The American Culture Of Hate

Sarah PalinIf ever there was a perfect example of cause and effect, it is the shootings in Arizona last weekend.

Jared Loughner strolled casually up to a group in a supermarket car park, holding a semi automatic Glock pistol, and shot 14 people, killing six of them, including at nine year old girl. Without the intervention of some very brave people, many more may have died.

Collective Karma is the result of group causes, like gun laws that uphold the citizens right to bear arms. Ok back in the days of Billie The Kid and Wyatt Earp, there was some sort of case for people carrying a gun. Not because they needed it to protect themselves from other people, but because the Wild West was mainly a wilderness and had snakes, bears and wild cats.

Today the causes are more along the lines of political rhetoric that talks of hating the opposition or targeting them. Sarah Palin’s facile poster of various States marked with telescopic gun sites on them is just another example of the general over-the-top attitude towards anyone considered ‘one of them’.

The amazing thing, from a British point of view, is that Jared Loughner was entitled to own and carry such a weapon. Now I’m not so isolated from our own culture to be unaware of the criminal gun culture over here. But at least it is illegal to own or carry such a weapon. My own father had to surrender his guns, used purely for sport, shooting targets, after the Conservatives’ knee jerk reaction to Hungerford.

I feel very sorry for the people who were shot, but when you mix the cultures of guns and hate, should we really be surprised at the outcome?

And we shouldn’t go feeling too smug, that hate culture is spreading around the whole world, for political, financial and particularly religious reasons.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lesleehare
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 22:01:57

    Hi, I’m glad to have found your blog (searching Buddhism :), and I’m a bit fascinated by this post (having read a few of your others). I’m a practicing Buddhist here in the States, and would be curious to hear your thoughts on this from a Buddhist POV… I’m only slightly acquainted with Nichiren Buddhism, and I’ve always felt bemused to find myself in the midst of this culture, looking around at my own collective karma 🙂 Thanks and best wishes for your back pain to dissolve quickly!


    • Anupadin
      Feb 04, 2011 @ 22:41:40

      Hi, welcome to The Search For Enlightenment and thank you for your comments. As you can see, there are as many questions as answers here, we are all still learning.

      Well as with any culture, this is a case of collective karma, though your personal karma has obviously played its part in getting you to where you are today.

      Nichiren Buddhism believes that the individual, or the culture in which he or she lives, is free to act however they see fit. The proviso being that they must take responsibility for their actions and the effects of those actions. We can all see that in America’s short history, a culture of violence has always prevailed, maybe excluding the Pilgrim Fathers who seemed to be able to get along with the indigenous people initially.

      The Wild West, Prohibition, Vietnam, The Middle East, all approached with an aggressive nature, where conflict was commonplace, if not the norm. All that conflict, all the anger and hate that sprang from the individual’s hunger and desire to prosper in The Land Of The Free, will take a very long time to work it’s way out of the culture.

      There have been times, The Sixties with their Flower Power maybe, where an optimism sprang up within the people, the vision of JFK and Martin Luther King. Sadly we know only too well how that ended.

      But basically, in Buddhist terms, it is karma, cause and effect, and until such time as the causes for a more peaceful society overwhelm the causes for hate, it will continue. Unfortunately with the rise in the World’s population, diminishing resources such as food, water and fuels, I fear it will only get worse before it gets better.

      As Daisaku Ikeda, President of the SGI, wrote ‘A great revolution of character in just a single man will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation, and further, will cause a change in the destiny of mankind.’

      Maybe that single man is you, or me, for if we change, those around us much change, and like the ripples in a pond, the effect will stretch to the farthest points of the Universe.

      Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (roughly translated means ‘I devote my life to the mystic law of Cause and Effect’.


      • lesleehare
        Feb 04, 2011 @ 23:57:00

        Thank you very much!

        Yes, I agree with much of what you share, and that’s been my observation too… I’ve often wondered if, to some extent, there is a collective karma among Americans that has to do with leaving the familiar and entering the unfamiliar (whether as pilgrims, refugees or immigrants), and many of those situations involve pain, loss, anger, etc… It’s almost as if the collective karma of those emotions draws people to such places…

        I’d also love to know the view of some folks from Australia, since there is somewhat of a similar situation there.

        Of course, we’re talking about the karma of those who “moved in”, bringing their “anger” (or whatever) into the indigenous populations, which, to my ignorant understanding, seemed fairly peaceful.

        Then, there’s also the question of the interplay and contrast between rhetoric about anger and the suppressed emotion of anger… Maybe Americans are just more likely to spout off about it! (sigh 🙂 Just the same, the spouting off keeps it in many people’s awarenesses, which then creates that reality for whoever experiences it…

        Just thinking about all this reinforces how preferable it is to focus on where we want to go, not where we’ve been, or where we think we are at the moment. Hope spring eternal.

        Thanks again,

  2. Trackback: Larry Winget Stopped Yelling At Me! « leslee hare
  3. lesleehare
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 15:53:45

    Hi, Anupadin, I wanted to share this post I just made, inspired by this post of yours [:-)]
    I linked to you – please let me know if you prefer otherwise!


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