Friday, 17 June 2016

Influence, Indoctrination and Murder

Jo Cox and the man who killed her had 2 things in common.  The same 2 things that we all have in common no matter what the colour of our skin, our gender, religion, lifestyle, sexual preference etc.  We all came into this world with nothing and we will all leave with nothing.  What we choose to with our lives between birth and death is what makes us the person that we are and what makes us all different.

Jo Cox chose to work for people she saw as in desperate need of help and worked to make an equal society.
Her killer chose another path.

I have no idea exactly why he killed her, whether it was for political, personal, religious or other reasons.  I do know that the idea to kill another human is not something he was born with but something he learnt as he went through life.  Things he heard and saw poisoned his mind and led him to have so much hate within that it became acceptable to him to kill a fellow human being.

When I was at University a friend asked me to get him some paracetamol when I was in town.  Later that week, with all the paracetamol he had asked all his friends to get him, he killed himself.  If I had said no, if all his friends had said no, he may well not have killed himself.  He used each of us to help end his life and our help, whilst well meaning resulted in his suicide.  We were all, by default, connected to his death.  Our one small action led to a far greater negative action.

The same is true each time someone says something that berates another human being for simply "not the same as us" - each statement on its own may have no discernible effect but add all these voices together and it is enough to turn to hate.  And hate can lead to a man to take the life of someone who simply stood up for everything he was indoctrinated into believing was wrong.  And why did he believe she was wrong?  Because enough people had told him what she stood for was wrong.

And this is true of any fanatic.
Muslim extremists were not born that way.
Misogynists did not come into the world hating women.
Gay bashers didn't hate the gay community from day one of their lives.
No young child hates another just because they are not from the same country.

For every one of you who has ever railed against immigrants or Muslims or anyone who simply is different, I say that your hands now bear the blood of victims, of whom Jo Cox is the latest in a long line.  You didn't pull the trigger, you didn't plunge the knife but your rhetoric led others to believe it was right to kill.

Each murderer comes into this world with nothing and each will leave with nothing but in between they grow to believe that not all humanity is equal and as such they can kill those whose views differ from theirs.  They would not have come to that conclusion on their own but through what others said and did.  Influence and indoctrination can lead to murder.

Today Jo Cox leaves behind a family who could not have believed yesterday that she had seen her last tomorrow.  And for that I ask you to stop and think about this one thing - YOUR influence.  Murderers are influenced by what they see and hear and for that reason some people will murder tomorrow and the next day and the next or for as long as they are influenced and indoctrinated by others?  And this influence covers everything - religion, race, sexual preferences, gender.  When will it end?  Please do not be part of that influence.  Hateful words breed hate but words of love, understanding and acceptance breed a society that does not kill those simply for being different.

My friend at University may well still have killed himself, even if we had not all bought him the means to do it.  Jo Cox's killer may still have committed murder but I say this: if had had not been fed the far right wing propaganda and instead he had had a life of support, understanding, tolerance, kindness then maybe Jo Cox would be alive today.

Without knowing it, all of us who bought our friend a packet of paracetamol were in each a bit responsible for his death.  Anyone who has talked about hating Muslims or gays or immigrants or women helps to fuel murder.  Do not be part of that hate. Do not be guilty of helping others believe it is acceptable to kill.

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  1. Thank you for writing this, Rosie. What you say is unpalatable but so, so right. I believe that as a part of our collective unconscious, we've all inherited a deep terror of difference. Unless each of us is willing to bring our own such terror into the light and own it so as to take away its hidden power, our society will always be at risk. We're living in dangerous times.

  2. This was so sad. I just watched a story that the killer had ties to a hate group here in the states. There is so much intolerance and fear and hate. I look at my grandson and wonder what kind of world he will live in..

  3. Thank you! This is what I've been thinking but not been able to coherently put into words...

  4. Thank you Rosie. A very thoughtful and insightful blog. Changing the way that we live so that we only influence people in a positive way is the way to go but it will be a long and slow battle.

  5. This is a powerful piece Rosie and this whole story makes me feel so sad and despairing of the future not only in UK if Brexit goes ahead but the ramifications across the world. Your words are very poignant; the hatred that is being whipped up by monsters like Farage (his digusting recent poster, revealed the same day Jo Cox was killed is just too awful for words and he should be charged with inciting racial hatred) and Trump is so so sad and utterly vile. Like you say, we are not born thinking like that and that people in powerful places are using hatred and fear for their own political ends has now got out of hand. How different this all is to the Britain of summer 2012 when London welcomed the world for the most inclusive Olympics. It's all got so out of hand. I seem to be ranting a bit, sorry....

  6. This is a powerful and thought-provoking post. You are so right - we all need to love and accept more and hate less. #pocolo

  7. Gosh such a powerful piece, it's brought tears to my eyes, I'm so sorry for your friend-truly devastating what happened to Jo Cox in my hometown of Leeds, my heart breaks for her family. There are no words x

  8. I've read this again tonight Rosie and it's still as powerful as when I read it when you tweeted it. It resonates on so many levels, I'm hoping Brexit will not happen and I just can't get my head around Jo Cox's death. So sad and so very wrong. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo

  9. When I read this a few days ago it resonated hugely, but I didn't comment because I genuinely didn't know what to say. I still don't, I'm speechless this morning. But it's a wonderful piece, it says what I'd have liked to if I could form a coherent sentence this week.

  10. Hi Rosie, probably never a truer word written. We need to start being more tolerant and by practicing tolerance, we will hopefully be setting an example to others that it's okay to have our differences, whether they be religion, beliefs, sexuality, race, appearance.

    I am sorry that you feel you helped contribute to the death of your friend, but as you said, he would probably have found away regardless.