Explaining murder without talking about hatred is like talking about fish without the notion of water. Rather it is a an individual hatred or hatred tied to a larger cause much of murder is about making a statement, teaching someone a lesson or making sure others suffer as they deserve. And hatred is not a mental illness. If it is then we are all sick.
Hatred begats anger.
Anger fed begats rage.
Rage begats violence.
Violence begats murder.
Murder confirms hatred.
Hatred confirmed starts the cycle again.
We have made hatred easy. Problems are about who to blame and how to get them back. We are divided by what we call each other and that distinction is seen as the most real thing there is. There are people like us and people not like us and the people not like us are why things are so hard and so messed up.
We live constantly provoked. Anger is what we take out of a situation and there is no shortage of offense to pick from. The people we hate seem constantly to confirm we have reason to hate them.
After awhile we no longer get angry. Anger is simply what we are. Rage is not what we get from a situation. It is what we bring to the situation. The rageful person lives at war. It becomes not what we see in life but the means by which we see or make sense of life.
We worship violence. The rhetoric of violence is celebrated in political discourse, social media and popular culture. There are serious arguments made that the problem with church, with movies, in parks, with grocery stores and other public places is that not enough people carry guns. There are people who believe it is silly to go anywhere not prepared to shoot back. For the rageful violence is one of the few things that make sense.
A lot of people get shot. The amount of gun casualties in this culture dwarfs that of most wars. We live in a cowboy culture that judges violence not by its frequency but by rather or not the right people get shot.
We always find good reason for the most horrible things. We may suffer from lack of justice but we have no lack of justification. Hatred justifies almost anything.
The pattern described above does not describe everyone. I hope it is an all the time description of very few people in fact. But it describes enough people enough of the time to leave us with the periodic horrors that seem almost a daily occurrence.
I think we make a large mistake when we try to psychiatrize violent and murderous behavior. It ignores the context we live in and gives social, historical, political and philosophical variables short importance. People kill people because they are people and sometimes being a person is a scary thing. Though not in fashion to believe, I think there is such a thing as evil and hatred unquestioned and hatred clothed as common sense is the door to that evil.
Far too often, far too easily it seems the only door open.