "They need some soothing blue grass music."
One American newspaper carried a headline that God is not fixing the problem of mass killings in the world.
That may be, but I'm still praying. And maybe blue grass music could help too. Amen!!