Intolerance and Crimes of Hate

In Orlando, Florida, during the early hours of last Sunday, a man killed at least 50 people and injured a similar amount, the majority of the victims being gays that he encountered in a gay club. Among the dead accounted for is the suspected perpetrator of the massacre, an American of Afghan origin identified as Omar Mateen, who was shot dead by the police. This may be the worst demonstration of homophobia in recent history and has shocked the whole world because it verifies that when human beings stop practicing tolerance, it leads us to commit crimes of hate and terror. Sometimes the intolerance is fed by ideology or by context of violence.

Intolerance is serious. It is a value so necessary for social coexistence, but so lacking in many people. This is dangerous and results in massacres like the one in Orlando, Florida, or useless crimes like the one that occurred last week in the countryside of El Salvador: Santos Rodriguez Minero, a 38-year old vigilante, shot and killed Juan Carlos Leon, a mechanic and father who was headed to work.

Rodriguez, who the Fourth Court of Peace of San Salvador has decreed formal instruction and provisional detainment, was driving a minibus on Route 46-C with [Leon] who apparently began arguing over a seat on Constitution Boulevard. When Leon was getting off, he received several gunshots to his back and died in the act. Rodriguez was caught red-handed by police that were casually passing by the area and heard the gunshots.

Is it worth killing over a seat? It is worth killing someone because they’re gay? It is worth killing someone because they think differently? It is worth killing someone for their theological or philosophical beliefs? It is worth killing someone because they have different likes or preferences? Is it worth killing someone over unrequited love? Killing is never justified; except if it is a legitimate case of self-defense and in the context of war, which should not exist. Killing due to intolerance is absurd and reprehensible. The homophobes, xenophobes, and those that have hate in their hearts irrationally act like they don’t measure the consequences and in their fanaticism don’t mind dying or generating collateral damage. In the case of the vigilante Rodriguez, who in a moment of intolerance killed a man, the collateral damage was the children of the victim and his own.

People must become tolerant, promote social harmony and accept one another as they are. We are all important, although not indispensable. Everyone has the right to life and to choose their own lifestyle, so long as it doesn’t [negatively] affect others.

In this world no one lasts forever. We are all necessary and humans need to accept one another. The xenophobes and homophobes are people with great inferiority complexes. No one chooses where they’re born or creed of origin. Similarly, no one chooses to be homosexual. Those living that way were conditioned by their genetic information before they had any other choice.

It’s regrettable what occurred in Orlando and the hate crimes in our country are equally abhorrent. The U.S. and El Salvador have something in common that fuels intolerance: The armed society. In the North American nation, by constitutional amendment, anyone can acquire a gun legally if they have a driver’s license, are over the age of 21, and fill out a form – where you can lie. In El Salvador, anyone is allowed to have guns, no matter if you are psychologically ready for it and sometimes regardless of your criminal history.

Guns plus intolerance almost always generate pain, death, and terror. Society has to promote tolerance as a principal value of cohabitation, and the U.S. should regulate the use and possession of arms, which is the only way we can prevent hate crimes by xenophobic and homophobic characters and by stupid intolerance.

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