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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Hamster Haters

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Darren Blair

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As I type this, there’s an older comic strip making its way around the internet again. The strip focuses on two hamsters. One hamster is demanding that the other declare which side they’re on, a “you’re either with us or against us” scenario. The other hamster responds by asking, to paraphrase, “What if I take the time to carefully examine both sides so that I can come to an informed decision?”. Cue the first one declaring it a traitor and demanding its death.

What’s that? A fascistic hamster is a bit too much for first thing in the morning? What if I mentioned that this began making the rounds the Monday after the tragedy in Virginia? The tragedy that, you’ll recall, happened when two opposing groups of heavily-armed political zealots came face-to-face with each other in demonstrations and protests concerning a hot-topic issue?

I’ll let Newsweek provide the Cliffs Notes version: http://www.newsweek.com/what-antifa-anti-fascism-protesters-and-white-power-groups-explained-650232  .

“But wait”, some may be saying. “That’s not a play-by-play. That’s a discussion of how both groups’ mutual hatred for one another turned into a literal arms race!”.

Bingo.

I’ve lost track of how often I’ve been called a “Nazi” by one so-called “progressive” or another for saying this, but the simple truth of the matter has been there for everyone to see. Once groups like Antifa decided that the only way to get the “change” they wanted was through violence and the whole “Let’s punch Nazis!” chant became a thing, politically opposed groups who weren’t already armed began going for weapons to defend themselves. After all, Antifa’d already engaged in riot after riot, and people *were* getting punched on camera, so at the time it only made sense to prepare for what might happen next. But for every group who wanted to legitimately defend themselves, you had another group for whom Antifa & co. were the excuse they needed to justify their own violent ambitions.

Cue a vicious circle that finally led to what happened. Reports are still coming in as I write this. Some sources suggest the final spark was a counter-protestor setting off some sort of pepper spray or chemical irritant device, but no one can confirm anything. I’ve also seen claims that the driver was actually trying to flee an attempted assault, but that could just as easily be wishful thinking. It’ll probably be for the courts to decide.

About the only concrete thing I’m seeing right now is finger-pointing. Such-and-such politician is to blame for not taking a hard enough stance against such-and-such group. It wouldn’t have happened if the other side had been comprised of adults instead of emotional children. Et cetra. No solutions. No wisdom. Just labels and insults.

So, if no one else is going to step up, I will.

*Both* sides of the matter contributed to this. Every time someone decides to take a swing at someone instead of having a conversation, they’re creating the atmosphere for this type of event. This kind of hatred feeds off of itself. It’s a disease that eats the host and then spreads to others. If you can only think of your opposition *as* your opposition and not as a human being, it doesn’t matter what cause you support; morally, you’ve already lost.

Put down your weapons. Quit using labels. Talk to people instead of talking at them. Try to recognize that the other person is still a human being. Otherwise, this roller coaster isn’t ever going to stop.

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