Violence is never “senseless”

Another act of violence is in the news this morning, and a lot of people are calling out the “senseless” nature of it. And I know that the sentiment behind it is to convey a sense of tragedy, but words matter. And when we say it’s senseless, we’re saying that it makes no sense, which it does.

Violence is never senseless. Hatred is never senseless.

When you have Christians who believe that the LGBTQIA+ community are perverted disgusting sinners who want to corrupt young people, it makes sense that they’d hate us.

When you have religious radicals embracing violence to ensure the maintenance of hegemony over anyone who isn’t straight, white, and conservative, it makes sense that they’d lash out at us violently.

When you have people who twist the words of a gospel that calls for love and acceptance into some sort of moral requirement to reject and remove and “cure” anything that doesn’t fall in line, it makes sense that they’d refuse to embrace us.

When you have men growing up told that empathy is weakness and real men are tough and emotionless, it makes sense that they’d lack empathy.

When you have young men being radicalized by ideologies that tell them that women owe them something, it makes sense that they’d see us as objects.

When you grow up in a country that fetishizes whiteness, it makes sense that they’d try to suppress anyone who isn’t – both intentionally and via unconscious bias and the sharp blades of a thousand microaggressions.

When you grow up in a country that has a strongly rooted sense of individualism, it makes sense that its people feel offended by the idea of acting for the greater good.

When you live in a culture that overvalues “winning” and “success” and “being on top”, it makes sense that people will sacrifice integrity and ethics and even act contrary to their best interests just to feel like they’re on the “winning” team.

When you distill things down to a good/bad, us/them sort of binary, it makes sense that people will feel like they’re being attacked by anyone who disagrees with them.

When your education system erodes to the point where people believe that freedom of speech means “I can say whatever I want without consequence,” it makes sense that people and parties who spout hatred become revered.

All of this makes sense. All of it happens for a reason. There’s no mystery as to why these things keep happening. So let’s stop saying it’s senseless, and let’s start calling out the things that result in shootings and attacks and oppressive laws and hateful politicians.

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