Anger and outrage
Yesterday morning we were driving around running errands and in between stops we heard snatches of an interview on the car radio. They were discussing some particularly horrible murders in which the victims had been beaten and mutilated, and they were described as “hate crimes”.
Perhaps this was one of the cases they were speaking about Police continue search for suspects in Vanderbijlpark rape, murder:
Gauteng police say they are searching for an unknown number of suspects involved in the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman in Vanderbijlpark.
Her mutilated body was found at a nearby school last month.
While gay rights groups believe the woman was attacked because she was lesbian, police say the motive for the murder is not yet known.
I’m not sure how they can search for an “unknown” number of suspects — either you suspect someone or you don’t. But presumably if they track them down they will arrest the unknown number of people to charge with murder.
The radio interviewer was asking about whether the crime they were discussing was a “hate crime”, and the person being interviewed was talking about such crimes, and saying that there were many of them, and referred to several instances.
Then the interviewer asked whether we South Africans were angry enough, and whether we had enough outrage, clearly expecting the answer to be that we were not angry enough, and that we did not have enough outrage, and that we should have more.
And the incongruity of it struck me. Here they were discussing crimes that were clearly motivated by anger and outrage. “Hate crimes”, by definition, are characterised by hatred, anger and rage. The mutilation of the bodies, and the brutality of the beatings the victims had received clearly pointed to great anger — and here was the interviewer apparently calling for more. Hair of the dog that bit you!
People are tweeting their hatred of other people. and, as Tom Lehrer put it, “There are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that.”
The problem with us in South Africa is not that we don’t have enough anger and outrage, but that we have far too much.