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Vaccine for hatred disease

With massive global electronic communication, few people on this planet are unaware of the horrible terrorism act in New Zealand, which claimed 50 lives with the possibility of that figure rising owing to a number still being listed as in critical condition.

The enraged gunman not only targeted two places of worship to inflict such carnage, but was brazen enough to spread his evil via a camera to the world internet system as he brutally took innocent lives and left much of the world in a state of shock.

Technical officials scrambled to shut down the horror sweeping through cyberspace, but not before many had witnessed people being killed before their very eyes as many pleaded for help. That in itself raised questions around the world about online mind-poisoning that can lead to a very dangerous new chapter in international domestic violence.

In an act of utter bravery, two New Zealand police officers put their lives on the line in taking down the armed culprit after a chase. Although the individual was placed in custody, ending the most brutal crime in that nation's history, the emotional pain is still being felt around the world.

Many world leaders weighed in on what had happened with condemnation of mass killings by extremist groups, and of individuals who feel people outside of their twisted ideology have no right to exist.

Many expressed concerns that leaders need to be very careful with words they use when commenting on various situations. United States president Donald Trump drew considerable criticism after claiming such acts are caused by a small number of people with serious problems. That was seen by many as a reluctance openly to condemn extremist groups, a posture many recalled he took when openly racist groups marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in violent clashes with police and the death of one person.

The real point here is that leaders of any democratic country should be seen and heard to defend decent principles without concern about their political image, even it means losing support of those who cling to outdated concepts that skin colour and religious affiliation are grounds for rejection in open society.

There are many good, peaceful citizens in every country, but every country will have in the shadows people who have hidden motives about who is entitled to freedom as citizens.

A frightening aspect to this came to light when it was revealed that there were people around the world, including some New Zealanders, who were cheering as the gunman committed mass murder to promote vicious extremist ideology that is rejected by most of the world.

Most of us are familiar with vaccines used against a wide range of diseases, including polio, measles, chickenpox and other serious ailments. In many cases, early inoculation helps to guard against health-threatening viruses.

When it comes to the disease of hatred, which comes in many forms, it would seem that an early inoculation of love, compassion and tolerance could be effective in reducing the number people who have no desire for others to live in peace and harmony.

A real challenge for the world today is how to cope with a fast-moving pace of negative cyberspace material, which could poison a young mind before being taught the values of love, compassion and tolerance.

The tragedy in New Zealand sparked condemnation from millions from every corner of the planet and a clamour to reject all forms of hatred. At least that was a sign that people who believe in decency and freedom will never allow hatred to destroy the hope of living together in peace.

Heads bowed: Muslims pray during Friday prayers at Hagley Park in Christchurch to reflect on the massacre that claimed 50 lives (Photograph by Vincent Thian/AP)

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Published March 23, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 23, 2019 at 1:50 am)

Vaccine for hatred disease

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