How Politics Divide Us, Part 4: The Death of Empathy

On April 23rd, Alek Minassian conducted a van attack down Yonge Street in Toronto.  This was the first of these incidents to occur at a place where I’ve walked in person before.  Since it was an “it could have been me” moment, I payed close attention to the aftermath.  Sadly, we all know how the response to this goes (at least in the U.S.).  The immediate response among conservatives was “Muslim terrorist, ban middle easterners” and other such diatribe.  The motive was unrelated to Islam and the man was as Canadian as you can get.  Despite this, the same tired rhetoric continued.  One day before that, Travis Jefferey Reinking shot up a Waffle House in Nashville.  Even before the bodies were cold, you had “ban all guns” and “another white male” comments infesting social media from liberals.  On April 3rd, Nasim Najafi Aghdam entered YouTube headquarters and emptied an entire magazine before shooting herself in the head.  Facebook was again crawling with the “white male” comments until the suspect was shown to be an Iranian female.  As soon as that was known, it was back to “ban Muslims” even though she was Baha’i and the motive was completely unrelated to religion.

Not everyone responds in this manner.  There are countless posts that show genuine sympathy for the victims and their families.  However, the number that contain political garbage is a cause for concern.  You see, the definition of sociopath is “a person with a mental disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience”.  Alek was willing to take innocent lives for the “Incel rebellion”.  Travis was launched a storm of bullets for possibly an equally absurd reason.  Nasim attacked YouTube for sheer vanity among other things.  None of them had much regard for other’s well being nor felt troubled by their actions.  They fit into the category quite nicely.  This could also be said for anyone who kills for any reason other than self defense or combat (though, I made my opinion on war clear in part two of this series).

The same description applies to those who post about politics first and foremost.  When you toss empathy out the window because you’re itching to get your narrative across, you’re at a that extreme level of sociopath.  It doesn’t take much to go from there to acting on those impulses, you’re already on the dark path.  This is a call for everyone to please, PLEASE, carefully analyze your way of thinking and priorities.

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